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A Resurgence in the Inbox: Why Email Marketing is the New Black

A Resurgence in the Inbox: Why Email Marketing is the New Black

Courtenay Worcester

A recent survey and in-depth analysis of marketers and consumer behaviors around the globe points to key drivers behind the resurgence of email marketing.

As marketers, we love to predict the future. The problem is we’re not always correct. What’s trending today might not be in favor a year from now and that makes for risky marketing bets. Does anybody remember all the fanfare around Second Life? While it still attracts residents, the hype didn’t match reality. On the other hand, the rise in social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Insta, Twitter, and others had some prognosticators anticipating the end of email. While social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, there are more changes afoot. On the other hand, email continues to be a tried-and-true marketing channel. In fact, there’s been a resurgence of it among marketers.


The five primary drivers behind the “email is the new black” marketing movement are:

1.     It’s an opt-in channel: Customers need to sign up to receive marketing emails, which tells marketers that their subscribers are already interested in what they have to say.

2.     New regulations: Last year we saw GDPR go into effect and next year we can anticipate the enforcement  of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). While these regulations appear to be centralized with GDPR for Europe and CCPA for California, the reality is our global economy makes it nearly impossible for a business to not adopt these regulations and best practices for all their customers.

3.     Personalization: With email, you can engage customers one-on-one. The more you know about your customers, the more you can segment them for even more personalized content and offers. You simply can’t achieve that level of welcomed personalization outside the inbox.

4.     It’s easy to integrate email into other marketing channels: It’s easy to add email to your other marketing platforms and channels as part of integrated campaigns. When it comes down to it, everything really does start and end with the inbox.

5.     It’s the lowest cost, highest ROI of any marketing channels: You simply can’t beat the ROI of email marketing campaigns.

Survey Results Reveal Current Email Marketing Trends, Customer Behaviors

Supporting these facts and principles of email marketing are the results of a recent survey and an analysis of email behavior. The first was a survey of B2B enterprises from around the globe conducted by GetResponse and Ascend. Among the participants,  18 percent were employed at companies with more than 500 employees. Companies with between 50-500 employees made up 26 percent of respondents and companies with fewer than 50 employees represented 56 percent of the survey respondents.

The second source of data is an analysis by GetResponse that analyzed four billion emails sent in 126 countries across 19 industries by marketers with at least 1,000 contacts. Here are the latest takeaways from these two sources.

Email marketing budgets are up: Two thirds of B2B marketers, or 63 percent, are moderately increasing their email marketing budgets this year. Not surprising, two thirds of survey participants also reported an improvement in their campaign results. Arguably, those companies that increase their efforts and investments in email marketing are realizing stronger campaign results.

The three most effective types of email marketing campaigns: When asked “What are the most effective types of email?” the majority of respondents cited single topic/dedicated emails (26%). This was followed by personalization (23%) and automated/lead nurturing (15%).

The highest open and click through rates come from welcome emails: Welcome emails have an average open rate of 84.22 and a click through rate of 25.91.

Campaign analysis requires industry-wide and country-specific benchmarks for the most accurate picture. When measuring global email marketing campaign results, take into account country and industry data. For example, the average open rate in North America is 19.49 percent while in Europe it’s 26.91 percent. From an industry perspective, the average open rate for a restaurant is 37.40 percent while in the travel industry it’s 22.79 percent. You can dig deeper into the latest results by country and industry by going to this benchmarks report page.

Fast subscriber growth doesn’t mean fast conversions. The countries with the highest average opens and clicks also have the highest unsubscribe rates. There are lots of reasons why this might occur. It could be because the more people that open your emails, the higher the likelihood of their decision to unsubscribe. It could be that the compelling CTA that was used to entice subscribers has expired. Or it could be that the customer didn’t feel like the content was relevant. To keep up with a high volume readership, be diligent about analysis, segmentation, and personalization.

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective channels for digital marketers. This doesn’t mean it should be replaced with the shiny new fad. Rather, it should be viewed as the foundation of your marketing strategy. From it, you can experiment with other channels and tools to complement one-on-one communications with customers.Check out the full benchmark report “Email Marketing: A B2B Perspective” from GetResponse and Ascend2.

Courtenay Worcester is the U.S. Director of Marketing for GetResponse. She is responsible for driving the company's marketing strategy in the U.S. including positioning, competitive analysis, lead generation, customer engagement, and brand awareness.  She brings more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing to GetResponse. Prior to joining GetResponse, Courtenay drove corporate events for Seismic Software, a leader in sales enablement and content management. She has additional corporate and digital marketing experience gained at Attend, Inc. where she developed traditional, digital, and event marketing strategies that attracted and engaged target segments.