Email’s dead.

You should be focusing all your marketing on Snapchat. No, wait, make that LinkedIn. Oh, what about Facebook? Wait, email’s not dead anymore?

You don’t need me to tell you how fast the world of marketing and sales changes. With so many options available, not many people can afford the time or energy to run full campaigns on every available channel.

With limited resources, where should you focus your efforts?

While social selling is an important part of any marketer’s toolset (check out our infographic of 72 social selling statistics), email is most definitely not dead, and sales automation emails can have a massive effect on your bottom line.

But don’t take our word for it. We’ve put together a list of 183 statistics on email automation for sales and marketing, using a variety of trusted resources, including the most recent, up-to-date statistics on the state of email marketing available.

In their “State of Inbound 2017” report, Hubspot reported that:

  • When asked about their inbound marketing projects, 40% of companies stated that marketing automation was one of their top priorities.
  • 32% thought offline paid advertising was the most overrated marketing tactic, 10% still thought email marketing was overrated.
  • 17% of respondents felt that connecting via email is now more difficult to do in sales compared to 2 to 3 years ago…
  • 38% found getting a response from prospects harder…
  • And 13% struggled with using sales technologies.
  • Over a quarter (26%) of the companies surveyed found email the most successful channel for their sales representatives to connect with a prospect…
  • However, the top result was the good old telephone, with 36% rating it the most successful channel.

Takeaway: Email marketing isn’t without its challenges and it hasn’t replaced the telephone just yet. However, as the drive for marketing automation increases, email will continue to be an essential part of sales marketing.

Ascend2 has published their 2017 State of Email Marketing, and their report indicates that email marketing is continuing to dominate digital marketing.

  • 79% of marketing influencers say that email marketing performance is increasing…
  • With 44% describing the increase as significant.
  • 90% of marketing influencers consider their email marketing strategy successful to some extent at achieving important objectives…
  • And four out of ten (40%) describing their success as best-in-class.

The report also includes insights on effective techniques for increasing the effectiveness of email marketing, with half of marketing influencers recommending message personalization as most effective.

Other tactics worthy of mention include using meaningful calls-to-action and list segmentation.

© Ascend2

The eagle-eyed reader will have noticed that automated campaigns came bottom of that particular list. Does this mean that you can safely discard automated email campaigns as an effective tactic?

No. Rather, it’s important to remember that any automated campaign must be carried out in line with best practices. An automated campaign without personalization and smart calls-to-action is going to struggle.

However, with these other tactics in place, email automation will allow you to massively scale your results.

© Ascend2

Just because something is effective, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Who would have thought that 35% of marketing influencers struggle to implement meaningful calls-to-action, or that 32% found message personalization difficult?

Takeaway: Email marketing is an essential part of digital marketing. There are a few tactics you can use to increase its effectiveness, but many marketers find these difficult to implement. Finding a smart tool that makes implementing these tactics easier will give you a distinct advantage.

Covering marketing automation stats in more detail, Ascend2 also released their State of Marketing Automation Survey Summary Report, with encouraging results for those considering implementing this strategy.

  • A staggering 84% found that their marketing automation was successful at meeting their targets.
  • A third (33%) found it to be very successful (best-in-class).

© Ascend2

Again, we see that while few would doubt its value, many have found implementation to be complicated:

  • 85% found implementation to be complicated…
  • Of which over a quarter (26%) found it to be extremely complicated.

© Ascend2

Takeaway: If you’re struggling with implementing a marketing automation system, take comfort that you’re not alone. More importantly, even many of those who found the whole process complicated still felt that marketing automation had been successful. It’s worth the effort. 

Plus, software varies in terms of implementation challenges. Namely, open-source email marketing system might require a dedicated tech team to tailor it to your needs. The same goes for the on-premise, offline email marketing software. If you don’t have the bandwidth to hire dedicated developers, focus on web-based, SaaS tools like Reply.

According to WebsiteBuilder the most used email marketing techniques were:

  • Automation (74%)
  • Personalization (54%)
  • Advanced segmentation (18%)

Those extra little techniques add up:

  • Personalized emails increased CTR by 14% and Conversion by 10%.
  • Advanced segmentation increased open rates by 39%, lowered unsubscribe rates by 28% and improved deliverability also improved by 24%.

Welcome emails generate 320% more revenue than other bulk marketing emails, as well as an 86% increase in unique open rate and a 336% increase in transaction rate. You’re welcome!

In a study by the Digital Marketing Association (UK), 9 out of 10 marketers said they perceive email marketing as a channel of ‘importance’ or ‘great strategic importance’ for achieving business goals.

The same study also established an average ROI of £38 for each £1 spent on ROI (a big increase over the £24.93 reported in 2013). The positive trends continue, with delivery, conversion, average email open and click rates all increasing, and unsubscribe rates remaining unchanged.

For another DMA (UK) survey, consumers answered a whole range of questions regarding their attitudes to email:

  • On average, consumers sign up to emails from 9.8 brands.
  • 63% of respondents agreed with the statement “most of the marketing emails I receive include no content or offers that are of interest to me”.
  • Over 4/5 consumers often or always wonder why they receive brand emails. 96% have wondered this at some point.

Takeaway: Never leave your customers wondering why you’re emailing. Don’t email them for the sake of emailing, but rather provide them with value.

ClickZ reviewed the marketing practices of Fortune 500 companies:

  • 97% of companies used some type of web tracking tools.
  • Only 25% of the companies used marketing automation tools.

But as other reports suggest the figure for B2B companies, in general, using marketing automation is just 13%, an adoption of 25% shows these companies are adopting modern technologies at a higher rate than their peers.

Still need convincing that you need to be personalizing and segmenting your emails? Campaign Monitor reported on a study by Experian, which showed personalized subject lines resulted in emails 26% more likely to be opened. Even more impressive, DMA reported a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

Relying on Facebook for organic outreach? I’ve got some bad news for you. Back in 2014, social@oglivy determined social reach from brand pages to be as low as 6%.

They also foretold it would drop further, citing unofficial advice from Facebook sources that organic reach will eventually hit zero. Suddenly,  the average email response rate of 15.22% – 28.46% opens looks a lot more appealing.

The only way is up: Radicati reported that revenue for all segments of the email market combined are expected to total over $23.8 billion in 2017, and will grow to over $46.8 billion by year-end 2021. That’s an average annual growth rate of 18%.

That corresponds to an increase in worldwide email traffic. Including both business and consumer emails, that traffic is estimated to be over 269 billion emails/day by the end of 2017. That’s estimated to grow to over 319.6 billion emails/day by the end of 2021.

We’ve looked at the power of personalization, but that can be a lot more than just a first name tag. eMarketer shared a December 2013 survey of US digital shoppers conducted by Harris Interactive.

They found the majority of recipients of emails containing personalization drawing from previous shopping behaviors and preferences would be more likely to increase their purchases. 81% of respondents were at least somewhat likely to make additional purchases as a result of targeted emails.

Another eMarketer article reported on the increased revenue due to email. According to marketing executives surveyed by OneSpot and The Relevancy Group, revenues attributed to email made up 21% of the total in Q2 2017. That’s up from 17% year over year.

The Data and Marketing Association (DMA) reported that 66% of online consumers made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message. They also included specific age demographics:

  • 65% of 18-24 year-olds made purchases based on email…
  • Compared to 71% of 45-54 year-olds.

More companies are utilizing email marketing. The DMA reported that adoption increased to 65% in 2017 (that’s up from 60% in 2016). At the same time, over 66% of companies surveyed in The State of Business Email Marketing 2020 report rely primarily on email when interacting with prospects and customers.

Any effective email automation campaign will take into account mobile devices, and rightly so. A Relevancy Group consumer survey found that 37% use the phone as their primary email inbox.

The study found the main reasons consumers opt out or ignore messages were frequency overload (77%), or lack of relevance (55%). 41% of consumers simply swipe left to delete the message.

As we’ve seen, savvy email marketers know the benefits of segmentation for increasing email response rates. MailChimp reviewed their customer data to confirm just how effective email marketing response rate average is compared to non-segmented campaigns:

  • Opens were 14.3% higher
  • Unique Opens were 10.7% higher
  • Clicks were 101% higher
  • Bounces were 4.7% lower
  • Abuse Reports were 3.9% lower
  • Unsubscribes were 9.4% lower

On the subject of keeping unsubscribes down, 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many emails.

Personalization has an added benefit, according to a study by Amanda Gagnon, Educating Marketing Associate at AWeber. She found that personalized emails had a 5.13% higher average open rate for email blasts than regular emails, but the bigger benefit was a significantly higher CTR of 17.36%.

Epsilon analyzed the results of their automated email marketing. Emails triggered by customer action were 76.7% higher than business as usual (BAU) messages in Q3 2014. This also resulted in improved click rates, reporting 151.9% higher than BAU messages.

Looking for more ways to increase your click rate? MarTech Advisor reports that adding videos to your email content can boost CTR by up to 300%, while interactive email content increases CTR by 73%. Including social sharing buttons also increased CTR by 150%.

ExitBee reported that 70% of consumers get frustrated when they are fed content that’s irrelevant to them.

Despite the clear benefits, CMO reports that less than half of retailers (39%) send personalized emails to their consumers, such as product recommendations. The study reveals two possible reasons:

  • Less than 10% marketers believe they are effective at personalization
  • A third report having no resources to support their personalization efforts.

Marketo supports this, reporting that personalized messages based on behavior are much better than email blasts, 3x better on average.

Sarv found that targeted emails resulted in 18x more revenue than non-targeted ones.

In their Email Marketing Benchmarks study, MAPP found that the number checking their emails from their phone has reached 71.7%, a 7% increase from 2015 for mobile devices.

We’ve seen previously that many people have ended up unsubscribing due to receiving too many emails from brands, but how often should you email? When surveyed, 40.7% said they preferred weekly emails. Preference for daily emails has decreased from 9.5% to 7.8%, and monthly or less increased from 33% to 36.9%

Would recipients watch a promotional video in a marketing email? The answer isn’t so clear-cut: 39% said yes, 32% were unsure, and 29% wouldn’t.

What is agreed is if you do include a video, keep it brief. The vast majority considered between 10 seconds and a minute to be the best length.

Looking to encourage sign-ups for your automated email? While customers can’t get enough discounts and free shipping, the MAPP study shows that 65.9% would also be compelled to sign up by a loyalty or rewards program.

© MAPP Digital US

If you’re not bothering optimizing your emails for mobile, there’s a good chance they won’t be read. If they receive an email on their mobile device that isn’t displayed correctly, half of recipients will simply delete it. 5% would go as far as unsubscribing.

IKO System carried out a comprehensive study on sales emails in their ebook ‘800,000 Sales Conversations by Email’.

Some of the statistics that stand out include:

  • Reaching a decision-maker is twice as hard as 6 years ago.
  • Without automation sales representative spends 67% of their time reaching out to a lead.
  • While sales reps tend to use 3 to 5 words in their subject lines, there is no evidence of impact between subject length and open rate.

© IKO System

Want to get your sales email opened? The study found the best tactic was to use the company’s name, increasing the open rate by 15%, compared to using a first name, which only marginally improved the open rate by 0.9%.

Using lower case at the start of the subject line also had a significant impact on the open rate. However, you’ll want to avoid special characters like the plague, as it results in an 11% decrease in open rate. This possibly suggests that we like our subject lines to look more human than machine.

© IKO System

After the subject line, the opening line is the most important, especially as most email services display the first line in the inbox. Starting with ‘Hello’ and the customer’s first name all resulted in higher open rates, but it seems like we all like a good start. Using ‘Good’ at the start of your email message resulted in a massive 104% increase in open rate.

© IKO System

On the other hand, it seems that we really don’t like formal first sentences. Going for a traditional ‘Dear Mr Last Name’ will really damage your open rates, as will quoting the prospect’s job or using special characters.

© IKO System

Is it best to be short and sweet, or long and detailed? The results in the IKO System report suggest that when it comes to your sales email, either works well, but don’t go in the middle. Emails with 200-250 words had the highest response rate (19%), and short emails with fewer than 50 words had the next highest result (17%). However, the most common message size of 100-150 words also had the lowest response rate (13%).

© IKO System

To increase the chances of getting a reply, the body of your email message can benefit by referencing the job title, as well as asking for a meeting. Using the first name will actually hurt your chances of getting a response though, as will those pesky special characters. Surprisingly, even though it may seem like a good idea, a ‘Thanks’ can also hurt your response rate.

Shane Snow sent 1,000 emails in an attempt to see what subject lines worked best: Short and intriguing, or long and specific?

  • The short, curiosity-piquing subject line (“Quick Question”) had 51.2% of the opens and resulted in 66.7% of the total replies.
  • The long, more specific line (“15 Second Question for Research on Annoying Emails”) had 48.8% opens and resulted in 33.3% of the total replies.

While the shorter subject line had the higher reply rate, Shane suggests this might be due to the longer subject line downplaying the time commitment required, which may have turned some recipients off.

However, the overall reply rate was also extremely low at 1.7% (likely due to the lack of personalization) which makes it difficult to be certain of the subject line’s effect.

You might think writing your sales emails at a high-grade level would be best, but for optimal sales results, you’ll want to keep it simple. According to a study by Boomerang, the optimal response rate was from emails written at a third-grade level. The full results were:

  • Emails written at a kindergarten reading level – 46% response rate
  • Emails written at a third-grade reading level – 53% response rate
  • Emails written at a high school reading level – 45% response rate
  • Emails written at a college reading level – 39% response rate

The Boomerang study also looked at the effect of subject line length on email marketing response statistics. Having no subject line at all resulted in the lowest response rate (14%), but the sweet spot was a surprisingly short 3-4 words, both getting a 48% response rate.

A recent article on Hubspot collated statistics on how subject lines affected open rates.

Personalized subject lines have open rates nearly 23% higher than non-personalized subject lines. Additionally, in line with the Boomerang study, subject lines with 30 or fewer characters have above average open rates (original source: Adestra).

The Hubspot article also referred to a Sidekick (now Hubspot Sales) report on what words work well (or not so well) in a subject line. The following words all had a positive effect on open rates:

  • Tomorrow (10%)
  • Free (10%)
  • New (4%)

However, words that dropped the open rate and should be avoided include:

  • Quick (17%)
  • You (5%)

According to Convince & Convert, 35% of recipients open emails based purely on the subject line. 69% will also report a message as spam based solely on the subject line. If you want to make the sale and avoid the spam folder, you’re going to want to make sure your subject line is up to par.

Like me, you’ve probably received emails trying to look like a reply or a forward, with a RE: or a FW: typed in at the start. You may have been tempted to give it a go.

However, if you do, according to research by Adestra you’ll be hurting your open and click-through rates.

Putting RE: lowered open rates by 3.7%, and click-through rates by a 42.6%
FW: actually raised open rates by 5.1%, but the click-through rate dropped by a massive 60.9%.

Takeaway: Never try and trick your recipients into opening your email. Even if they open your email, once they realize they’ve been duped, your click-through rate will plummet.

When sending out your next cold sales email to a company, you might benefit from pitching to more than one person. Conversion Fanatics found that sending emails to 3-5 people within the same company (with slight tweaks for personalization), yielded the best results.

There you go, 183 statistics related to marketing email automation. As you’ve seen, automated emails are a powerful tool for marketers. To get the most out of your campaign, make sure you’re sending personalized emails, segmented for maximum efficiency.

If you want to set up an automated campaign but you’re one of the 85% that find implementation complicated, then you’ll want to check out Reply. Our solution makes setting up a campaign easy, including personalization and segmentation. Sign up for a free 14 day trial today and see just how simple email automation can be.