E-Mail Marketing Strategy: The Underdog of Digital Marketing

email marketing ecommerce

The underestimated platform of digital marketing, E-mail can be the most profitable tool for E-commerce. Even in 2016, E-mail marketing still proves to be one of the best ways to communicate with customers via newsletters, post-purchase follow up E-mails, calls to action for inactive customers, and offers on new promotions. The amount of people who use E-mail is astounding: 2.6 billion people currently use E-mail (for reference, there are currently 3 billion people in the world with access to the Internet), and it’s expected to climb to 2.9 billion by 2019. The numbers don’t lie- despite what many would consider relatively poor results (low rates of open, click-through, and even lower conversion), E-mail has one of the best ROI of all digital marketing strategies, and here’s why it should be a part of your strategy

Email has one of the best ROI of all digital marketing tactics, and here’s why it should be a part of your strategy.

E-mail has an important impact on consumer behaviour, with 81% of US consumers more likely to make a purchase based on E-mail marketing targeted at previous buying behaviours. This means sending a promotional E-mail to a customer based on an article that they’ve wish listed or a previously bought article. Using the information you already have on your customers is the key to being able to suggest articles that they would also like and improving conversion rates.

E-mail marketing statistics

Consumers generally prefer to receive communication via E-mail with special offers and promotions at least once per week, and 28% of consumers said that they would like more. However, there is certainly a fine line for the frequency at which E-mail marketing is used.

How does E-mail marketing work for E-Commerce?

E-Commerce has the most success with E-mail marketing (after the public sector and online services) with a global E-mail open rate of 15%. Marketers see the value of E-mail marketing, with 88% counting a positive return on this typically low investment digital marketing tactic. E-mail marketing isn’t just for customer retention and loyalty. In fact, E-mail marketing for E-commerce tends to be 40 times better at acquiring new customers than both Facebook and Twitter. This is even more relevant for B2B marketing, with 31% of marketers reporting that E-mail marketing has the highest impact on their sales and lead generation.

E-mail marketing for E-commerce tends to be 40 times better at acquiring new customers than both Facebook and Twitter.

With the benefits of E-mail marketing, it’s no surprise that 80% of content marketers use E-mail marketing. It’s also important to note that 53% of all E-mails are opened on mobile, and it’s shocking to know that only 17% of marketers admit they have no mobile E-mail strategy in place. While 34% of marketers know the basics of mobile E-mail optimization, only 21% have a thought-out strategy in place. E-mail marketing needs to be optimized for the platform more than half of the users are going to be using.

Sending E-mails too frequently is the easiest way to have a customer unsubscribe to newsletters (which only 23% of customers open) and company communication. Others also said to unsubscribe based on repetitive or boring content– which pushes companies to provide fresh content for each E-mail. Using video content in E-mail marketing can be especially effective: just using “Video” in the subject title can jump the open rate to 19%, while using a video in the E-mail boosts click-through rate to 65%. Users find video content refreshing, as it diminishes unsubscribes by 19%. E-mails should be visual, with relevant images to appeal to your customer (but not so many that your message is lost).

E-mail marketing statistics

While it might seem like a good idea to ask for only an E-mail address at sign-up, you lose to the opportunity to personalize your E-mail marketing. A personalized subject offers a 49% increase in transaction rates for an E-commerce and overall revenue per E-mail by 73%. However, only 35% of brands personalize their subject lines. While it’s an effective tactic, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing: using personalized subject lines for every E-mail can become repetitive. It’s best to save them for important E-mails, like a welcoming, and call-back E-mails.

Personalized subjects jumps revenue per E-mail by 73%, but only 35% of brands personalize their subjects.

E-mail marketing can be a useful tool in recovering inactive customers and customers who have abandoned their carts. While newsletters tend to have a generally low open rate (and an even lower click and conversion rate), inactive customers open commercial E-mails at a rate of 38.9%. They also have a higher tendency to click through at nearly 20%, and their conversion rate is nearly double that of newsletters. This would be an effective time to use a personalized subject line to reach out to your customer.

For those who abandoned their cart, the open rate for a recovery E-mail is over 46%. Sending a follow-up E-mail to customers who’ve abandoned a pending purchase helps drive the customer to finish the sale. Try sending customer reviews for the item they left in their cart, or even a discount to some of your more loyal customers. These E-mails have a 5% conversion rate and are by far the most successful of E-mail marketing tactics. Order follow-up E-mails are seen today as a standard of E-commerce customer service. They also tend to do well with customers and are opened at a rate of 46%, with an overall conversion rate of 5%.


E-mail marketing offers an opportunity to connect with your customer on a 1 to 1 basis, which is a great way to foster brand loyalty. By offering fresh, relevant content, targeting your E-mails based on previous purchase behaviour (or abandoned carts), you can help drive conversions and communicate with your customers effectively. E-mail marketing is far from obsolete and should be a significant part of any digital marketing strategy.

How has E-mail marketing worked for you? Have any tips that we didn’t mention? Leave a comment below or tweet us.