No, this isn't another "email isn't dead" column. I'm tired of those, and you wouldn't be reading this column if you thought that email's day was done.
However, as an email marketer who labors in the trenches, many of you field questions or get pressured every day to channel your energy and marketing dollars out of email and into the latest hot social network or whatever other channel is generating the most buzz and noise that day.
You know email rocks, but you may have to prove it to everybody -- from clients, if you are an agency, to your fellow marketing team members, brand managers and C-suite executives, who are likely the farthest away from seeing email's impact on your organization's operations and bottom line.
To help you prepare for a client presentation, a budget meeting or even that serendipitous 15 seconds you might get in the elevator with your CEO, I put together a cheat sheet of statistics that can help you make the case that email is thriving and can be a valuable channel for your company.
Following are a few sample statistics and trends that will help you open the conversation (but you have to do more, which I explain below):
1. Both email users and active email accounts are projected to grow. The Radicati Group (2010) estimated the number of active email accounts to hit 3.8 billion and the number of email users to reach 2.46 billion by 2014. By comparison, Facebook has approximately 1 billion users.
2. Email is still the most popular activity online; globally, 85% of people use the Internet to check email, while 61% use it for social media (Ipsos, 2012).
3. Consumers are taking email with them across platforms. Checking email is the No. 1 activity on mobile phones (Pew, 2011) and No. 2 on tablets, after Web browsing (IDG, 2011).
4. While the ROI for email has declined over the years, it's still higher than all other channels, at $28.50 (DMA, 2012).
5. U.S. mobile Internet users spent 41.6% of their time on email (Nielsen, 2012).
6. The average click-through rate on marketing emails is roughly 5% (Silverpop), compared to .08% on banner ads and .14% on rich-media banners (Adweek, 2011).
7. Trend: The industry continues to invest in email, whether through revamped or new email services (AOL's Project Phoenix and Microsoft's launch of Outlook.com) or as email service providers move from private funding to public stock sales.
Now, Show 'Em What Email Can Do
This email statistics cheat sheet is just your opening salvo when building a successful case for email. It's up to you, and only you, to change the conversation about email from "Why?" to "How" by focusing on what email can do for your organization, your clients or your customers.
Your audience will dictate how you frame the conversation. Suppose you want to coax your management into giving you money and IT time to upgrade your basic batch-and-blast program to a complex engine that incorporates behavior and preferences for precision-targeted messaging.
Talking about opens and clicks will probably get you a blank stare instead of a green light to start taking your program to the next level. But linking email’s value to reducing calls to your call center, increased traffic to stores, direct revenue, greater feature adoption, and less customer churn will more likely get their attention.
(My earlier column, "Are You Using Email To Help Other Departments Achieve Their Goals?," can give you other ideas for showing how email can add value throughout your organization by solving problems or improving processes for other departments.)
What Statistics Have I Left Off?
I know I haven't provided all of the statistics in this column to help make the case for email. What numbers and arguments have you used to make the case for email in your organization?
Post your comments below, and I'll use them to create a SlideShare presentation you can use the next time you get push back in your organization.
Until next time, take it up a notch!