Updated: Mar 27
Over half of the world's population, 3.9 billion people, use email daily. These users send and receive over 293.6 billion messages every day, and 71% of them favor email as their first online "check" of the day. When interacting with businesses, 49% of consumers said they would like to receive weekly promotional emails from their favorite brand. When consumers were asked where they would want to be contacted by a new product or service: 46.4% responded via email, 38.5% social media, 32.1% direct mail, 11% in-person, 8.5% phone, and 6.4% live chat. For business professionals, 86% prefer email as their leading communication medium. Email continues to be the best and most effective marketing channel to catch a customer's attention.
Businesses rely upon email as their primary marketing channel. 81% of SMB businesses rely on email as their leading customer acquisition channel, and 80% of companies rely on email as their primary customer retention channel. In general, 9 out of 10 marketers use email to distribute their content. Email has been proven to have a high ROI. For every $1 invested in email marketing, companies see an average return of $42.
Email is a very effective channel for marketing and sales outreach. According to a recent study, 75% of executives are willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call or email alone. Salespeople spend 21% of their day writing emails, send on average 36.2 emails per day, and spend 13 hours per week on email. Salespeople find that sending emails for cold Outreach is twice as effective as cold calling and 40% more effective than Facebook and Twitter. 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in revenue generation and return on investment.
Email remains the key driver for customer acquisition and retention for small to mid-sized businesses and B2B businesses.
How Can Email Help You Drive More Sales
The types of emails businesses send can be broken down into two main categories:
Transactional Email: Emails that contain information that completes a transaction or process that a person has started with a business. A typical transaction email is an eCommerce type email sent to a customer once he completes a purchase. The email generally includes a receipt, item, price, and shipment details. Transactional emails are sent to individuals instead of a large list of recipients.
Marketing Emails: Any email that contains a commercial message or content intended for a commercial purpose (i.e., nurturing leads through your sales funnel) is considered a marketing email and must follow local laws. Marketing emails are generally sent to groups of contacts that are prospects or customers.
We will be focusing on marketing emails and how they can help companies drive more revenue. Here are some of the use cases companies have found to be most effective for email marketing.
Cultivate Early Interest - Companies can use email to reach out to prospects who signaled potential interest but have not requested contact. These prospects could be ABM targets, cold Outreach, social media followers, or consumers of content. Email is the leading channel used by companies to cultivate early interest. 46% use email for Outreach, 18% personal relationships, 9% content marketing, 5% paid social, 6% organic social, 8% word of mouth, 5% direct mail.
Engage Interested Prospects - Since 86% of business professionals prefer email as their leading communication medium, email is a perfect channel to engage interested prospects. Companies can immediately send emails once a prospect engages. On average, studies show us that if companies can follow-up within an hour of first engagement, the chances of success increase by 7x. Companies can also save salespeople's time by choosing to send emails to engage with prospects that usually have low-scoring leads and a low conversion rate, such as certain advertisement types, social media campaigns, and partner referrals.
Pre-Event Outreach - 78% percent of event presenters believe email marketing is the most commanding marketing tactic companies can use pre and post-event. Eventbrite recently published that 45% of tickets are sold using emails. On average, pre-event emails will get better engagement: 26% open rate and 4.95% click-through rate. Companies can also use pre-event emails to reach out to drive attendance and schedule meetings ahead of events such as customer conferences, trade shows, webinars, podcast downloads, and demos.
Post-Event Engagement - Research shows that 20-40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads. By creating an email sequence with post-event, companies can nurture event attendees and triple their reply rate. Attendees may not be available the first time a salesperson reaches out but are more likely to reply on the fourth engagement. Using email, companies can effectively and readily follow-up after an event, such as a customer conference, trade show, booth visit, webinar, or demo.
Activate Prospects That Have Shown Interest - Reaching a prospect can be challenging. 80% of prospects say it takes five follow-ups after the first engagement for prospects to show interest. Emails are perfect for helping people follow-up with prospects after showing interest but are hard to engage. 44% of salespeople give up after the first time, so companies that create follow-up email campaigns can have significantly more success.
Accelerate Open Opportunities - Companies can use emails to contact existing opportunities late in the funnel and advance prospects through the sales process by providing them more information, reminding them to decide to complete forms, and offering help. Companies will be 60x more likely to convert than companies waiting more than 24 hours if companies can follow-up with a prospect immediately after they take action.
Reactivate Dormant Prospects - On average, 25% of email addresses in a company's databases are classified as inactive. Research shows that 80% of discarded prospects will eventually make a purchase from you or a competitor, and only a small portion of companies prioritize some form of lead nurturing for these prospects. Sending emails to these contacts that have gone untouched, unresponsive, or marked closed/lost by sales is an excellent way to re-engage and find golden opportunities.
Win Back, Former Customers - Companies can use email to proactively reach out to recently lost customers who left or to long lost customers to win them back. Win back campaigns have shown to have a 6x ROI for companies. Prior customers could still have loyalty to the brand but may have left for different reasons that a win-back campaign will give them a reason to re-engage.
There are more email use cases that marketing and sales deploy to drive sales. The benefit of and return of investment in email marketing is significant.
Moving from Social Media to Email Lists to Get More Leads and Conversions
I remember being in a meeting with an early Facebook investor who said that email would be dead soon because people would be using Facebook for communication. This argument has become more prevalent since then. However, email is still the leading marketing and sales channel. There are some significant advantages to move your social media community to an email list to help you get more leads and conversions. Here are some of those reasons:
More Attention - It is tough to get your target audience's attention on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn without paying for advertisement. Constant algorithm changes make it harder to have your target audience see your posts through organic posting. Having your audience subscribe to your email list will command significantly more attention since people will need to do something with your email, even if it means press delete. On social media, your audience gets bombarded with real-time updates on their feed from all their friends, and your business posts are more likely to go unnoticed.
More Control - Social media sites are particular regarding the format and type of content they will accept. Unless you pay for an advertisement, you cannot add a call to action. Making your content stand out becomes very difficult since everyone has the same design restrictions. Email, on the other hand, gives you full control over your design and content. You can create the best techniques to capture attention, make your case, and drive clicks without paying for advertisement.
Better Results Through Personalization - On social media, you are broadcasting to the world, and you cannot control who will see your post. Your message has to be more generic and basic, versus with email, you can highly personalize your message and speak to individuals at scale. Personalized messages are 26% more effective than general messages, which will make your email perform a lot better than your social post.
Better Segmentation - When paying for advertising, social media will allow you to segment your message, but you have no control when organically posting. Also, you have minimal data regarding who clicked on your post, and you will not be able to segment your audience by user engagement. Additionally, you will not have email addresses from your organic posts. On the other hand, email will allow you to segment your subscribers into various campaigns and target each segment with a different personalized message that will drive better results. Email will give you much more data on user engagement, such as opens, clicks, views, and clicks on CTA, that you can use to segment your prospects and customers further.
A/B and Multivariate Testing - Mail lists are an exception channel for marketers to use for testing. Email allows you to send various messages to different segments and test content variation, segmentation, personalization, content length, call to action, images, etc. On the other hand, social media limits your ability to test various messages without paying for advertisements. Even though you pay for advertising, your options using social media posting is limited due to format restrictions.
Less Legal Restrictions - Although email may have significant legal restrictions from CAN-SPAM Act, CCPA, GDPR, and other local laws, social media has additional legal limits that may get you banned for life. Each social network site imposes its own rules that, if disobeyed, will get banned from the system. Also, since social media platforms are open to a public audience, the law may prevent you from posting certain information that may be appropriate to your target audience. Finally, you will be susceptible to the public's option and based on what the public thinks of your content may affect your client base and how people want to associate with your business.
People Are Familiar And Prefer Commercial Email For Promotional Messages - 77% agree to have emails sent to their email box. They are familiar with this channel for business information and special offers (60% prefer email for promos). On the other hand, social media channels frown on sales for specific networks (20% prefer social for promos), and overwhelming sales messages have kept people distant from other social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
Email Is Still The Most Used Channel - 86% prefer email as their leading communication medium for business professionals. 58% of consumers favor email as their first online "check" of the day versus 14% check social media first. There are 3.8 billion email accounts and 3.4 billion social media accounts. When taking into account non-transactional email accounts, there are 8 billion email accounts. Email leads in usage across all age groups (15-24: 91% email vs 88% social, 25-44: 93.4% email vs 78% social, 45-64: 90.5% email vs 64% social, 65+: 85.5% email vs 37% social).
You Own Your Email List - You own the list and have permission to email your list whenever you want. Your email list is a company asset. On the other hand, social platforms own all their users and give you permission to post and engage, but you cannot access user information, and if you want to target users, you need to pay. Even then, targeting is not personalized. If the social media company wants to have all of your fans unfollow you, they automatically do it on behalf of your fans overnight without your permission. You are entirely at their mercy and do not have any control.
Email Gets More Engagement - Social media followers engage at a much lower level than email subscribers. When it comes to open, click-through, and engagement rates, email receives 22.86% open rates and 3.71% CTR. Social media gets a .58% engagement rate. Conversion rates on email are significantly greater: 6.05% email conversion rate vs. 1.9% social media conversion rate.
Although we have been comparing both channels and recommending to urge your social media followers to sign-up for your opt-in list, we believe that social media is a vital marketing channel that you should leverage as much as possible. Still, you need to understand its weaknesses and how email can complement your social efforts.
Challenges With Email
Even though email is a leading marketing channel, it has its own set of challenges. Every day 14.5 billion emails are marked as spam. This equates to almost half (45%) of all emails do not reach the inbox. Out of those not reaching the inbox, advertising related emails account for 35% of all spam emails, the top category of spam. Getting blocked by spam technology can significantly deter salespeople and marketing with their outreach efforts. When email is the leading sales and marketing channel for many businesses, getting blocked can dramatically impact revenue.
All it takes is for a company to misconfigure their email, get too many low open and deliverability rates, or not warm up their email. The sender's reputation can get damaged, and emails do not get through. I have seen some campaigns get blocked as soon as a campaign begins.
Just think of the scenario where your marketing team has invested a significant amount of time creating content to help customers learn more about the new product you are about to launch. They invested countless hours and resources in making it the best launch. Landing pages are set-up, your email system and copy are all ready to go, you have segmented your list and identified the right accounts for your new product, you purchased ads, and your team presses send emails, and your emails start going into spam. Your executives ask you to do something, but whatever you try, things keep getting worse. You talk to a consultant, and he tells you your domain's reputation is not very good because of some previous campaigns, and getting it back on track will take four to twelve plus weeks. Unfortunately, this is a reality that can happen to anyone. With Google's new spam updates, it has become a lot harder to reach the inbox as most emails are marked as spam.
Getting blocked is not a dead-end, and you can fix your reputation, but you will need to start your ramp up over, and it will take you at least four to twelve weeks to slowly ramp back up. Four plus weeks in spam jail is a significant amount of time when you are trying to reach your sales goals.
Playing The SPAM Trap Game
Knowing how to configure your email system properly and stay out of spam traps is the required game you will need to play if you want to be successful with email. You need to make sure your email account actions look normal to anti-spam robots, and to do this; you need to:
Improve deliverability of your emails
Make sure that your open rates are good
Protect your online reputation
There are serious revenue consequences if you cannot play the game correctly. Google and other anti-spam technologies are improving each day. To be successful with your sales outreach strategy, you need to understand the underworld of email deliverability and learn how to fix it. In the next sections, we will educate you on the types of spam technology you are up against and the techniques you need to take to optimize your email deliverability.
At the end of this book, you will no longer focus on the size of your email subscriber list, but you will rejoice in more opens, better click-through rates, higher engagement, and more conversions. You will see a significant boost in your email marketing ROI and on your bottom line results.
Michael Phillips, 6 Cold Outreach Sales Statistics, February 16, 2018, Michael Phillips Blog
Jayson DeMers, 37 Email Statistics That Matter To Sales Professionals, Email Analytics
Brooke B. Sellas, Social Media Sales Outreach Closing In On Email Marketing, September 20, 2017, B Squared
Priit Kallas, 11 Reasons Why Your Email List Beats Social Media, May 14, 2019, Dream Grow
Maryam Mohsin, 10 Email Marketing Statistics, June 1, 2020, Oberlo
Allen Finn, 35 Face-Melting Email Marketing Stats, Nove