What’s the True ROI of E-mail Marketing?


Even in 2014, the humble e-mail still helps digital marketers produce one of the best ROIs available. The difficulty with it is building a list you can send e-mails to regularly.

Check out these stats from Express Pigeon (compiled from reputable sources like Hubspot, Econsultancy…) to see just how powerful it is:

  • Companies view email marketing as a better ROI than PPC, content marketing, social media, offline direct marketing, affiliate marketing, online display advertising, and mobile marketing.
  • 66% of in-house marketers rate e-mail as having “excellent” or “good” ROI
  • Email marketing has a 4300% ROI
  • …but only 8% of companies have an e-mail marketing team, and these responsibilities usually fall on a single person who has many other responsibilities already

Now some of those numbers are quite eye-popping, which makes you wonder how powerful e-mail marketing could be for your company. And make sure you don’t assume that you will get a 4300% ROI – that could be an example of an extreme case.

The point is, though, that e-mail marketing produces a very nice ROI if you commit to it.

Tips for Successful E-mail Marketing

These can be very successful at the local level, so they do make sense for even very small businesses to implement. Here are some basics to get you started on the path to success with e-mail marketing:

  1. It’s All about the Subject Line

The more people you can get to click through and read your e-mail, the better. That being said, writing subject lines isn’t a simple science. Basically, you want to have something of value to offer your target market without being too salesy. Special offers are okay, but the more value you can provide, the better.

  1. Use Personalization – Without Going Over the Top

The more personal your e-mails, the better. One easy way to make this happen is to include your recipient’s name in the subject line, and then 1-2 times within the e-mail itself. Larger companies may get more elaborate and send different newsletters to various market segments, but you don’t need to do that unless you get 10,000+ subscribers.

  1. To Get Sign-Ups, Offer Value First

This could be something like $50 off your next air conditioner repair when you sign up for our e-mail newsletter. The key is getting a relevant offer, and making that offer related to something your business does. Don’t use an offer like a free $50 gas card when you sign up if you are an HVAC repair company. You’ll get tons of people who could care less about your service and who only want the gas card.

The Bottom Line

With e-mail marketing, you don’t need to be an incredibly skilled writer – just thoughtful, consistent, helpful, and relevant. If you can build a nice-sized list of a few hundred or thousand subscribers, you can get quite a bit of additional long-term revenue.