Written by Michael Keenan

June 24, 2021

Of all the digital marketing tools available to budding business owners (large and small) and marketers, email is one of the most widely used. Not sold on it yet? 

While you may be a little skeptical about whether or not email marketing is for you, this post will guide you through why it can potentially provide the best return on investment you can make for your bottom line. 

First, we’ll dig into why email works so well and how it compares to other forms of marketing, like social media and SMS. Then we’ll get to the good stuff and look at the top advantages of email marketing.

Why email marketing works

McKinsey reports that email is nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. Say what?! There are a few reasons why this amazing stat is entirely plausible. Email offers a whole host of advantages over other channels, including:

  • Superior personalization abilities. A 2018 study found that subject line personalization increased open rates by 20%; only a year later, Backlinko research showed it increased OR by over 30%. That’s a pretty sweet ROI for doing something as simple as personalizing a subject line!

    If you use even basic email marketing automation, you should be able to employ personalization techniques like addressing your email subscribers by name and maybe even wishing them a happy birthday (if they’ve supplied their date of birth!)
  • Larger audiences. In 2020, there were over 4 billion email users across the globe; in 2025, the total email users may hit 4.6 billion. Compare that to the 3.6 billion social media users in total on all the platforms). No contest: Email audience > social media users.
Statistic of number of email users worldwide by Statista
Source: Statista

These combined factors create a powerful marketing opportunity for businesses. However, if you still need convincing, let’s drill down even further into email’s exceptional potential and make comparisons.

Email versus social media

One of the biggest differences between email and social media marketing is the concept of “permission marketing,” when people opt in to receive promotional emails. This increasing awareness is largely due to the promotion of privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA. For this reason, people expect to get (relevant!) marketing messages by email. This expectation helps with acceptance and open rates. 

However, the mindset on social media platforms is different because most people log on to keep up to date with news and current events, as well as for entertainment purposes. They do not browse social media hoping to receive promotional ads. In fact, many people ignore promotional ads entirely because they never “opted in” to receive them. 

Here are a few more email marketing stats that show email in a more favorable light than social media ads:

  • The average click-through rate for email is an estimated 2.13% in 2020, versus 1.3% on all social media platform ads.
  • According to MarketingSherpa, 91% of Americans want to receive promotional emails. Contrast that with the 44% of social media users who think ads are irrelevant to their wants and needs.

Email versus SMS

Comparing email and SMS (text) marketing messages is a little more complicated. There is so much information on the subject we published a separate guide on SMS versus email marketing in the ManyChat blog! Here are a few key takeaway points from that article:

  • SMS delivers a higher click-through rate than email, but you need to limit your copy to accommodate a shorter character limit.
  • There are multiple variables to consider when calculating SMS campaign costs (e.g., region, carriers, service provider, etc.), whereas email cost calculations are usually much simpler.
  • SMS is ideal for short, time-sensitive messages; email is better for longer, more complex messages.

However, keep in mind that you should not discount other marketing channels completely. The trick is knowing which ones to use to achieve specific goals and estimating what return you’ll get for your effort. 

Speaking of “returns,” let’s take a look at the primary benefits of email marketing.

The 7 top benefits of email marketing

Generally speaking, there are more than seven benefits. However, we’re going to focus on the ones that ultimately have the most impact on your bottom line. After all, a good email marketing strategy works hard to make everything else easier.

Boosts your sales

Let’s start with one of the more obvious overall benefits: increased sales. Some companies might use their email list solely to broadcast company or order updates, but email marketing can be so much more powerful. No matter what industry you’re in, each email has the ability to convert potential customers into buyers and convince existing customers to buy again. 

According to data compiled by Barilliance, email influenced 19.8% of all transactions and boasted an average conversion rate (from a click-through) of 14.65% in 2021. There are countless ways you can boost your sales using email, but one of the top revenue-generating (and one of the easiest) emails for eCommerce businesses is the abandoned cart reminder.

For service-based businesses or affiliate marketing blogs, your email list is your money-maker. By using email as a vehicle for content marketing to deliver regular, relevant content to your subscribers, you’ll have additional opportunities to increase sales (rather than just relying on your website’s organic traffic). 

Easily trackable metrics

To improve sales (or other metrics, like brand awareness), you’ll need to know how your campaigns and marketing channels are performing at any given time. Thankfully, it’s usually effortless to track and measure email marketing results.

Most, if not all, email marketing software will provide you with advanced campaign metrics. ManyChat, for example, will show you the sent, delivered, opened, clicked, bounced, spam report, and unsubscribe stats for each email campaign you send out. 

Another instance in which easy metric tracking is helpful is when you’re conducting A/B testing to figure out which emails perform best. 

ManyChat email marketing example

Easy to automate

In 2021, you’d be hard-pressed to find a savvy business using email marketing that doesn’t rely on automation. (Imagine trying to manually send out emails to thousands of people!) Thankfully, email marketing services make automation a piece of cake, whether by employing pre-made sequence templates or manually creating them. 

For example, one of the most common automated emails you’ll encounter is the one you’ll receive after you sign up for email newsletters or opt into promotional messaging: the “welcome” email. These messages are automatically triggered when a user signs up, so businesses don’t need to worry about sending them out manually.

Whether you have just one email sequence or hundreds, there’s no denying that email automation’s potential to help scale your business is significant. It saves you time and stress because you no longer have to worry about sending out follow-up emails and responding to basic queries.

Builds better relationships with your customers

Earlier I mentioned that email can provide greater interaction opportunities with both existing and new customers. However, even if not many conversations take place, sending out emails on a regular basis (but not too often) helps build relationships that lead to more loyal customers. Naturally, you have to make sure your email content is providing value and has a purpose. Otherwise, you risk damaging the trust you’ve built up and losing that loyalty. 

A neat metric you can use to measure customer loyalty is customer lifetime value (CLV), which refers to the total revenue or value a business can expect to receive over the lifetime of a customer relationship.  Email helps boost CLV because it fosters longer, more engaged relationships. 

Delivers cost-effective marketing  

Another high-impact area that deeply affects your bottom line is expenses. Traditional marketing channels like direct mail incur costs like printing, posting, and maybe even physical storage, but email doesn’t require the same immediate expenditures.

Furthermore, most email marketing platforms offer a “scaled” price structure, which means your email costs will only increase as your business grows.

If you’re looking for more hard numerical proof, know that email can deliver a whopping ROI of $42 per $1 spent if done right. However, keep in mind that other factors will influence just how cost-effective email can be. For example, email quality (are you hiring top copywriters?), email design (ditto on designers), the frequency of emails sent, as well as the size of the email list itself. Despite the additional costs, with such an outstanding ROI, it’s most likely a worthwhile channel for any business to utilize.

Maintains control over audience contact

One of the most significant marketing risks any business can take is relying on a single platform to communicate with your audience. Many entrepreneurs who host and promote their businesses solely on social media can attest that it almost feels like your business is being held hostage when platforms like Twitter have one of their frequent outages. That’s why it’s wise to have a backup!

With an email list, however, you can communicate with your audience virtually any time you want. Plus, your email list is always yours—you alone can control your business’s contact with your audience.

In the event of a social media outage or if your own website servers are down, you can always email your audience to let them know you’re aware of problems and that you’re working to fix them. 

Proper segmentation for targeting and retargeting

According to Statista, in 2019, 84% of the marketers surveyed said they used email for segmentation purposes. That particular statistic is so high because of how critical it is to get the right message to the right audience. 

Appropriate segmentation is crucial for both increasing the likelihood of a sale and preventing loss of business. For example, if your customer signed up to be on a waitlist for a specific product, you can “tag” them as interested in that product category for later retargeting efforts. 

On the other hand, if you don’t segment your customers according to their particular needs or journey, you risk coming across as spammy or annoying to the people who are only interested in the specific offering they signed up for. 

The great thing about email marketing is that you can laser-focus your segmentation with ease on most platforms. (Most email providers typically offer tutorials on how to do so.) 

Get started with email marketing campaigns today

When it comes to email marketing, the best time to start was yesterday. But the next best time to start is today! As this post has hopefully convinced you, there are plenty of reasons why investing in building an email list can have a positive impact on your bottom line:

  • It can help boost sales
  • Email metrics are easy to track
  • It’s easy to automate and scale
  • It helps build better relationships with your audience
  • It’s super cost-effective
  • You maintain control over your contact list
  • Email contact segmentation can help focus your marketing efforts

Even if you’re a total beginner with email, there are many resources online (including the ManyChat blog!) to help you learn everything you need to get you on the right track and enjoy an outstanding return on your efforts.

Want to start using email for your business? Try ManyChat to help automate your marketing and communication for free today.

The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.