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How to improve email marketing ROI: let’s get maximized!

Ask anyone who’s looked into it: email is among the most efficient marketing channels ever developed. Litmus places the global average ROI for email marketing programs somewhere between 37:1 and 42:1, which is an impressive number any way you slice it.

With numbers like that on offer, should brands and marketers bother investing time and effort into improving email marketing ROI right now?

Absolutely! But first, there are a few things you should know…


A shifting email marketing landscape

Between 2016 and 2019, North American email marketing open rates declined from 35.6% to 30.7% while average click rates dropped from 3.5% to 2.9%. But in 2020, email marketing rocketed back to the forefront of the digital marketing conversation.


Rapidly-evolving consumer behaviors driven by the COVID-19 pandemic have provided an ideal backdrop for the mighty email channel’s recent resurgence. The opportunity for brands and marketers to ride this wave of email marketing success all the way to stronger marketing ROI performance is very real.

Best of all, there are email marketing best practices you can implement RIGHT NOW to improve email marketing ROI in 2021.


Best practice: evolve your split testing strategy

Improving email marketing ROI starts with understanding what works – and what doesn’t – on your brand’s unique audience. Remember that you’re dealing with savvy modern digital consumers here. Their tastes and preferences can (and often do) change on a dime. Implementing an ongoing, rigorous split testing strategy is a crucial step toward improving email marketing ROI. Better still, it’s one that any email marketing team can take right now.

Not best practice: “set it and forget it” split testing

A/B split testing is old news. It has been for some time, as a matter of fact. The new news is that even if you implement a multivariate split testing strategy, it still might not move the email marketing ROI needle, unless you continue to monitor and optimize your results with every send.


Best practice: look to the data

Open rates matter. Learning who your subscribers are and how to engage them is the key to email marketing ROI success. Getting more of your subscribers to open your emails is the first step toward engaging them. Luckily, you’ve got mountains of data at your disposal to help you do just that. If your goal is to improve your email open rates (which it should be), email subject lines are a great place to start. Improving the email subject lines you’re using is the surest path to increasing your top-of-funnel traffic. This increased traffic almost invariably improves performance further down the email marketing sales funnel. Ignore the open rate insights your data has to offer at your own email marketing ROI peril.

Not best practice: relying on gut feel when writing subject lines

Think you know what subject line language works on your brand’s audience? You might be right. But then again, you might not be. As email marketing folks who’ve been tracking email subject line performance for dozens of brands for more than five years, we can confidently say that in an audience engagement competition between gut feel email subject lines and data-driven ones, data-driven subject line copy performs better in almost every case.


Best practice: get technological

Email marketing best practices are evolving rapidly, and it’s vital that every brand evolves its email marketing strategy along with them. Split testing your campaigns, sifting through your email marketing performance data for actionable insights, and optimizing future campaigns to maximize ROI performance both now and in the future is easier than you think. Advanced marketing technologies like artificial intelligence are being used by some of the world’s biggest brands to solve these problems and boost email marketing performance right now. If you’re serious about improving your email marketing ROI performance, you might want to consider doing the same.

Not best practice: sticking with what you know

The way consumers engage with email marketing is evolving rapidly, and so is the way brands use it. Martech solutions to real world email marketing problems are out there, and there’s a good chance your competitors are already using them. Don’t get left behind. Investigate your options.