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Is Email marketing still worth it?


Yes. Email marketing has been declared illegal, dead or dying many times over the years, with banner adds, web / Google Ads, legislation and search engines all about to kill it off. Yet, as the graph illustrates, email is continuing to grow. Around 347 billion emails are delivered each day in 2023 and a steady percentage are marketing related.


Part of the growth in email traffic is due to more users. As of 2023, around 4 billion email accounts exist. A further trend to watch for is the growth in the use of smartphones to access email. Both Android and Apple phones boast highly useable and convenient email clients. Globally, nearly 50% of all email opening happens on a smartphone.


Marketwise has been working in the marketing and email marketing sector for over 20 years. We specialise in science mailing lists, but our experience and knowledge gained, applies across industry sectors.

Billions of emails sent each day

Emails delivered each day 2023

What is the ROI on Email Marketing?

According to a large survey from The Direct Marketing Association, publicly available here as a pdf, the answer is an average of $42 for every $1 spent.  Obviously an average hides extremes, with some campaigns returning upwards of $90 to every $1 spent and some returning lower.

In summary, the answer to the question “Is email marketing worth it?” is yes, but it depends. With over 347 billion emails a day, it takes care and patience to stand out in a crowded inbox.

In this section, we discuss all aspects of email marketing, common mistakes and pitfalls, the impact of privacy legislation and what works. First lets cover inbound versus outbound marketing, a topic that often divides opinions.

Which is better, Inbound or Outbound marketing?

First let’s define the terms inbound and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing relies on your customers finding you and your products or services. Today, this is mostly via a search engine, which is why companies spend so much time on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).  Outbound marketing is when you proactively search for your customers and approach them directly. This could use email, messaging, physical post, telephone calls and so on.

So which is better? As with most things, the answer is – it depends.  If your product is a commodity, that everyone knows about, inbound will work well (iPhone anyone?). If your brand is the market leader and has huge recognition, again, your customers will find you (did you find Netflix or did they approach you?).  But let’s dig a little deeper. If you have a well known brand, but you are now doing something new – what then? Do you hope your customers notice? Perhaps your existing customers will, but how about new customers?

We firmly believe that inbound and outbound marketing are complimentary.

In summary, it’s a false choice to decide to choose one over the other.  Outbound marketing is especially good when you want to promote a new or refreshed product or service that your target customers would not even know to search for. A good outbound marketing strategy can help create awareness for inbound leads to flow. Conversely a good inbound / SEO strategy will help increase the success of a targeted outbound campaign.

Inbound and outbound marketing are two halves of a successful marketing strategy.

The following pages give further advice on running a successful email marketing campaign. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

FAQ for Email Marketing


Is email marketing worth it?

Many studies have shown a great ROI for email marketing, averaging at a 30x to 40x return. The key is to use high quality data and send relevant, engaging messages. We can advise.

How do I target email marketing?

Build your ideal audience. Based on what market segment they work in, what they do and what they specialise in. Add in geographic location and you have a well targeted email list. Now you need to send relevant and interesting messages to build trust.

How do I improve email open rates?

Two main factors. The subject line and email deliverability. The subject line should be short, create some intrigue or curiosity and avoid spammy words. You build trust with an audience over time.
Email deliverability depends on good email data and a good email reputation.

How do I improve my CTR?

Some quick tips are:
Keep your message short, to the point and easily skim-able.
Be relevant and create curiosity in your audience
Have a single Call to Action button with a clear message on it "Download the report".

What is A/B testing?

This simply means testing two versions of something. Most common is Subject Line testing. Send out two different versions and see which gets the best response. Testing message content is possible as well. Ensure you only change one thing, so you know what made a difference.

How can I avoid the Spam filters?

Two main causes:
1. Technical reasons, poor email reputation and lack of email authentication.
2. Message content is spammy. Cut out flowery language and keep it professional.

What is contact nurturing?

This simply means sending multiple messages over time, to build up trust and a stronger relationship with your audience. Its rare to be able to send a single message and expect a brilliant response. Build trust with a series of engaging messages.