Callcredit Blog

Time to look again at the role of email marketing?

Digital Services


Most adults who are online in the UK (and that’s 85% according to ONS have access to at least one personal email account.  In fact, YouGov found that the average number of email accounts held is four.  The first email message was sent over 40 years ago.  Yet despite the recent proliferation of digital marketing techniques, the integrative role of email is often overlooked.  This is surprising given its performance compared to some of the newer arrivals – at least when it comes to selling stuff.  Here’s some evidence:  Wired magazine reported that email can way outperform Twitter and Facebook.

We’re often asked by clients for email statistics – what open rate can I expect?  What percentage of openers will click through?  The reality is that these vary widely depending on targeting, how engaged the recipient is with your brand, what the offer is, etc.  Here are some resources that may help:

  • DMA National Client Email Report 2013
  • 2013 email marketing benchmark report from
  • Email marketing statistics from Econsultancy
  • 2013 email marketing benchmark report (excerpt) from Marketing Sherpa (US)

So how important is (responsive) design?  A six second rule is cited by Media Post – that’s how long an advertiser has to make inbox impact.  How can this be achieved?  For starters, many emails are still not optimised for email according to recent research, yet a large portion of emails are opened now on mobile devices.  Ensure mobile viewability is considered as part of the initial email design, then test across a range of devices before sending.   This infographic highlights a number of design best practices and this one covers deliverability.

Here are some great tips from econsultancy on killer keywords for email subject lines.  I’m not sure I agree with all of the wisdom there (eg, more frequent emails are better than less frequent), but worth a read.

Finally, consider the role of email within the overall channel mix.  Like all channels and media, they work best together:

  • For customer communications, consider the role of email within a range of ‘paths to purchase’ and ‘customer journeys’.
  • For acquisition marketing, consider using email to complement an existing direct mail programme (yes, direct mail still exists), eg to tempt the 97%+ of people who have not yet responded.
  • Identify channel preferences (by asking, looking at their actual behaviours or using an appropriate classification/segmentation system) and build those into your contact strategy.
  • Our targeted display advertising universe allows you to use email and display together to reach known consumers. If you don’t have email addresses you all your customers, you can always get them externally appended.
  • Email and social media go together well.  Social links can easily be built into email messages to encourage sharing and participation.  Here are some more ideas.

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