7 questions I’m always asked about email marketing

Posted by: Stafford Sumner


I’ve been helping businesses make money through email marketing since 2003.

The industry today is unrecognisable to how it was back then. Things like automated email journeys, dynamic content, behavioural driven emails and animated emails were just a distant dream back then and now they are part and parcel of our everyday work.

But there are certain questions I was asked back then that I’m still asked today. The seven questions below are the ones I hear the most often from the most people.

They are…

1. What results will I see?

This is always one of the first questions and a perfectly legitimate one. Any business owner or marketing manager will want to know what results they are going to get. Of course, every case is different, but typically we’ll be targeting higher conversions which aren’t necessarily linked to higher open rates or click through rates, but instead driven by putting the right message in front of the right people. This too will vary from sector to sector, company to company and product to product, so we can never give a definitive answer. The key is to ensure the product and the price are right, next is to ascertain whether email is a viable channel and then, once you’ve made the decision to use it, to make sure your offering is the same as your digital channels so you can make a fair comparison as to which delivers better results.

2. Is it worth my investment?

A study last year from VentureBeat found that for every $1 USD spent on email marketing, $38 USD were generated. So is it worth your investment? Absolutely, providing you do it right. There are thousands of poor email campaigns sent every day, campaigns with sloppy execution, poor messaging and weak calls to action. Whether you’re investing time, money, energy or a combination of the three, make sure your emails are worth sending and they inspire the recipient to act. Here’s a great checklist to get you heading in the right direction.

3. How do I grow my list?

Again, one of the very first questions we get. Firstly, size doesn’t always matter. It’s not the quantity of data you have which will influence the success of your email campaigns but the quality of it. That being said, there are a number of easy ways to capture quality data, from affinity marketing and competitions to simply giving people a great reason to part with their email address. You can find some good advice on how to collect high quality data here.

4. When’s the best time to send?

When people are a little further along the line a really common question we’re asked is ‘What day and time should we send the email?’ The answer is it differs from industry and industry. One place to start is by looking at your Google Analytics and identifying when your key customers are online and engaging with the site naturally. Aim to send at a time when they are online and potentially more receptive. You can also run A/B split test on the time of send to see which generates the most conversions.

5. How do I measure its success?

Email is such a great marketing channel to use because it’s so easy to measure performance. Alongside the standard metrics, like open and click through rates, It’s easy to link your emails to Google Analytics and then measure how the visitors to your site from email behave in comparison to other traffic sources. If you sell products through your website and have ecommerce tracking enabled you can even go as far as seeing how much revenue each email campaign has generated for you. You should also be looking at whether your emails are being viewed on desktop or mobile in order to inform your design decisions.

6. What’s a good open rate?

There’s a tendency for people to get hung up on open rates and click through rates. While they are good indicators for certain things (like how well a subject line is working) the key metric to measure is conversions. My advice here is to measure the trend and if you notice anything out of the ordinary, like a lower open rate than usual, then analyse why this is the case. Everything from the time of send to the subject line will influence your open rates will click-throughs will be dependent on how compelling your content is and how strong your calls to actions are.

7. Can’t I just do it myself?

Of course you can. There are any number of platforms out there that you can send emails from. But can you do it well? Will your email look good? Will it work across all devices? Will you have a great strategy in place? Will you manage your data well? Will the email increase your conversions? It’s a bit like DIY, just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should and, if you want the best, it pays to bring the professionals in. But if you do opt to do it yourself, do as much research as you can and follow the best practice guidelines. For tips on how to do this you can subscribe to our email newsletter in the footer of this page.

This is just a taster of the questions I’m asked, if you’d like more details or you’ve got something you’re dying to know the answer to I’d be more than help. You can contact me here or leave a comment on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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About the author

Stafford Sumner

An expert in developing businesses through data-driven marketing, Stafford founded Jarrang in 2003. “I’ve worked with many organisations, helping them grow while enabling them to fundamentally shift the way they operate their sales and marketing processes for the better.”