Email Marketing ROI – A Guide

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Back in the old days if you wanted to measure success there was usually something physical to count! Whether you were counting money at the end of the day, counting potatoes after an especially good harvest, or even counting audience members at a gig; there was usually a quantifiable measure to check how well you did.

On the internet it’s a little trickier to track success…but not impossible. For online business owners, email is often the easiest and most effective way to reach their customers. This usually occurs through newsletters or discount codes. If you’ve ever clicked and claimed a coupon through an email, that’s email marketing at work!

Email marketing used to be seen as a bit of a chore: something you did to cover your bases but not exactly your main meal ticket. Recently this has changed though, with email marketing now serving HUGE returns on investments (ROI).

But what is email marketing ROI? How can you use email marketing? What’s the most efficient way to get the largest profits? If you want the answer to all these questions and more, stick with us as we go through the most important email marketing statistics and give you the tricks and tips needed to maximize your ROI. Ready? Then let’s go!

Top 5 Email Marketing Statistics

  1. For every $1 marketers spend on email marketing, they receive $36 in return

  2. 59% of respondents said that marketing emails influence their purchase decisions

  3. 77% of marketers have seen an increase in email marketing over the last months

  4. There are 4 billion daily email users. This number is expected to climb to 4.6 billion by 2025

  5. 99% of email users check their inboxes every day

What Is Email Marketing ROI?

Okay, so we’ve realized that emails and email marketing are kind of a big deal. But how can you track how well it performs? Is it like a letter in that, once it’s in the desired mailbox, you won’t know how well it did until you get an email back?

Well, with popular email marketing services you can track the performance of the emails. You can see how many of your email lists opened the email, how many ignored it, and how many put it straight in the trash.

mailchimp homepage emphasizing their drag-and-drop templates
With tools like Mailchimp, you can analyze your email metrics. We’ll go into more detail about things like this later.

But what about the money? You’re running a business after all!  Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of ROI. 

ROI (or Return On Investment) is a really simple way to work out how successful a digital marketing campaign has been. Basically, it is pitting how much you spent against how much money you made. With this, you can work out a simple ratio of how much return you get per investment. Here’s an infographic for those visual learners out there:

Formula for calculating ROI by dividing amount gained minus amount spent by amount spent then multiplying by 100
Here is the equation to find out ROI. You can format it as a ratio or percentage, whichever is easier for you to understand.

With this equation, we can work out how much return you get for the investment.

The average for email marketing is for every $1 spent you make $36, which is an increase of 3,600%! That’s crazy! No other digital marketing strategy can come close to email marketing in terms of ROI. Most other digital marketing strategies can only manage an ROI of 500%, showing just how effective email marketing is.

Top Tip!

When you’re working out your ROI, it’s best to choose a specific time frame. “Amount Gained” can be a bit of a vague value for some. It’s best to measure the amount gained from when you started the email marketing campaign to when it ended.

Why Does Email ROI Matter?

Now that we know what ROI is and how to work it out – why should we? What’s the matter with simply posting ads on your site and other tried and tested ways of marketing?

Marketing works best when you know exactly who you’re marketing to. With the anonymity of the internet, this important factor is lost. The simplest way to get up close and personal with a potential customer online is through their email address.

But if you’re running email marketing campaigns without knowing the ROI, you don’t know if they’re working, or if you should continue/invest more into it – and if you’re part of a larger business, you have no data to justify spending money on more email marketing! Basically, without knowing the ROI, you’re throwing money into the dark!

Let’s walk through the typical customer journey when targeted by one of your expert email campaigns:

  1. Customer checks email inbox (Remember, 99% of email owners check it every day)
  2. They see a new email from your company with an enticing subject line
  3. They open the email
  4. They read some targeted copy about your brand
  5. Satisfied, they click the link to your site and make a purchase

There are other steps involved and ways you can certainly improve your email marketing (we’ll get to that in the next section), but these are the bare minimum steps it takes for email marketing to work – and according to statistics this works on 59% of customers!

Say you have 3,000 daily visits to your website and you can only collect 500 names for a mailing list. If we take the stat above and say that 59% of customers convert, then you’ve got 300 people making a purchase. That’s one-tenth of your audience becoming customers. And now imagine that every day with continuous email marketing campaigns running…

But that’s not all, as email marketing ROI varies by industry too. PR and advertising agencies have an ROI of 4,200% and retail, ecommerce, and consumer goods boast an ROI of 4,500% If you just spent $100 on email marketing then that’s a return of $4,500!

That’s what makes email marketing so lucrative for online businesses.

Bar chart displayingmarket share percentage of five popular email providers

7 Best Ways To Increase Email Marketing ROI

You may have been reading this guide and concluded that email marketing is a get-rich-quick scheme. Just send a few emails and instant profit, right? Sorry to burst your bubble but it’s a little more complicated than that. Luckily for you, we’ve got some handy tips to help you out!

Now that we have the basics out of the way, let us continue and give you the juiciest inside scoops on email marketing with our top seven ways to increase email ROI.

#1. Don’t Do It Yourself

With advancements in technology, there is no longer a need to labor over a computer screen and individually send every email by hand. From our research, we recommend getting an automated email marketing platform like GetResponse, though there are other good options too, like Mailchimp or Sendinblue.

Email marketing services like these will let you create templates and schedules so you can sit back and relax as the emails hit your customers’ inboxes. They cost a subscription fee, but we think it’s justified for the amount of time they save!

#2. Get A Mailing List

There’s no point crafting an email marketing strategy if you have nobody to email! Now, there are two options to go about this.

You can go ahead and purchase a list of “leads” from a lead site like This will save you time by giving you a list of email addresses you can start contacting. However, we don’t recommend this method. The downside to this method is that these leads have no idea about you or your company. If your email marketing is enticing enough, you could convert a few, but most people tend to ignore unsolicited emails and dislike businesses that send them!

The second method is to build an organic email list over time with a sign-up section on your site. These are your typical “Sign up here” or “Subscribe to our Newsletter” sections you see on most websites. People who have already visited your site may just give up their email address willingly, meaning you have a list of already interested parties to message and easily convert.

This method is handicapped by its length since it can take years to build up a substantial email list, but it’s worth it for the quality leads you’ll gain. While you may get more reliable returns, it will require patience.

wix sign-up template for subscribing to a newsletter
A typical newsletter sign-up from website builder Wix. You can use these to get people to leave their email addresses willingly.

Top Tip!

If you don’t know how to add a signup section on your site, there’s no need to worry. If you have built your site using a website builder or ecommerce platform, there should be a feature allowing you to add one. Simply go into your builder’s editor and add it to your site.

#3. Categorize Your Lists

Once you’ve collected your list, it’s good practice to start separating it into different groups so you can better target the right people. Separate by purchase history, age, demographic, gender – whichever way you want. What’s important is that you have different groups you can target with your emails. Marketers have noticed a 760% increase in revenue from segmenting email lists like this, so it’s a great practice to get into.

While you can’t send each person on your list a personalized email, as a good email marketer you should try and personalize your emails as much as possible. Segmenting lists is a great way to organize your leads into easily marketed groups, but don’t forget you’ll need to change the content of your emails to reflect this.

Something as simple as adding the name of the person at the start of the email instead of a generic “Hey there!” or “Hello” can make a much better impression at the start of an email. You can further this by adding automated triggers through your email marketing service that sends an email when a customer has bought a product, sending them a list of related items. Personalization can increase conversions by up to 10%, so it’s something you should definitely consider!

list of triggers from your ecommerce store that mailchimp can send automated email for
A couple of the triggers that are available through email marketing services. These can increase conversions by emailing your customers at the exact right time.

#4. Engaging Subject Lines And Content

Just because you’ve personalized your emails doesn’t necessarily mean that your customers will open them. After all, are you nice to someone just because they know your name?

The thing that your customers will see first in their inbox is the subject line, so you have to make it as engaging as possible!

It’s best to use something with some urgency, like “Claim your deal before it runs out!” or play on the mystery aspect with “We have something special just for you…

Top Tip!

Emojis work wonders in the subject lines of emails. Try to end your subject line with a few to give a little flair to your emails. You can copy and paste from emoji databases such as Emojipedia

Once you’ve enticed your customer with your amazing subject line, your actual email needs to be filled with interesting stuff too. Videos, images, and GIFS are all great additions to make a drab email that bit more exciting. This “live content” also affects your conversions, as emails with video thumbnails in them have a reported 22% higher click-through rate.

Another thing to add to your emails to increase ROI is plenty of call-to-action buttons so your customers know exactly where to click to go to your site. Make sure these are a different color from the rest of your design so they pop out and inform your customers where they want to go!

#5. Mobile Optimization

Over 50% of emails are actually opened on mobile devices, so if your emails are not responsively designed for both mobile and desktop you could be missing out on a lot of potential ROI.

Luckily, most email marketing services will have a feature where you can check what the landing page will look like in both desktop and mobile versions.

red box identifying how to change the view to mobile layout on an email editor
This symbol will take you to the mobile version of your email, so you can continue to edit and see how it looks for mobile users.

#6. Send On The Best Days

Sending emails whenever you finish them isn’t going to help anyone. You need to work out when the peak time is to send out your emails. If you have a mostly international customer base, then you need to figure out the correct time to schedule so it hits their time zone at the right time. An email sent out at 5 p.m. EST isn’t going to hit UK inboxes till 11 p.m.

You also have to factor in your customers’ demographics too. If your customers are generally people who work a 9-5 job, then you want to send them emails when they’re home and can open them. An email sent at 11 a.m. is just going to get buried by their emails throughout the day. No matter how engaging your subject line might be, if your email isn’t in the first 50 results of the inbox, it’s not getting opened.

This is a great place to mention that email marketing services let you track the deliverability of your emails. Inboxes can detect when emails are acting too “spammy” and will automatically dump them into the junk mailbox. This will hurt your ROI if your emails aren’t even reaching your customers!

The best recourse is to just create clear, quality content. If your emails are honest and not overly “salesman-like” and feature copy, images, and other quality makers, they’ll make it past the spam filters.

Top Tip!

Always include an unsubscribe button on your emails. If your customer wants to opt out of your emails, it is totally within their right to. For more information on how to avoid becoming spam and other legalities related to emails, check out the FTC’s page on the CAN-SPAM Act.

#7. Testing, Testing, Testing!

Possibly the most useful feature of email marketing services is their ability to do “A/B testing”. A/B testing is when you release two pieces of content that are identical except for one small variation. You then see how well each piece of content performed. If the small variation increases the interaction, it gets added to the template and then a new variation is added.

infographic showing how a/b testing works
A/B testing relies on you testing a variation and keeping the original as control and sending both out.

You can continue this process until your content is the most optimized it can be. It’s a great way to increase ROI because you get constant feedback on what is working and what isn’t.

The variations can be anything from the placement and color of CTAs to being a completely new template. What’s great about A/B testing is that it helps reduce bounce rates and increase conversions and ROI with relatively little risk. Your customers will most likely not be aware they are participating in A/B testing, making their responses even more valuable.

Additionally, A/B testing doesn’t have an end date. There’s always room for improvement and increasing your ROI, so don’t stop changing and optimizing, since even the smallest change could have the biggest implications. Brands that engage in A/B testing found they received an 82% increase in ROI.


To conclude, email marketing is a fantastic resource for brand outreach. Success can be difficult to measure in a world of ones and zeros, but with the ROI calculator, you can at least give some quantifiable number to your digital marketing efforts.

Email marketing especially gives such a solid return on investment that it’s a real missed opportunity if you refuse to use it. But as we said, it’s not just as simple as sending an email. Make sure you remember that your content has to be quality because an email inbox can detect when something is too “spammy.”

For the best result, we recommend having clear, quality content with engaging subject lines. Try to include videos or GIFs as well, because they have been shown to improve ROI. A/B testing is your best friend in this regard, allowing you to continually test and optimize your content. Make sure it’s mobile-optimized too if you don’t want to be losing any potential converts. Additionally, to get the best ROI you should understand who your target audience is and when the best time to engage them is.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide and now feel ready to try email marketing if you haven’t. And if you have, we hope you now have a better understanding of email marketing ROI and how to fully optimize your campaigns. That’s it from us, now get sending!

Written by:
headshot of Sam Jagger
Being a Writer for Website Builder Expert isn’t just typing words on a laptop. Each day, I’m finding new and innovative ways to help you get online in a mode you feel comfortable with. And it’s a task I do with enthusiasm and gusto. Not only do I have experience building with all the providers we talk about - creating websites such as this Strikingly demo - but we also have our wonderful, constantly updated research fielded by our researchers, so you can be reassured that what we say is an honest reflection of our professional opinions. I’ve written articles and featured guest posts for apps like UXPin on web design in the modern age, as well as answered over 100 user comments on the site and delved into the world of choosing a domain name and adding Bitcoin payments to your site in my own pitched articles. All of this is to say that when I want to get you online - I mean it! Outside the office, I have attended the eCommerce Expo and built up a ton of industry knowledge through talks, workshops, and guided learning sessions with noted experts. The internet is made for everyone, so come online and let us help you get there.


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