Is email marketing still effective?

Is email marketing still effective in 2019 going into 2020? When working with a client to craft their marketing strategy, most of the time I recommend email marketing. Sometimes, I receive skepticism and doubt in return. Email marketing may be one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, but it is certainly not dead!

What is so great about email marketing?

High Delivery Rate

Unlike social media posts or online advertisements that may not be seen by the intended party, an email is delivered directly to their inbox and remains unread until they choose to open it. Of all the emails on your contact list, your email on average reaches about 85% of your subscribers (Optin Monster, 2019). Email is still one sure way to get in front of your subscribers.

Higher Engagement Rate

Compared to social media with an average overall engagement rate of 0.58%, email has an average open rate of 22.86% and a click-through rate of 3.71% (Optin Monster, 2019). Businesses are more likely to get a click-through from an email than from a social post. Email marketing drives more clicks and conversions than any other marketing channel. According to Campaign Monitor, you are 6 times more likely to get a click from an email campaign than a tweet (Campaign Monster, 2018).

Customers Prefer Email

Most consumers prefer email and this is not expected to change. According to HubSpot, 73% of millennials say their preferred channel for business communications is email  (HubSpot, 2019). Not only do customers prefer email, but they also check their email more often than other channels. More than 50% check their personal email account more than 10 times a day (Campaign Monitor, 2017). Email is a convenient channel for consumers and it is also personal.

Not only do consumers check their email more often, but consumers are more likely to check their email first. According to Optinmonster, 58% of survey respondents check their email before watching the news, searching Google, checking the company intranet, or browsing social media (Optin Monster, 2019). If you want to contact your customers first thing in the morning, time your emails appropriate and be the first thing in their inbox.

By leveraging email marketing, you engage with your customers through their preferred channel. For every $1 spent on return on investment (ROI), there is an average ROI of $38 (DMA, 2015).

Email is Great for B2B

Email is not only great for business-to-consumer (B2C), but also business-to-business(B2B). As someone who works with many B2B businesses, I find email to be one of the easiest ways to reach important, busy people who try to filter out the noise and avoid social media. According to HubSpot, for B2B companies, 83% use email newsletters as part of their content marketing strategy and 40% of B2B marketers believe email newsletters are one of the most critical components for content marketing success (HubSpot, 2019).

Can be Automated

You can save time and money by setting up various triggered emails once and then automate the process. A triggered email marketing campaign will take time to set up, but in the long run you will see a significant ROI.

Ownership of Data

Unlike social media platforms who own the data, you own your email list. Plus, your email list is yours forever! Email marketing has been around for decades and is not going anywhere, while social media platforms come and go.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing

If you are still in disbelief, this likely means your email marketing is not working and its time for a change. There are simple things that you can do to improve your open rate, click rate, and conversions.


To promote a higher engagement rate, you can segment your audience and tailor the email accordingly. You can segment your audience based on geographic factors, behaviors, demographics, or psychographics. By segmenting your audience, you can make the content more personalized to that specific segment.


Personalize your emails to increase engagement. According to Aberdeen, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10% (Campaign Monster, 2018). A simple way to personalize an email is by addressing the subscriber by their name.

An even better way to personalize an email is to set-up triggered emails that are specific based on the consumers behaviors or actions. For example, if the customer leaves items in the cart, you can send an email reminding them about their purchase and maybe even offer a little incentive to complete to purchase. Alternatively, after a purchase, you could send additional product recommendations.


Be mindful of the format of the newsletter and double-check how it displays on desktop as well as mobile. It is estimated that 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Campaign Monster, 2018). Keep it simple and actionable. You want to make it easy for subscribers to digest your content with visuals and color. You want to make it easy for subscribers to take action. A call to action button, instead of a text link, can increase conversion rates by 28%  (Campaign Monster, 2018).

Relevant Content

Sometimes, the issue is not with the format, but the content. Guard your email list and be very selective with the content you choose to include. Always make sure it is relevant and valuable to your subscriber.

Consumers usually subscribe for 1 of 3 reasons:

  1. To save money and get an immediate benefit – coupons, loyalty programs, sweepstakes, etc.
  2. To learn more about your business – product/service information, sneak peaks, or success stories
  3. To get free resources – FAQs, blogs, eBooks, and other free content

Develop a content plan then use your email analytics to measure your success and determine which content your audience loves versus which content should be cut in the future.

Frequency & Timing

Be mindful of how often you are sending emails and when you are sending emails. You don’t want to send too many emails and annoy your subscribers, so much that they feel overwhelmed and unsubscribed. The ideal frequency will depend on your subscribers and business. Some suggest that every two weeks seems to be the sweet spot for businesses (Campaign Monitor 2019), while other data suggests 1-2 emails per week may be best for merchants  (Optin Monster, 2019). The frequency of triggered emails will depend on the subscriber’s actions.

The best time to send your email newsletter will depend on your business type and industry. Convertful recommends 10:00 am for professional services and 12:00 pm for eCommerce. Data also suggests that Tuesday is best for professional services and Wednesday is best for eCommerce (Convertful, 2019) I’d recommend googling your industry and “what’s the best time to send an email.”


To summarize, email marketing is not dead! Email marketing is great because it has a high delivery rate, a higher engagement rate, aligns with the customer preferences, works for B2C and B2B, can be automated, and is owned by the business. If email marketing is currently not working for your business, there are things you can do to fix this including segmenting your audience, making it personal, improving mobile-friendliness, prioritizing content relevance, and fine-tuning your frequency and timing.