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"See that massive spike in web traffic last Tuesday? That's when we sent the monthly newsletter."

If you're leading an email marketing team, you've undoubtedly heard a statement like this before. That's because email is still consistently one of the best drivers for website traffic, which can lead to an uptick in conversions. 

In fact on average, email drives an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent, outperforming any other channel. 

Yes, you heard that right. Email. Not TikTok. Not podcasts. Not Google ads, but email. While trends may come and go, the savviest marketers understand that email is the bedrock foundation for building a list of leads, engaging them, nurturing them, converting them, and reconverting them. 

What do I mean when I say "email marketing," exactly? Email marketing involves sending a commercial message via email containing news, product updates, resources, or a sales offer to help customers make purchase decisions. It can be a one-to-one email or a campaign that you send to a list of subscribers, potential customers, or existing customers. 

In my decade of experience in B2B digital marketing, I've seen the power of email marketing in action, utilized as a part of inbound and outbound marketing strategies, and how essential they are for all companies and industries to capture leads and progress them down the marketing funnel. 

But you don't have to take my word for it; there's much data to explain why you should invest in email marketing. Let's take a look at 60 email marketing statistics for 2023. 

Email Usage Rates

First, let's take a look at just how prevalent email is. Regarding the number of email users worldwide, there are 4.4 billion people. The last time I checked, that's about half of humanity!

Compared to other platforms, email is still in the lead regarding the number of users. The most prominent social media platform globally, Facebook, only boasts about 3 billion users as of Q1 2023. 

So, email has the most users, but are they active? 

Well, in 2023, an average of 347.3 billion emails are written and sent daily—with a forecasted 361.6 billion in 2024. Most people open their email inboxes at least once a day, while 19% check emails as soon as they hit the inbox

In a professional setting, the numbers only rise. According to Gated's 2022 Inbox Intelligence Report, those who hold executive-level roles receive an average of 87 emails per workday, while the average for all professionals is 71. As far as the importance of email, 82% of the survey respondents stated that email is their primary means of communication. 

This finding isn't that surprising when you learn that the average professional spends 28% of their workday reading and tending to their inbox. 

The Growth And ROI Of Email Marketing

Knowing just how vital email is as a means of communication, marketers are taking full advantage. 

Fortunately, compared to other marketing activities like social media advertising or direct mail campaigns, sending an email marketing campaign requires minimal financial resources. For prospecting, it's basically free to figure out someone's email, and when it comes to building a list of email subscribers, basic email marketing software is relatively inexpensive. With email marketing, businesses of any size can reach customers without breaking the bank while still achieving impressive results.

I remember at one e-commerce company I worked for when we wanted to hit our numbers for the quarter, we would send a targeted email campaign via Hubspot, announcing a 24-hour sale. This tactic would always do the trick. Do not underestimate the power of email!

Here are some stats about the importance of having a solid email marketing strategy

Comparing Conversion Rates: Email vs. Social Media vs. Paid Search

When it comes to measuring the ROI of email, it also fares better than other channels.

  • Email: Email lets you send targeted messaging directly to potential customers' inboxes, resulting in an average conversion rate of 6.05%, according to OptinMonster's research.
  • Social Media: Although platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help increase brand awareness, OptinMonster also found that their average conversion rates hover around 1.85%.
  • Paid Search: While Google Ads can drive traffic to your website, its average conversion rate is only 2.35%, as reported by WordStream.

One not-so-surprising way to increase the ROI of your email marketing efforts? Follow best practices - which includes complying with regulations like Europe's GDPR. According to Litmus, playing by the book in countries with stricter compliance laws leads to 12% higher returns in email.

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Email Open Rates

With so many emails being sent per day—remember, it was 347 billion—you can't expect every email you send to be a winner. However, email open rates—the percentage of subscribers who open a specific email out of your total number of subscribers—are high and extremely easy to measure. 

In 2022, the average open rate was 19.66%—so you can use that as your benchmark. If you're underperforming, see how you can optimize your email subject lines and email deliverability rates. Perhaps you need to clean up your list. Good email list hygiene can be a good step towards your highest open rates.

Several things can make a real impact on email open rates. The first is the day that you send your email. If you're in B2B marketing, the best day to send an email is Tuesday or Wednesday since people tend to be overwhelmed at work on Monday and mentally checked out by the end of the week. 

By and large, the worst open rates and click-through rates happen on the weekend. But there are no hard and fast rules. Depending on the industry, sending an email on the weekend might actually make sense and result in a higher open rate.

Michal Leszczynski, Head of Content Marketing & Partnerships at GetResponse, an email marketing software company, says, "See which day makes sense for your audience, and focus on sending more valuable content people will want to engage with." 

Other factors that impact average email open rates are the frequency of email sending, email deliverability—a science in and of itself—and subject line attractiveness, including the use of personalized subject lines. 

Some interesting facts about email open rates:

  • Hubspot has found that the most compelling email subject lines engage curiosity, include promotional offers, contain emojis, and are personalized to each recipient's interests.
  • Welcome emails achieve an average open rate of 30.45%
  • According to Litmus, the optimal number of emails to send is 9-16 per month per recipient for the best open rates. Sending less or more than this range of emails yielded lower returns. 
  • According to Return Path's 2020 Deliverability Benchmark Report, an average of 8% of all commercial emails in the United States wind up as spam. 

Like email open rates, you might hear about the click-to-open rate (COTR), which measures the percentage of subscribers who clicked something in the email as related to the total number who opened it.

Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Once someone opens your email, the next metric to track for this marketing channel is the click-through rate or the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links in your email. This helps you to understand the overall email engagement.

According to the email service provider, MailerLite, the benchmark for average CTR across all industries is 3.36%. The content length, email design, copy, and the placement of your CTA are all factors that can make a huge difference here. 

Want to stand out in someone's inbox, truly? Consider adding an interactive element. According to Megan Moller, Director of Content Marketing at Litmus, "91% of consumers want interactive content, but only 17% of marketers provide it." 

Therefore, if you want to send emails that people engage with, try adding a poll, GIF, video, podcast embed, or any other moving element that people can click on. It will grab their attention since so few other emails manage to do so while helping boost engagement and website traffic. According to a Martech Advisor Report, adding videos to your email can increase click rates by 300%. 

In this example, Amazon does a killer job of interactive email content by adding a poll, making it frictionless for customers to provide feedback on their recent purchase without having to leave their inbox: 

To improve your CTR, A/B test different elements of your email until you determine the best length, button size, color, call-to-action text, etc. 

For example, Campaign Monitor increased CTR by 127% in one email template design test! Sadly 39% of brands don't A/B test their broadcast or segmented emails. Take advantage of the opportunity there. 

Conversion Rates

Improving your open and click-through rates is a precursor to having a reasonable email conversion rate, or the percentage of people who take a desired action due to your email. 

Here are some valuable stats to know about email conversion rates:

  • Email conversion rate is the top KPI for best-in-class marketing teams, with 41% of the marketers prioritizing it over other metrics. — Mailjet
  • Klayviyo found that abandoned cart email flows had a 3.54% conversion rate, and welcome emails had a 1.95% conversion rate. 
  • Personalized CTAs have been shown to boost conversions by over 200%.

Similar to improving your click-through rate, to improve email conversion rates, conduct A/B testing, include an optimized landing page for each CTA, create a sense of urgency that answers the question, "Why take action now?" and don't forget to optimize for mobile.  

Other Key Metrics to Track in Email Campaigns

  • Bounce rate: The percentage of emails that were undeliverable or rejected by the recipient's server.
  • List growth rate: The net increase in your subscriber list over a given period, accounting for new subscribers and unsubscribes.
  • Unsubscribe rate: This number tells you how many users opt out of your email marketing campaigns.

Email Personalization

Did you know that 82% of people miss essential emails because there is too much in their inbox? One way to cut through the noise is with personalized emails. This technique is so effective that, when asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to marketing in the future, 33% of marketers answered: "personalization."

Not only is it best practice for marketers, but customers now expect you to personalize your emails. Adobe found that 10% of people are annoyed by too little or no personalization.

Marketers cite the following reasons for using personalization in email marketing; improving open rates (82%), increasing CTR (75%), and enhancing customer satisfaction (58%). 

A straightforward way to add a touch of personalization is to include the person's name or company in the subject line and the body of the email. Another way you can personalize emails to your subscribers is to use list segmentation and even involve contact form fields to personalize the content of the email. For example, you can design an email newsletter template to populate with different content depending on the recipient's industry. 

Personalization is the name of the game when it comes to sending prospecting emails. Busy executives get hit every day with impersonal, spammy emails. Suppose you can personalize your outreach email, making it clear that you are speaking directly to that individual about their unique business or situation and how your offering is relevant and useful. In that case, you will see better conversion rates. 

Email Automation, List Building, and Segmentation

Personalization is easier said than done unless you have email automation. An email automation platform allows marketers to send transactional emails, welcome sequences, promotional emails, abandoned cart emails, email newsletters, and more. 

Besides saving marketers time, email automation also makes personalization a breeze, which, as we covered, helps to boost the ROI of email.

According to Omnisend, when you use the data in your CRM to automate emails based on customer behavior, they get 300% more clicks than promotional messages. Another study finds that marketing automation software users can benefit from a 451% increase in qualified leads, and 47% of marketers are sure that automation is worth the price

To segment lists and take advantage of automation to the fullest, obtaining as much info about your email subscribers as possible is essential. 

"No matter how segmented our lists are, we can always go one step further and make our emails even more personalized," shared Olga Mykhoparkina, Founder at Quoleady and former CMO of Chanty and Better Proposals. 

She added, "The way to make this happen is by adding more steps before the actual sign-up. As subscribers opt into an email list, they should tick a few boxes to mark what type of content they would like to receive. Perhaps this will create additional friction and decrease sign-ups, but the subscribers we will get will be more engaged." 

How to Tailor Email Offers Based on Audience Behavior

  • Email list segmentation: Divide your email lists into smaller groups based on demographics, purchase history, or other relevant factors to better tailor your marketing activities. Sending segmented email campaigns boosts your return on investment since these emails tend to perform better.
  • Drip campaigns: Automate a series of emails triggered by specific actions taken by users (e.g., abandoned cart reminders) to increase sales opportunities with potential customers.
  • Rewards programs: Use email newsletters as a platform for promoting exclusive deals and incentives designed specifically for loyal subscribers, further encouraging repeat business and brand loyalty.

Mobile Email Statistics

As with all things in digital marketing, you must pay attention to mobile when it comes to your email marketing strategy. The Pew Research Center reports that 77% of Americans own and use smartphones. 

Here are some statistics to demonstrate why mobile is a crucial element of an email marketing program:

Avoiding Email Overkill

Okay, up until now, we've only covered all of the positive aspects of email marketing, but there is a dark side. If you've ever gotten those daily emails from a brand you only make a purchase from once a year, you know what I am talking about! (I'm looking at you - every furniture brand with a digital marketing department.) 

Make sure not to abuse email by sending too many to your list. Many email users are already feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages they get per day, so be mindful and only send them messages that are truly valuable. In doing so, they will be less likely to unsubscribe.

According to a 2022 survey by Gated, a platform that helps people take control of their email inbox, 71% of survey respondents said that dealing with their inbox takes time away from more important tasks. They also found that 67% somewhat or strongly agree with the statement, 'I am overwhelmed by my inbox,' and 30% have even declared "email bankruptcy," deleting or abandoning their email inbox altogether.

It's not all bad news, though. In the report, they shared that 75% of email users believe that valuable messages can come from unknown senders as well as from people they know and trust. 

According to Gated founder Andy Mowat, "What matters most is relevance. When the inbox holds messages that are of core value to the inbox owner, it becomes a useful tool once again."

Email Marketing Stats Don't Lie. Don't Overlook This Key Channel

Email marketing is a game-changer for businesses, with the highest conversion rates among digital platforms. The high email marketing ROI means it is cost-effective, whether you work for a non-profit, small business, or global enterprise. It also enables you to open up a direct line of communication with email recipients and allows for consistent branding. 

Personalization is key, and A/B testing and data-driven optimization can help improve campaigns, while analytics features track performance metrics. Integrating campaigns across multiple touchpoints can further enhance the impact of email marketing efforts.

Don't underestimate the power of email marketing - it's a valuable tool for generating leads and increasing customer engagement and customer retention.

Last but not least, if you haven't yet, subscribe to The CMO's newsletter. Don't worry; we only send helpful emails that you will enjoy reading! 

By Kalei White

Kalei White is a content marketer and bunny mom in San Diego. She’s helped global B2B ecommerce companies build authoritative brands and generate demand resulting in massive growth. Today, she runs content at Trovata, an AI-powered fintech platform.