Email marketing statistics are a dime a dozen.

You can look up statistics about anything from open rates to how many people on your list will end up buying your product.

The often-quoted figure out there is that email marketing has a 3,800% ROI, meaning you can earn $38 in revenue for every $1 you spend.

The Average Return for Email Marketing

Source: Salesforce

But statistics don’t mean anything if you’re not implementing new strategies and evaluating the results often.

What works for one company may not work for another.

Statistics aren’t all bad, though. They can give you a good idea of email marketing best practices and things to try in your own campaigns.

The four areas you should pay attention to the most in your email marketing strategy are:

  1. Transactional emails
  2. Automated emails
  3. Email timing
  4. Email engagement (opens, clicks, conversions)

In this article, I’ll break down key statistics in each of these four areas and provide actionable strategies to help you improve your email marketing campaigns.

Let’s jump in.

Want More Email Marketing Inspiration?

Writing good marketing emails is TOUGH. To help, we’ve put together an email marketing swipe file, including 41 email marketing examples (organized by category), plus, a few other goodies not featured below (*cough* killer Facebook Ad examples *cough*).

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Get access to our e-commerce email marketing fundle and improve your email marketing today (include resources not included in the blog post).

1. Transactional Email Marketing Statistics

Transactional emails, like order confirmations or shipping notices, receive 8 times as many opens compared to regular marketing emails.

Transactional Emails Versus Bulk Emails

Source: Experian

How can you capitalize on this?

Don’t think of them as just transactional emails! Think of them as another opportunity to win a sale.

Transactional emails are opened so much because people know what they’re going to see.

They know they placed an order, or they were waiting for the tracking number for their shipment. They’re not expecting to be surprised when they open it.

How to Get Big Results with Transactional Emails

Here are a few ways you can spruce up your transactional emails.

i. Use Personalization

It’s so easy to personalize emails to your customers with most email marketing services.

Instead of cold, robotic phrases like, “Hello, customer,” use warm, friendly language and the person’s real name.

In many tools, this is as simple as entering a shortcode:

Emails with personalized message content received a 5% lift in open rates compared to emails with no personalization, according to a study by Statista.

Interestingly, in the same study, emails with a personalized email subject line performed worse than regular subject lines.

Open Rate Versus Click Rate

Source: Statista

ii. Provide Valuable Content

Go beyond your customer’s expectations and provide some extra information in a transactional email.

They expect to see their order confirmation, but also show them something relevant to their purchase.

If they bought a Crockpot, for example, link to a blog post on the, “5 Best Autumn Crockpot Recipes They Need to Try.”

Setting up email templates for specific products takes time, but the payoff in customer engagement is huge.

MailChimp’s e-commerce integration allows you to customize an email based on which product a customer bought.

Follow Up on Purchases

Source: MailChimp

Providing real value in your transactional emails further connects that customer to your brand.

iii. Educate Customers or Include a Bonus

Use a simple transactional email as an opportunity to provide additional knowledge or a free gift.

This is especially useful for B2B companies who want to link to documentation—like a “Getting Started” guide—or provide some bonus content like a detailed white paper.

B2C retailers can use this same strategy to give customers an idea of how to use their new product, or where to find help if they need it.

You can also offer a discount or incentive for a future purchase in an order confirmation email.

Skillshare does a good job of this in their confirmation email.

Skillshare Receipt

Source: Unbounce

The section at the bottom lets users know they could get $10 off if they refer someone else to Skillshare.

Referral marketing is a great strategy on its own, and even more powerful when added to your automatic transactional emails.

Further reading:

2. Automated Email Marketing Statistics

Forty-nine percent of companies are using some form of email marketing automation.

The most powerful automated email for B2C retailers is the abandoned cart email, which receives a whopping average click-through rate of 40%.

Setting up an abandoned cart email is fairly easy as most e-commerce platforms, like Shopify, offer this feature.

This is a must-have email in your arsenal.

This abandoned cart email example from Chubbies Shorts uses playful copywriting to entice users to finish their purchase.

Chubbies Email

Source: Shopify

Automated emails can be time-consuming to set up the first time, but bring you conversions on autopilot afterward.

Here are two other types of automated emails all e-commerce retailers should be using.

i. Welcome Emails

A welcome email is something you automatically send out to every new email subscriber.

Compared to regular promotional emails, welcome emails generate 320% more revenue per email.

Welcome Emails Versus Bulk Marketing Emails

Source: EasySMTP

Most email marketing providers offer the ability to customize and send an automated welcome email.

To set this up for free in MailChimp, click on the “Campaigns” tab, then click on, “Create Campaign.”

MailChimp Dashboard

Type, “Welcome,” into the search bar.

Then click on the “Welcome new subscribers,” option that comes up.

Welcome New Subscribers

MailChimp will walk you through setting up the campaign. Give it a name you’ll recognize later.

You could create two different welcome emails: one for customers who are interested in women’s fashion and one for customers interested in men’s fashion, for example.

Welcome Email Subscribers(1)

You can choose to create a “Welcome message,” which is only one email, or an, “Onboarding series,” which can include a few emails spaced out over time.

For most retailers, a simple one-email welcome message works well.

You can choose when subscribers receive the email, either immediately after signing up or after a set number of days, by clicking on, “Edit trigger,” at the top.

Click on, “Design Email,” to create your welcome email.

Welcome

Enter in all the fields MailChimp prompts you to, and click, “Next.”

Welcome Message

You can choose from one of MailChimp’s premade templates, or upload your own HTML email template.

Select a Template

The template you choose will depend on your goals. If you want to show off a new or featured product, pick something like the, “Sell Products,” or “Make an Announcement,” templates with lots of image space.

For a simple discount coupon, the “Follow Up,” template works nicely.

It’s very intuitive to design your email with the drag and drop editor.

Here_s Your 10_ Off Code

Once you’re done creating your email, clicking, “Save and Continue,” will take you back to your welcome series overview.

If you only want to send one email, you’re done!

Optionally, you can add another email to the series by clicking, “Add Email,” at the bottom.

Welcome Email Subscribers

You can use a sleeknote on your website to offer a coupon code to visitors who sign up for your promotional emails. A common coupon is 10% off your first order.

According to Shopify, stores with an active discount code are eight times more likely to make a sale than those without any discounts.

2. Increase Sales with an Automated Sales Funnel

Sales funnels aren’t only for B2B companies.

B2C e-commerce retailers use sales funnels all the time to nurture new subscribers and convert them into customers, too.

A B2C sales or marketing funnel works almost identically to a B2B one. In a typical B2B funnel, cold leads enter at the top and, ideally, leave the bottom as a paying customer.

A B2C funnel contains the same steps, though your leads perform different actions.

The Marketing Funnel B2C Versus B2B

Source: TrackMaven

The first step in the funnel can be a piece of content, like downloading a lead magnet, or “freebie,” from a blog post.

Did you know the article you’re reading right now is the first part of our sales funnel for you? Pretty sneaky, huh?

Funnels aren’t actually sneaky. It’s all about giving your prospect the information they need to make a decision. They may become your customer, or they may not.

Groupon has a great B2C marketing funnel entrance.

They offer a $10 off coupon in exchange for your email address.

Groupon Email

Source: Autogrow

A successful B2C email funnel could look something like:

  • Email #1: Welcome offer/discount, like Groupon’s lead magnet above. This would be delivered via a welcome email.
  • Email #2: An informative email talking about how to use your products, or what makes them unique.
  • Email #3: Feature a new product or positive review.

Framebridge has a great email that links to a post answering the top question many of their leads have: “How do I create a gallery wall?” This is a perfect example of Email #2.

Framebridge Email

Source: HubSpot

At this stage, your customer might be comparing you to someone else. They’re deciding if you’re the right fit for them.

Featuring a positive customer review can make all the difference, and prod them to check out your site again.

Here’s a fun example from Grammarly:

Grammarly Email

Source: Marketo

Those three emails make up a basic B2C sales funnel. You can add in other marketing emails as needed to turn browsers into buyers.

3. Email Marketing Statistics on Timing and Frequency

Customers want to hear from brands. A study by Marketing Sherpa found that 86% of shoppers want to receive promotional emails on a monthly basis.

Surprisingly, 15% wanted to receive daily emails.

In total, 91% of respondents wanted to hear from companies they do business with.

The Best Times to Send Email Campaigns

According to over 10 different studies on email timing, Tuesdays are the best day to send promotional emails.

The Best Day to Send Your Email Is

Source: CoSchedule

HubSpot found that 11 a.m. EST was the ideal time to send emails.

Highest Email Opens

Source: HubSpot

CoSchedule’s analysis of several studies noted strong results at other times, including 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and between 8:00 p.m. and midnight.

Timing an email isn’t an exact science. A lot of this data could be coincidental and it really depends on what time zone the majority of your customers are in.

The best way to find the perfect time to send your emails is to observe your audience and when they interact with your emails the most.

Experiment with sending early morning, afternoon, and evening emails to find a pattern of what works the most.

When to Be Consistent with Your Email Timing

Experimenting with different times to send emails is great for promotional messages or emails that don’t follow a set schedule.

But, if you send out a weekly or monthly newsletter, you want to keep it consistent.

People get used to patterns and they’ll learn to expect your weekly newsletter every Thursday at 10:00 a.m. if that’s when you usually send it.

There are a few types of regularly scheduled newsletters you can send:

i. The Product Feature Email

Brands that constantly add new products need space to show them off.

Kate Spade embraces a long, magazine-style email to feature new products and styled photos to show customers how to wear them.

Kate-Spade-Email

ii. The Round-Up Email

Etsy sends out emails to users linking to products it thinks the user would like, based on previous purchases.

Etsy Finds

Source: CNET

This round-up does a good job of featuring user shops and driving more sales with personalized recommendations.

iii. The Sale/Special Event Email

Promoting special sales or events should definitely be part of your regular email schedule.

Wayfair does a great job of this with an eye-catching, bold “80% Off” message visible when you first open the email.

Wayfair Email

Source: Wayfair

Get creative with your newsletter format.

Change it up depending on the type of content in it. This will keep your customers excited about receiving the next one.

4. Email Marketing Engagement Statistics

The average open rate for emails across all industries is about 20%.

Fifty-five percent of those emails are opened on a mobile device, and only 16% are opened on a desktop computer.

However, conversion rates are still higher on desktop for e-commerce retailers. Mobile e-commerce conversion rates have been increasing since phones became better at browsing online, but they still lag behind desktop.

Desktop conversion rates average around 4% while smartphone rates are around 1.3%.

There are three main ways to improve your engagement and conversion rates in emails:

  1. Send mobile-optimized emails.
  2. Send targeted, segmented emails.
  3. Experiment with subject lines.

Here is how to implement these strategies in your email marketing campaigns.

1. How to Ensure Your Email Templates Are Mobile-Optimized

Most email marketing services these days provide easy ways to test that your emails are responsive (meaning: they’ll look great on all screen sizes).

A few obvious ways to test this are to:

  1. Send it to yourself
  2. Run it through your email provider’s testing process
  3. Use an external testing tool

MailChimp has an easy-to-use testing feature for every campaign.

When you’re building an email, click on “Preview and Test” in the top menu.

Preview and Test

You can choose option one to enter preview mode, which shows you what your email looks like on mobile, desktop, or tablet right from your browser.

Help People Use Your Product or Service

This is good, but may not be accurate for every screen size.

If you’re using MailChimp, it’s best to choose option two to send a copy to yourself and view it from your mobile device.

If you use an email program that uses HTML templates, you can test how responsive it is with PutsMail.

Click “Create a New Test Email” to get started.

PutsMail

Enter in up to 10 email addresses to send the email to, a subject line, and the HTML for your template.

Many services offer HTML export of an email if you’ve already created it in another app. For example, here’s how to grab the HTML of a campaign created in Campaign Monitor.

Paste your email template code into the HTML box. You can also include a version for Apple Watch or plain text.

Body HTML

Click “Send Email” at the bottom to send a copy to yourself and to run the test.

On the next page, you can sign up for a free trial of PutsMail to see a preview of what your email looks like on popular email apps, like Outlook and Gmail.

See How Your Email Renders in Real Email Clients

2. Use Segmentation to Increase Engagement

Two hundred and five billion emails are sent every day, according to a study by Radicati. That’s expected to reach 246 billion per day by 2019, based on a 5% growth per year.

Worldwide Daily Email Traffic

Source: Radicati

How do you stand out amongst all that noise?

You need to target your emails to the right people.

Segmented emails (another way of saying “targeted”) have a 14.32% higher open rate and a 100% higher click rate than non-targeted emails.

Further, segmented emails also account for 58% of all revenue driven by email marketing. Whoa!

Sending targeted emails ensures you’re reaching people who want to hear that specific message, increasing the likelihood they’ll take the action you want them to.

In most cases, that’s making a purchase.

There are many ways to segment your list, but some common segments for e-commerce retailers are:

  • New customers (made their first purchase)
  • Repeat customers
  • Signed up, but haven’t purchased yet
  • Customers who haven’t bought in a long time
  • Product interest (e.g. women’s fashion, men’s fashion, specific sizes or colors, etc.)

Each email marketing service offers different levels of segmentation options, so what you can segment by depends on what you’re using.

For example, MailChimp connects with several leading e-commerce platforms to allow you to build segments based on purchasing behavior.

You can even target your email subscribers with social media or Google ads.

Sell More Stuff

To create a new segment, go to your “Lists” and click on the list you want to make a segment in.

Click on, “Create a Segment.”

Manage Contacts

You can create a segment with just one condition or a combination of up to five conditions.

Email Marketing Status

Click, “Preview Segment,” at the bottom to make sure your segment is what you expected.

If it is, click, “Save as segment,” on the top bar.

2 Contacts Match Your Conditions

Give it a name you’ll easily recognize and make sure “Auto-update,” is checked.

Auto-update means that every time you send a new email, MailChimp will scan your list and ensure everyone who should be in this segment is there.

Subscribers Before November 7

Further reading:

3. Experiment with Different Subject Lines

Subject lines can literally make or break an email campaign. No pressure!

In fact, 47% of people open an email based solely on the subject line.

It’s important to test different subject lines to determine what resonates with your audience.

This is commonly referred to as A/B testing, which means you’re comparing two versions of the same thing.

For emails, the email content is the same, but you’re testing if the response varies based on two different subject lines.

This can apply to anything online, from a landing page to an email.

Split Testing

Source: VWO

Many email providers offer the ability to A/B test subject lines. Here’s what MailChimp’s looks like:

Test on a Percentage of Recipients to Send a Winner

Source: MailChimp

If your email marketing service doesn’t offer A/B testing, you can do it yourself by segmenting your list in half. Send each half a different version of your subject line and see which one has the better response.

There are a lot of tips out there on what words perform the best in subject lines. It can really depend on your industry.

For e-commerce retailers, words like, “sale,” “free sample,” “reward,” or something similar has high open rates, for obvious reasons.

People love getting a deal or something for free.

Phrasee, a company that uses AI to analyze subject lines, recently conducted a survey of 211 commonly-used words in email subject lines.

They scored each word out of 100, with 1 being the least effective in driving a response, and 100 being the most effective.

For calls to action, “introducing,” had the highest score with 67/100.

Sale-related words were a bit trickier. “On orders over,” had the highest score at 83/100 while, “off when you,” had the lowest.

So next time you send out a sale promotion, use something like, “Save 20% on orders over $100!” instead of, “20% off when you spend $100.”

Interestingly, the same study also found that anything with, “midnight,” in the subject didn’t perform well at all.

“Back in stock,” was a winner with a score of 79. This is another great type of automated email you can get leads or customers to sign up for that boosts your sales.

The Boot

Source: Shopify

How many words you use in your subject line also affects open rates.

As you can see, open rates drop off dramatically after 10 words, so keep those subject lines short and to the point.

Ultimately, you need to find out what works best for your brand and audience.

If you’re a light-hearted brand, you can take a bit of creative liberty and use funny or clever subject lines, like this example from Zenni Optical:

Zenni Optical Email

If your brand is more conservative, you wouldn’t choose something like, “Dare to go bare.”

Whatever style of copy you choose, try to A/B test at least half of your outgoing campaigns. It might mean the difference between thousands more people reading your email—or not opening it at all.

Want More Email Marketing Inspiration?

Writing good marketing emails is TOUGH. To help, we’ve put together an email marketing swipe file, including 41 email marketing examples (organized by category), plus, a few other goodies not featured below (*cough* killer Facebook Ad examples *cough*).

Free Downloadable Bonus
Get access to our e-commerce email marketing fundle and improve your email marketing today (include resources not included in the blog post).

Final Words

Email marketing isn’t a trend and it’s not going away.

It’s also not a “set it and forget it” marketing channel. Evaluate your email marketing strategy regularly to ensure it’s attracting the right customers and earning you sales.

Finding success with email marketing begins with building your list in the first place.

Don’t get so caught up in email marketing statistics that you forget to grow your email list.

Spend time getting to know your audience and what they want to see instead.

That research will pay off when you can use it to send targeted and personalized content to your list that results in more sales and, ultimately, more happy customers.

How do you improve your email marketing campaigns? Leave a comment below.

Emil Kristensen
Emil is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote. When he’s not busy with writing awesome content and building the Sleeknote brand, he spends his time reading and watching vlogs on YouTube (big fan Gary V). Fun fact: between the co-founders he is the fencing champ.

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