You’ve Got Email: It’s Still the Way to Go to Market, Digitally Speaking

Bob Ulrich
Posted on August 17, 2017

Remember email? Sometimes in the communication that is texting, tweeting or ‘Snapchatting,’ email is taken for granted. Facebook is great for sharing your thoughts and feelings to everyone you have friended, but email is more targeted, especially when used for business. You might say it is even more personal than Facebook because it is designed for interaction between two people or among a small group of people.

I was reminded of the importance of emailing at the recent Digital Summit in Atlanta. As you might expect, the two-day event was predominantly attended by millennial marketers hoping to learn how to better engage with their customers.

Their admirable goals were not altruistic, however. They were trying to find more or better ways to use digital technology and social media to make more money. Profitability is not just a baby-boomer trait!

In a broad sense, there were a lot of seminars on social media, content marketing, mobile technology and search engine optimization. The seminar topic “Beyond Pageviews: Using Google Analytics to Align Measurement with Business Goals” is something we take seriously at Modern Tire Dealer.

There were no magic formulas or surefire strategies for translating the digital revolution into a pile of money, although I think Rumpelstiltskin’s “Turning Straw into Gold” seminar was well-attended.

The use of email, however, appeared to me to be the topic most commonly addressed. The reasoning was clear, based on the statistics presented.

  • 104 billion: the number of emails that will be sent to consumers every day this year. Radicati Group Inc.
  • 122%: the median return-on-investment (ROI) for emails in June 2016, according to U.S. marketers. That is higher than social media, direct mail and paid searches. Direct Marketing Association, Demand Metric Research Corp.
  • 760%: the increase in revenue when email lists are segmented. Campaign Monitor Pty. Ltd.
  • 77%: ROI from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns. Campaign Monitor
  • 56%: the percentage of people who unsubscribe from an email list because the information isn’t relevant. Email on Acid Inc.
  • 23%: the email open rate in the first half hour of delivery. SuperOffice AS

 Ryan Phelan, vice president of marketing insights for Adestra Ltd., said the primary email address of the consumer is invaluable.

“It no longer is just a vehicle for sending an offer or coupon or receipt or transactional message or anything. It is a way to identify the consumer,” he said in his “First Person Marketing: Using Data to Drive Higher Email Results” presentation.

23%: the email open rate in the first half hour of delivery.

“The Social Security number doesn’t tell me where you work, where you’re invested, where you’re banking at, what credit cards you have. Your email address will tell (me) where you’re shopping, what you’re buying, where you’re browsing, what kind of computer you have, what kind of coffee you like, and whether you’re a left-handed golfer.”

With that kind of personal information, businesses can send a message that’s more relevant to the end user, “that actually resonates with them,” he said.

I did some research of my own following the summit. The Radicati Group estimates worldwide email users will increase 3% annually over the next three years, from 3.7 billion in 2017 to 4 billion in 2020.

The number of emails sent and received per day will rise to more than 300 million over that span.

Worldwide, email market revenue will top $40 billion in 2020, and rise to nearly $47 billion in 2021.

In the U.S., consumer and business email use is also increasing, according to Radicati’s most recent U.S. email statistics report. Consumer email accounts outweigh business accounts by a more than three-to-one ratio.

“Though there is increased use of IM (instant messaging), chat, social networking and other forms of communication, email continues to show steady growth, as all forms of online communication require users to have an email address to access their services, and all e-commerce transactions, i.e., shopping, banking, etc., require a valid email address.”

Domestic consumers average 1.8 accounts per user, which explains why your goal as a marketer is to track down the “primary” email address.

“Email still continues to kick everybody’s keister in terms of ROI,” said Phelan in his speech.

As both a communication and marketing tool, a one-on-one email remains your best bet. What can be more personal? Not counting actually calling someone, of course.    ■

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at

To read more of Bob Ulrich's editorials, click:

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Related Topics: Bob Ulrich, Bob Ulrich editorial, Editorial, email, email marketing

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