With a lot of innovations such as videos, bots, interactive chat sessions, and artificial intelligence, the evolution of email marketing may look like a century-old technique. Do people still have the time to check their emails?

An average professional person in 2019, receives about 121 emails a day. Most of your prospects out there still use email as a means of professional communication.

Not every prospect of yours can be targeted with videos, what if the company they work for does not allow video streaming? The same way, what if your prospect does not want to give away information to a bot? But, every prospect out there has an email address. 

Here is an interesting fact curated by expanded ramblings, on an average of about 269B emails are sent in a day calculating to about 149,513 mails each minute.

So, is email marketing dead? The answer is no.

Email Marketing is the best strategy you need to implement to get a high return on investment for your business.

Quoting smart insights, “E-mail marketing is the evergreen channel and one among the top 3 most effective channels driving website visits leads and sales.”

Here are ways to generate a high ROI using e-mail marketing?

Identify your goals

Each campaign that you run might have a different goal and therefore might need a different set of audience. Finding your goal is a crucial step. Because everything that you do post this will round around your goal. If you do not choose this right, chances are high that the entire campaign might falter. 

Your campaign goal can be anything ranging from prospecting to improving brand awareness to educating customers/prospects on new features. Sometimes. It could even be a short survey on why prospects’ aren’t converting. This might help you and your sales team understand their mistakes and work for the betterment of the company. 

No matter what the campaign is about, you need to operate in a single version of the truth. Your entire team should be clear on what they are working towards.

Also Read: Want to bring in more business? These 7 tools will help you write the perfect email

They should know what metrics they should track and what is more important in the campaign to declare it a success or failure. Most campaigns might have a high open-rate, they need not necessarily have a high click rate. This could be because of two reasons. 

1. They found all the information that they needed on the email itself 

2. They did not find the information worthy enough to follow the trial

You need to build on this goal, again and again, to see what works for you. Although high click rates and open rates may seem like a beautiful metric to track, there is one thing that most marketers miss tracking and that is ROI.

ROI is important for any marketing activity that is carried out. If your campaign does not bring anything back to the company, how good is it? You need to find out which segment here generates ROI for your company.  

Build an email list

The most important thing that you need to focus here is that you need to build a list by getting consent from each and every prospect you are targeting. This means they must give you their email address. With GDPR in place, you also need to exercise this information carefully or you can end up being in great trouble.

Getting targets to submit their email to you is pretty easy. All that you need to do is offer them something in return. Nobody gives away anything for free. A little incentive can go a long way.

Here is how you can get prospects to give their email address to you:

Create a landing page, allow them to download some useful materials (Whitepaper, Tips, Free documents), and in return collect their contact details.

Get them to sign up for your newsletter, this way they also know what is happening in your company all the time.

Offer a free trial of your product.

Also Read: All you need to know about the basics of email marketing

Give away ebooks or white papers that might interest your prospects.

You need to exercise great caution in the phrase that asks for the targets’ email address. Simply mentioning “Click to get updates” or “Be updated on what is happening here” is not going to get your targets’ to give away their information. Make it enticing and interesting enough that they would want to come forward to know what is happening around.

Structure the campaign

You should understand that businesses and prospects receive a lot of emails in a day.

And, if they open your email they should have all the information that they need in it if they decide to take it forward. To do that, structuring plays an important role. 

Here is a sample from Airbnb:

It explains the process of completing your listing in Airbnb.

Your email should have a specific flow that will help your targets in quickly understanding what you are trying to say.

Structuring your content in paragraphs, using the right amount of colour and indent might look like a no brainer, but can go a long way if done correctly.

Follow up

Your targets have received the emails, what’s next?

You need to follow up with them constantly to make your campaign a success. You can choose to do this manually but for the ease of tracking it would be better to leverage on an automation tool.

Most email service providers these days give you the option of autoresponders. An autoresponder is nothing but a series of emails, focused on a particular topic, sent to customers in a particular interval. 

These emails are also called as follow up emails, colloquially. The sender, that is you, must prepare the list of customers and emails and feed it into your campaign manager. Then, you need to schedule the emails on a timely basis.

 Here is an example:

Day 1: Send mail #1

Day 3: If there is no reply, try connecting through other means such as Linkedin

Day 4: Send follow-up email for #1

Day 7: Try calling them 

Day 10: Send second follow-up email for #2

Going back, you need to know why you are running this campaign.

No marketer runs one for fun. You need to engage your customers to make sales. Which means the content that you create must add value to them. They should be lured into your content that they would want to try out your solution immediately.

That said, you need to do the trick of slowly transitioning from giving away incentives to actually selling the product. This needs to be subtle and powerful because if done wrong, this is where most prospects drop out. 

It is good to slowly start doing that from your second or third email. Sending Newsletters is a good start. It contains information about your product as well as content that will be useful for them. It is the right package of sending what they need and what you want them to see.  

There is no hard and fast rule on how you do this, Each business has a different requirement. You need to understand this and prepare your pitch accordingly.

Tracking metrics

We have come to the last and most important section of the blog. Return on Investment is the main reason why any company would run a campaign.

Let’s say you spend an average of about US$10 on a campaign, what would be your return on this? Rounds back to the goal of the campaign, but any return would mostly be getting customers to pay. 

To help in understanding this, there is something that you need to know about email analytics – open rate, click rate and unsubscribes. If you are using a campaign manager then the tool would by itself calculate this for you for every campaign sent.

Open rate 

Open rate is ideally the number of prospects who open your email. 

It is calculated using the following formula:

Number of Emails Read / Number of Delivered Emails ×100

If your open rates are low, then it means that something is wrong with the subject line or the time in which the email is sent. You need to look at working on it. 

Click rate

Click rate is nothing but the percentage of recipients who have clicked on one or more links in the email.

It is calculated using the following formula:

(Total clicks ÷ Total number of delivered emails) * 100

Example: 1000 total clicks ÷ 10,000 delivered emails * 100 = 10% click rate

If you have a low click rate then it means that your message has somewhere not reached your audience right. You need to look at reworking on your copy. 


This is the list of customers who have opened the email but have chosen to not receive any more emails from you. This could be due to a lot of reasons like the content that you send might not be of value to them, you contact them too frequently that they find you disturbing, they have subscribed to an alternate service, they are unhappy with your product etc.

In addition to these three metrics, there are a few others that would help you calculate the performance of your campaign and increase ROI.

Also Read: How engaged are different devices with emails?

Bounce rate

It is the total number of emails that did not reach the recipient’s inbox. Bounce rate is calculated using the formula:

(Total number of bounced emails ÷ Number of emails sent) * 100

There are 2 types of bounces, hard Bounce and soft bounce.

Soft Bounce is a temporary issue such as server problem, full inbox etc. Hard bounces happen when the email id is non-existent, invalid or closed. You need to remove these addresses from your list.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the most important metric that you need to factor in while calculating your ROI. It is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed the desired action.

This action could be anything such as filling out a form or purchasing a product.

Conversion Rate is calculated using the following formula:

(Total number of people who completed the action ÷ Total number of emails delivered) * 100

For example, if your goal is to get people to download an ebook. All the customers who have downloaded it from your email are said to be converted.

Overall ROI

Overall ROI is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the total spend. 

[(Amount made in additional sales made) – (Amount invested in the campaign) ÷ (Amount invested in the campaign)] * 100

Example: (US$1,000 in additional sales – US$100 invested in the campaign / US$100 invested in the campaign) * 100 =  900 per cent return on investment for the campaign

The Bottom Line

As Marketers take ROI seriously for email marketing. As a marketing channel, you should.

If you haven’t set up your SLA when it comes to email marketing, high time you do. 

If you have already, share how email marketing has increased your ROI in the comments section below. 

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Image Credit: Austin Distel