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Email Marketing Proves To Be Essential — Especially In 2020

October 7, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_408845122 Message Online Chat Social Text Concept

Litmus, an email optimization company, recently released its 2020 State of Email, Fall Edition report, which takes a deep dive into how marketers use and perceive email marketing. There were several significant takeaways, all of which point to how integral email continues to be as a marketing channel.

“The 2020 State of Email, Fall Edition report showcases why email should be front and center in every single marketing mix,” said Melissa Sargeant, CMO of Litmus. “In today’s marketing environment, with brands working to break through the clutter of digital advertisements in an efficient and timely manner, personalization and targeted messaging needs to take priority. Not only does email offer unmatched ROI, but it creates authentic human-to-human connections and experiences with customers.”

8 Data-Based Facts About Email Marketing

Despite the rise of social media and other engagement options, email continues to be popular around the world, with usage expected to reach 4.48 billion in 2024. According to Litmus, businesses are prepared for ongoing growth of this valuable marketing channel. Here are eight quick takes from the 2020 State of Email, Fall Edition report. (Respondents include 2,000 marketing professionals.)

  1. The pandemic had an impact on email marketing, and it wasn’t all bad. While 40% of respondents were required to cut email budgets because of COVID-19, the popularity of online sales, especially heading into the holidays, is likely to lead to more email volume and healthier email budgets. 
  2. Marketers are focusing on more than just products in emails. Three-fourths of respondents, particularly within the insurance and financial services verticals, changed their email strategies because of the pandemic. Businesses took different approaches to email content, focusing less on products and more on “human-centric and emotional content.” 46% of marketers incorporated more corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their email strategies, while 53% focused on thought leadership content.
  3. Personalized emails generate higher ROI. 83% of marketers say that they are personalizing email in some way, and 60% say that “amping up” personalization is a priority. In the ecommerce, retail and consumer goods sector, 70% of respondents prioritize personalized email content. Nearly, three-fourths of marketers say that personalized email increases engagement. 
  4. Interactive elements in email marketing drive engagement but are not a priority for digital marketers. Although personalization is up, interactive elements in emails are down. Interactive content, like gifs and videos, ranked only seventh in priority among respondents, despite generating 400%-500% more pageviews than content without kinetic elements.
  5. Marketers prefer email over social media. According to Litmus, four out of five respondents would give up social media for 12 months before giving up email. And, more than one-third of respondents ranked email as the most effective marketing channel they use. Ideally, and when appropriate, email and social media work hand in hand as part of larger multichannel strategies.
  6. Many marketers are not effectively measuring their email campaigns. Despite continuing with email marketing campaigns, 45% of respondents cited that measurement of their campaigns was “poor, very poor, or non-existent.” And, although many marketers measure open rates, click rates and unsubscribe rates, not enough marketers were able to successfully measure ROI, necessary for effective strategizing of future campaigns. 40% of respondents also said that email marketing is under-resourced at their companies, which can also be a result of poor ROI measurement.
  7. Shutterstock_348553499 Businessman hand pressing the keyboard for sending the e-mail from labtop computer, business technology conceptMore emails will be sent in 2020 than last year. As more people around the world use email, so too are more emails sent by businesses. 53% of total respondents expect to send more email this year than in 2019. Subject lines that stand out will be critical for brands as inboxes swell — however, declining open rates have been predicted for years.
  8. A/B testing is still important in email marketing. When testing subject lines, calls to action and send time, most respondents are using A/B testing. Overall, 90% of digital marketers use A/B testing on their email campaigns, and a quarter use A/B testing often or always. A well-tested email campaign can offer insights beyond just email performance, particularly when trying to understand consumer behaviors.

Email Marketing Is Here To Stay, And Brands Must Optimize To Find What Works Best

It’s been an unusual year, and many digital marketers were forced to pivot messaging and streamline media plans while working to connect with consumers in authentic, timely, effective ways that weren’t exploitive or tone deaf. Despite all the changes within 2020 and all the many proclamations of email being dead throughout the past decade, email has remained an essential channel for effective one-to-one messaging and sales generation.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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