Two thirds of marketers say email marketing delivers ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ROI

Sixty-six per cent of marketers have said that email marketing delivers an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ROI, with 8% of businesses achieving more than half their sales through this channel.

The Email Marketing Industry Census 2013, conducted by Econsultancy and Adestra, collected the opinions of over 1,300 respondents. The census measured the state of the industry, the approaches and resources given to email marketing, as well as deliverability, technology and mobile.

Return on investment

When asked which platform gave the highest ROI marketers said the three main channels were:

-   SEO – 31%

-   Email marketing – 22%

-   PPC  – 19%

Social media, mobile advertising and content marketing were further down the list.

Optimised emails

However, while marketers rate email marketing and think it’s a worthwhile form of marketing, are they using it effectively for their own companies? Not so much. Only 39% of in-house marketers said their company’s campaigns were ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ and 15% admit their campaigns are ‘poor’.

More than a quarter of respondents state that they spend no time at all internally optimising their campaigns. This figure has risen a measly amount from 21% since 2008. And even those who are optimising their emails aren’t spending enough time on it. Just 19% of companies spend more than two hours a week on optimisation, compared to 62% who spend the same amount of time on design and content.

Progress in 2013

It’s not all doom and gloom though. The survey did highlight improvements in the industry. In 2007 ‘lack of skills and training’ was the biggest barrier for users, as 42% of respondents said this was the main issues.

In 2013, over 50% of respondents said the ‘quality of the database’ was the biggest issue.

The other main issues facing email marketers were lack of strategy, lack of time and lack of staff.


Finally the census highlights the importance of running tests, and the effects of no testing. Of those companies that test their email campaigns regularly, 74% report having an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ROI. Of those companies that do not test, only 37% said their ROI was ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. These figures aren’t particularly shocking – you’d expect an untested email to return a lower investment, just because it hasn’t been through spam filters, or split tested to specific demographics, for example.

So what do these figures tell us? At a glance, we can see that marketers still love email marketing, and it’s definitely worth the investment. But we can also see that companies don’t spend enough time concentrating on their own email campaigns and they need improved email marketing systems.

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