June 27, 2021

Introducing Email Marketing Fundamentals

Email is a constant, accepted part of life, yet it's often misunderstood. Most folks clear their inboxes a few times a day or whenever they're bored. And businesses, liberally (and indiscriminately), pepper their audiences with promotional content. To be a keen reader or marketer, one should have a grasp of the fundamentals.

I've been in the email business for the past six years, working in audience development and for a digital marketing agency. I have experience with both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer(B2C) marketing. With this series of blog posts, I aim to impart some general advice to help readers further their email goals. Shall we dive in?

Email at a Glance

Email Works Everywhere

Email is an important weapon in a marketer's arsenal because it's inexpensive and effective (for both B2B and B2C). 

  • According to the Direct Marketing Association, Email's average ROI (Return On Investment) is $38 for every $1 spent (2016). 
  • Almost 70% of consumers Mapp surveyed said they bought products or services from marketing emails at least once a month (2016).
  • The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reported that 81% of B2B marketers run email newsletters. And email marketing trails only social media and blogs for organic content distribution (2019).
  • Email is the number one preferred method for receiving brand promotions (Watson & Van Rijn, 2018).

People Are Addicted to Email

Folks check their emails frequently throughout the day. According to a Mapp survey, 1 in 3 people check email constantly throughout the day (2016). And a survey by Zettasphere and EmailMonday found that 2 out of 3 people check email more than three times a day (2018). 

People prefer email because they can interact with it (or not) on their terms. So, inboxes are crowded, and every message is in competition for the same eyeballs. Email is pervasive but not invasive.

This relationship is a challenge and an opportunity for marketers. The challenge is convincing recipients to open, read, and engage with marketing emails. The opportunity is marketers can send a moderate volume of emails with minimal risk. 

Mapp found 72% of consumers subscribe to 4 or more brands' emails, and 44% subscribe to 7 or more (2016). For the most part, people don't unsubscribe from or mark emails that they've opted in as SPAM. In fact, folks will receive emails from brands they like even if they don't open the emails. Zettasphere and EmailMonday found that 37% of respondents don't unsubscribe from brand emails. They mostly ignore them because sometimes the offers are interesting. And about a quarter keep receiving brand emails because they might shop the brand again (2018).

In Email Marketing Rules, Chad White, the Head of Research at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting, explained email's benefit for customer retention. "Email marketing is THE power channel for retention marketing. Consumers strongly associate email marketing with deals, product information, and service notifications, making it unrivaled at driving sales and boosting loyalty” (White, 2017, p. 4). 

People are patiently waiting for marketers to wow them into engaging.

Next time, we'll discuss the most important (and overlooked) part of email marketing.


adestra. (2019). Top 10 email clients in march 2019. Uplandsoftware. https://uplandsoftware.com/adestra/resources/blog/top-10-email-clients/

Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs. (2019, October). B2B content marketing 2020 benchmarks, budgets, and trends - North America. Content Markteing Institute. https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2020_B2B_Research_Final.pdf

mapp. (2016). Consumer views of email marketing. www.mapp.com. https://news.mapp.com/imgproxy/cont/715104798/Mapp_Consumer_Views_Survey_2016.pdf

Statista Research Department. (2016, January 15). E-mail ad spend in the U.S. 2014–2019 Published by Statista Research Department, Jan 15, 2016 The statistic above contains figures on e-mail advertising expenditure in the United States in 2014, as well as a forecast until 2019. The source projected the spend would amount to 0.35 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. E-mail advertising spending in the United States from 2014 to 2019. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/190338/us-online-email-ad-spending-forecast-2010-to-2015/

Tankovska, H. (2021, February 17). E-mail usage in the united states - statistics & facts. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/255080/number-of-e-mail-users-worldwide/

Van Rijn, J. (2015). National client email report 2015. The DMA. https://cdn.emailmonday.com/wp-content/uploads/National-client-email-2015-DMA.pdf

Watson, T., & Van Rijn, J. (2018). Email addiction research report. https://www.emailmonday.com/download/email-addiction-research/?wpdmdl=10034

White, C. (2017). Email Marketing Rules Checklists, Frameworks, and 150 Best Practices for Business Success (3rd ed.) [E-book]. https://www.amazon.com/Email-Marketing-Rules-Checklists-Frameworks/dp/1546910638/