18 percent of US online trade can be traced back to emails, 22 percent to SEO and 17 percent to cost-per-click advertisements. The social web is already generating two percent and display advertisements, one percent of sales.
Email marketing is also an advertising channel, which most companies are incorporating into their increased budgets – ahead of search engines and social media. 46 percent of German companies interviewed by Absolit plan to intensify their email marketing activities. 65 percent of retailers already want to pump more money into email marketing. The number is confirmed by an iBusiness interview with 130 online retailers, out of whom 60 percent also want to increase their budget.
How does email marketing work?
Most emails are deleted unread. The numbers seem to prove it: the opening rate for German newsletters is between 20 and 30 percent on average. But are emails really blindly deleted? No! The sender and the subject line are scanned, and only then is the email deleted. If the subject line of your invitation reads “dmexco: Fresh waffles at stand 8E31,” you will not get a lot of people opening your email.
You already know this from Google: If you search “t-mobile hotline,” you get the telephone number displayed at the same time. You don’t have to click anymore. So, with a carefully-cultivated distributor, you can reach nearly one hundred percent of your audience.
Image 1: Results for the search “t-mobile hotline”
It’s a little different on Facebook: here your postings attract only 2 percent of your fans, because the algorithm swallows everything it doesn’t think is relevant. And, my dear friend, you are no competition for cute cat pictures.
The exciting thing about the channel: In contrast to all the gloomy predictions, users appreciate email. A third (GB) to one-half (USA) prefer printed mailings and catalogs by mail and twice as many prefer getting them by email.
Email is the new mail
Little by little, email has developed into the standard channel for digital communication. Invoices, order confirmations, access authorizations, and status notifications are routinely sent through email. In case of undeliverable mail, the mail server answers immediately with an error message so that you can check whether an email has been delivered safely. The channel is binding. An attorney is obligated to monitor and to read his or her emails at the beginning of the work day (OLG Jena, 19/02/2016). Letters are no longer necessary: for example, an invitation to an organization’s general meeting through email is sufficient (OLG Hamm, 24/09/2015).
Companies are likewise obligated to react to emails: web.de must allow direct email communication. The automatic standard answer “Please appeal to the responsible contact person with your concerns” is not allowed (LG Koblenz 03/11/2014). Even Google may not simply refer users who write to the email address “[email protected]” to their help pages and refuse further communication via email (LG Berlin 28/08/2014). The owner of a business email address is obligated to monitor his or her spam folder daily, to retrieve important messages accidentally sorted as advertisement (LG Bonn 10/01/2014). If a company gives an email address instead of a telephone number on their website, they must ensure that it can be retrieved within 60 minutes (LG Bamberg, 23/11/2012).
A few numbers illustrate the importance of email:
- 2.7 billion people worldwide use email, and of those, 1.7 billion use mobile email.
- 215 billion legal emails are sent every day.
- 79.5 percent of Germans are online – nearly all have an email address.
- 97 percent of Germans online use email, three quarters of them on a daily basis.
- 43 percent receive more than ten emails per day.
- 52 percent read newsletters.
- 42 percent read at least one newsletter per week.
- 41 percent indicate that they frequently devote attention to interesting topics found through webmail.
- 21 percent have frequently bought something that they learned about in an advertising newsletter.
- 60 percent of managers gain information through email newsletters.
- 48 percent have 2 to 3 email addresses, 32 percent only one.
- 72 percent use German email providers such as GMX, Web.de or T-Online.
- 86 percent make email the second most-used online service, behind search engines.
According to the German Study Group for Online Research, 93 percent of people online use the Internet to access search engines. Right behind this, on the popularity scale at 86 percent, is the sending and receiving of emails. Only 52 percent use social networks frequently or occasionally. Curiosity about new emails is thus stronger than curiosity about Facebook comments.
Good opportunities for customer contact: half of all Germans regularly receive electronic newsletters. Only five percent of subscribers don’t want to receive info-mail in the future. Important for company PR: a third of subscriptions are newsletters with company news. Half of subscribers regularly receive one to three info-mails; 16 percent receive more than eight newsletters. This is the result of a representative survey by Faktenkontor and Toluna. 42 percent of these read a newsletter at least once per week.
But whoever wants to send relevant emails must bear this in mind: today, no one reads all of his or her emails. Most people quickly scan the most important ones and then delete the rest. Here, there is a clear difference between a requested newsletter and an unrequested email: Newsletters are at least scanned, while spam, on the other hand, is deleted unread. This is a clear difference with postal advertising; postal advertising functions even without approval, but emails do not.
Conclusion: marketing loves email
Marketers love the medium of email even more than users. The reason: no channel offers a better ROI (return on investment). With print mailings, this is in sevens: if you put one Euro into advertising letters, you achieve seven Euros in sales. With search engine marketing this number lies at 20 and with email marketing, 38. On the question about the valuation of the ROI, US marketing leaders placed email before SEO and SEA. 73 percent assessed the ROI of email as good or very good.
As a result, email is one of the most frequently-used marketing tools. 56 percent of the companies interviewed by Deutschen Post use email marketing – followed by search engines (45 percent) and social media (41 percent). If you look only at innovative, online-affine companies, an even clearer picture arises: nearly all (96 percent) use email and search engine marketing.