9 Shocking Facts About Email Marketing


Ripped denim, Doc Martens, email marketing – some things will just never go outta style. Here are 9 shocking facts to prove that email marketing is a timeless trend.

What’s up guys! It’s Alex. 

I’ve heard from a lot of you that you’ve been loving my listicle posts, and I hear you, so I am back with another one! 

This week, I’m sharing some shocking facts about email marketing that all marketers and copywriters should absolutely be paying attention to right now.

Amidst all the talk about the new and exciting ways to reach and influence customers, please excuse me while I focus on the OG of our generation – yes, inboxes still continue to rule the internet…

And I’m not just talking about your parents and grandparents’ family email threads.

In fact, email still pulls a lot of weight on the playground when it comes to helping millennials and even those 18 and younger make a purchasing decision. Hey kid, give me your lunch money.

But for real. It is estimated that there are 3 billion active email users right now (and that number is projected to go up btw). Okay so that number is a little hard to measure because of all us internet weirdos who have like 16 email accounts… [email protected]. That was my very first email account…. What was yours??? Comment below and let me know!

But no matter the metrics, one thing is certain: Email is ON THE RISE, and there’s a graph that proves it, it’s science people, so it’s no wonder that most marketers still use email campaigns as a MAJOR way to nurture their audiences. It is one of the easiest ways to deploy, target, and track a marketing campaign… When done right, that is!

Of course, other factors come into play – like knowing your target audience, writing great subject lines, and providing valuable, relevant content. These are all crucial steps you need to consider in your email marketing efforts and that is why, my friends, I created this channel…

So, if you want to find out how to cover all those aspects of your marketing and more… Be sure to join my YouTube Channel and make sure you don’t miss out on any more copywriting tutorials from moi.

Alright – let’s get back to our list of 9 shocking email marketing facts, shall we…

Numero uno…

Fact 1: 24% of Subscribers Open Emails Based On The Preview Text

That’s right guys — it looks like a subject line alone might not do the trick to get your subscribers to click open.

Preview or preheader text is the 100 or so characters of an email’s content that you can directly see in your inbox, right after the subject line, without having to open the email. Often called the meta description, this is your chance to give your audience a sneak peek of what your email is about… Pre-click.

In a Litmus-Fluent survey, over 1300 American adults were asked what they looked at first when deciding whether to open an email… 42% said sender name, 34% said subject line… BUT an unexpected 24% said preview text! 

While the exact number of characters revealed depends on the device or email provider that your subscriber uses, trust me it is 10000% worthwhile to write a well-crafted meta description for your emails.

Many email marketing platforms provide a custom preview text field as a feature. If you opt not to include preview text, the default is usually the first sentence of the email, but if you’re not careful, sometimes this can be header text like an unsubscribe link. No bueno.

So when writing emails for my clients, I always include a 100-character or less meta description along with the email and subject line. 


Fact 2:  50% of All Searches Will Be Done Via Voice By 2020

You’ve heard me talk about this in my current marketing trends post, but what does this mean for email marketing? Lemme tell ya…

Basically, robots are taking over. And thanks to the rise of digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s — Google… People no longer like to read their emails. Because that’s… Like… Hard.

These days, many people prefer to have their emails read to them out loud.

“Hey Siri, could you please read me my latest email?” 

You don’t have to say please. That’s the Canadian in me. She’ll then recite the sender name, subject line, and, yes, often the preview text. I don’t know why I said she, my Siri is actually a British man. Like Jarvis from Iron Man, obvi. What’s yours? Lol. Did you even know you could change it?

Well, if you think this is mind-blowing, according to U.K.-based Juniper Research, there will be an estimated 8 billion digital voice assistants in use by 2023. 8 billion! That’s more voice assistants than people in the world. See I told you they are taking over. 

Moving right along… 

Fact 3: Interactive Emails Increase Engagement by 73%

No need to wait till the landing page to have all the fun! You can pre-game a little right inside your subscriber’s inbox to get them hyped up about the main event.

Science says that interactive emails increase CTR, that’s click-thru-rate by a massive 73%. 

So start thinking creatively about how you can get your subscribers’ attention or have them take some sort of micro-commitment right there in the email – more than just an obvious click on a button or sales page link.

Including slides, videos, accordions, collapsible menus, or animated GIFs can greatly encourage engagement in your emails.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to ask ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions – with each answer being a button directing to a different piece of content… Kinda like a “choose your own adventure” story!

Not only does this create engagement early on, but it provides a more relevant and personalized experience for your reader.

But again guys — don’t over do it. Always use good judgment and test well. Cramming a bunch of media in your email is not going to solve all your email woes. So always keep your content valuable, relevant and crystal clear. 

Fact 4: 69% of Email Recipients Report Emails as Spam Based Solely on the Subject Line.

Yeah, according to a report by Invesp, 69% of email recipients will mark an email as spam WITHOUT EVEN OPENING IT.

Ouch! Just plain mean, or well deserved? 

In another survey by OptinMonster, 54% of respondents reported that they have felt cheated, tricked, or deceived into opening a promotional email based on the subject line… yikes.

The truth is, the line between dodgy clickbait and genuine email marketing is becoming more blurry, as spammers get smarter with their messaging and marketers use more hypey or completely irrelevant subject lines in an attempt to stand out and get a click. 

This makes it difficult for subscribers to distinguish one from the other at first glance. Especially if they’ve had a bad experience in the past.

So, keep your subject lines simple and to the point, be personal and transparent and most of all BE RELEVANT…

You can also experiment with emojis. A study by Experian, a consumer reporting agency, found that email subject lines with an emoji increased open rates by 56%. Likely due to the personal feel they add to the message. 

To learn more about how to write killer subject lines, you can also read my copywriting tutorial on subject lines next. 

FACT 5: 21% Of Permission-Based Emails STILL End Up in the Junk Folder

Yeah, According to a 2015 Study by ReturnPath, only about 79% of sent by legitimate email marketers reach the inbox. And I’m guessing that number is far lower today.

So, on top of writing personal, transparent and relevant subject lines, you need to make sure your emails are squeaky clean when it comes to spam trigger words.

The criteria for spam are getting stricter and stricter and are based on a whole variety of rules – like formatting, image-to-text ratio, missing footer information, subject line, etc – the evaluation of all of this together in one email gives you an overall spam score. 

There are a lot of tools you can use to check spam score before sending an email, I like this one. The only issue for us copywriters is that most of these tools require an actual TEST email to be sent from a client’s email sender, which we don’t always have access to or a real-time feedback loop in place to see if our emails “pass the spam police”. So as a fail-safe, I like to keep a list of spam trigger words handy that I can reference as I write. There’s a great list from Hubspot here.

The great news is, with this simple but so-often-overlooked step added into your email writing process, you’re drastically increasing your chances of landing in the inbox and skyrocketing the results of your email campaigns. Which will make you look like a genius in the eyes of your clients. 

FACT 6: People SAY They Prefer HTML Emails, But Plain-Text Emails Perform Better

In a study done by Hubspot, 64% of respondents said they prefer HTML  image-based emails over plain text emails…

But, ironically, every single A/B test that followed showed that the emails with fewer HTML elements actually won.

They found that HTML emails received lower open rates than their plain-text counterparts.

This is probably due to one of the following reasons: 

  • HTML designs may seem prettier but can come across too commercial or busy, while plain text designs feel a little more personal.
  • Broken tags or images in a HTML not only look ugly in your inbox, but can be marked as spam but the email provider. 

I guess at the end of the day, nothing can beat old-school, plain-text email. Let’s face it, it’s the closest thing we can get to a romantic, hand-written letter these days. 

I’m not suggesting that you throw HTML out the window altogether…

But maybe test your audience to see what they like best, and make sure you also provide an optimized, plain-text version of your email as an option. 

FACT 7: Emails That Look Bad On Mobile Are Deleted In Three Seconds

According to Adestra, mobile devices now account for almost 60% of read emails worldwide (and I’ve seen reports with much higher numbers too). And if an email is not optimized for mobile viewing no matter how good the content is… in almost 70% of cases it’s likely to be deleted in under three seconds! That’s painful. 

But can you really blame them? I’d likely do the same if an email with too much text without breaks, or oversized images that bleed out of my phone frame, reaches me while I’m in a rush to clear my inbox.

Bottom line? ASSUME your audience is reading your emails on mobile. Get a responsive email template and test it. Make sure that any graphics or media you use will look presentable on a tiny screen.  

Campaign Monitor recommends including a call to action button instead of just relying on hyperlinks. Because links can be a little hard to tap on your mobile phone, especially if you’re have big thumbs. Leave me a comment below if you agree.

FACT 8: Personalized Subject Lines Have 50% Higher Open Rates.

I talk a lot about the importance of personalization in my copywriting trends post, and this only further drives that point home.

Maintaining a personal approach in your subject line, like addressing people by their first names, remembering their birthdays, or bringing up previous orders and campaign activity go a long way! 

It shows your subscribers that you’re taking the measure to customize their experience with you… Instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach to your marketing. It makes them feel special and IMPORTANT. 

If you want to test how good or bad your email subject line measures up to the rest of the market, you should check out this really cool and free tool called Send Check It

This subject line tester will compare your subject line to other emails sent by marketers like you.

Speaking of personalization and customization… This takes us to our last email marketing factoid…

FACT 9 : List Segmentation Increases Revenue By 760%

Ok, now this bit of trivia is not so trivial. 760% is a huge deal

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: gone are the days of relying on “batch-and-blast” email campaigns. The future of email marketing will rely on behavior-based emails.

A friend and mastermind member of mine emailed me the other day to ask about the “Ideal” length of an auto-responder email sequence. To which I said, there really is no perfect length for an automated campaign.

80% of your automated sales will come in the first few weeks after a subscriber opts in though, so while I don’t think it hurts to have a long AR, what’s more important is surveying, tagging and segmenting your subscribers to make sure you’re customizing user journeys and providing hyper-relevant behavior based content. 

So think: multiple parallel ARs, rather than one long one.

Segmented email marketing campaigns get almost 15% more email opens and 60% more clicks compared to non-segmented campaigns.

In fact, 78% of consumers say that personally relevant content is a determining factor in their decision to buy. And a lack of relevance in marketing messaging leads to a massive 83% decrease in engagement. 

Phew! There you have it! 9 shocking email marketing facts that will make you think twice before blasting your list. Please leave me a comment below if you found this post helpful!

And if you have an idea on a list post that I should do in the future, comment below and let me know!

Oh, and since you’re still here, I’ve got a little gift for you…

Here’s a link to my Email Marketing Cheatsheet, where I share the 7 must-have emails to build and monetize your list (with real-life examples straight from the Posse’s private vault)… go ahead and treat yourself.

Thanks for reading guys. I’ll see you next week with a brand new tutorial. Till then, Ciao for now!

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