The importance of email marketing in 2020 and why you should care

Digital marketing strategies are used by just about every brand. But many strategists want to know how to squeeze the most from their digital marketing budget and deliver the highest return.

Over 56% of the global population has internet access—and just about everyone has an active email address. So the importance of email marketing (and digital marketing overall) is higher than ever.

If you’re a digital marketer, maybe you’re wondering how can you use email to reach your audience with relevant content at the right time. Or maybe you want to know how you can incorporate email into your digital marketing strategy to best complement other channels. Maybe you’re curious about what remarkable email marketing looks like in 2020.

We’ll go over all this and more to help you understand the value of email marketing in 2020 and which tools you have at your disposal to make it work for you.

Everyone uses email

By 2022, Radicati estimates that 4.25 billion email users will maintain 1.86 email accounts on average. As of 2019, 4.33 billion people have internet access worldwide and 3.93 billion use email.

It’s common for people—especially young people—to have two or more active email addresses. Many use one email for personal things (like social media and bills), one for mailing lists and brand promotions, and another for work or business.

An email address is required to do many things online, like signing up for Facebook or online banking, so just about everyone with internet access has a valid email address. 

Email is relatively easy to design and implement

Want to create eye-catching custom emails on a small business budget? When you sign up with a reputable email service provider like Emma, you’re able to do just that.

For small businesses, this is huge because you can create amazing email marketing campaigns on the same level as big-box brands with no knowledge of coding. 

Here’s how Emma’s drag-and-drop builder works.

Importance of email marketing for design and brandingSource: Emma

Once you finish your newsletter, announcement, or promotion design, you can save your templates to quickly throw together campaigns on the fly.

The importance of email marketing for tying all other strategies together

Email is one of the best ways to promote all your other marketing strategies because it gives you a direct line of communication with your audience.

Social media

Most email service providers have premade footers with social media icons for you to include links to your Facebook, Twitter, or other social pages. 

You can also set up your campaigns for easy social sharing. In other words, your subscribers can click a button, or copy and paste a URL, to share a campaign the same way they’d share a landing page.

Finally, you can embed user reviews, posts, and your own social feeds so your subscribers can connect with you wherever they hang out online.

Urban Outfitters put this visually pleasing email together to highlight their hottest posts (and products) according to their Instagram audience. Take note of the share buttons at the bottom of the email, too.

Importance of email marketing for social media integration

Source: Really Good Emails

Content marketing

Email is the perfect tool for promoting your best blog posts. 

77% of people prefer email for permission-based advertising. It’s easy to forget that social media is technically permission-based because it often doesn’t feel that way.

With email, people have voluntarily given you their email address, so you know they want to hear from you and read your blog content. 

Marketing Sherpa found that 19% of people unsubscribe from mailing lists when brands are constantly trying to sell them something. It’s actually in your benefit to prioritize blog posts, podcasts, tips, tutorials, videos, infographics, and other valuable content through email over promotional material.

You can make good use of your content with stunning newsletters and custom RSS feeds. U.S. Outdoor Store always includes a perfect ratio of interesting content and promotions in their email campaigns.

Importance of email marketing for content marketing

Source: Milled


People who follow your social pages won’t always see your posts unless you promote them (which could cost you)—so these are not the best places to advertise something like a webinar.

With email, however, your subscribers genuinely want to hear from you, so they’ll be more likely to respond favorably to your webinars.

Real-world events

Social media can be dicey when promoting events. You often need to share a lot of valuable information to get people to act, and the posts are shown out of context or out of order. 

With email, you can create an onboarding sequence for your events. It offers you the option to spend time explaining the attendees and the event’s goals. You can also easily embed links so readers can RSVP and add the event to their calendar. 

Taking control of your audience access and analytics

Email service providers don’t hold your audience hostage and make you pay to access analytics. You can easily learn about your subscribers and use that information to improve the performance of your future campaigns.

You’re also able to keep track of your most active and engaged subscribers, which will help you send retargeting campaigns—both through email and social media—so you’ll always know where to devote your marketing resources. Plus, you can identify patterns, trends, and possible new markets.

Importance of email marketing for audience analytics

Source: Emma

Capitalizing on ethical data collection

Email marketing is one of the most heavily scrutinized marketing methods in our post-GDPR world. At first, that thought might make marketers cringe. 

But it’s actually a good thing because it means brands must prioritize the privacy of subscribers over their own data collection. 78% of customers say they’re more likely to trust companies with their personal data if it’s used to personalize their experience through channels like email.

Since email gives you unrestricted access to your subscribers’ behavior, you can learn more about their interests and habits to create targeted campaigns. Personalization is important—even mandatory—going into 2020. 

To further personalize your emails, guide other digital marketing campaigns, and even plan future business decisions, send out surveys to your most loyal and active subscribers to collect quality data.

You’re not in control of the relationship—and that’s okay

More than 75% of people prefer email marketing because they’re in control of the relationship. For consumers, email is a refreshing break from intrusive social media ads. Why? Because if they see something they don’t like, they can simply unsubscribe. 

Plus, email is highly regulated through GDPR and anti-spam laws. This hopefully doesn’t scare you, because these are good things. 

People will always know exactly how and where you got their email address. Since you’re only collecting email addresses from people who choose to hear from you, you’ll never waste money on your campaigns.

Encourage your subscribers to take more control over the relationship

Marketers gain the trust of their subscribers when they encourage them to take control of their inbox.

How do you do this? Insert a link to a preference center at the bottom of all your email campaigns and prompt all new subscribers to fill out that page. 

According to Marketing Sherpa’s survey, 45% of people unsubscribe from mailing lists because they receive too many emails (either from a single brand or in general). Another 91% of people unsubscribe because they aren’t happy with the content—either the campaign is too promotional, generic, or uninteresting. 

A preference center lets your subscribers tell you exactly how often they want to be emailed and what type of content they want to be sent. Here’s an example of a preference center by Brooks Running.

Importance of email marketing preference centers

Source: Gmail

Stay at the forefront of automation and technology

Think the hottest marketing technology is only accessible to big brands with massive budgets? Not so. 

Email service providers give you access to cutting-edge automation features to create a human experience that 84% of customers say is the key to winning their business.

  • Segmentation

  • Customer journeys

  • Post-purchase communication

  • Re-engagement

  • A/B testing

Here’s an example of what a customer journey looks like.

Importance of email marketing in 2020 for creating customer journeys

Source: Emma

Wrap up

The importance of email marketing has only grown over the past few years. We’ve discussed a lot in this article, so here are a few things we hope you take away:

  • Almost everyone who has internet access has at least one active email address

  • Email makes it easy to integrate all of your digital marketing campaigns

  • Email marketing gives you the chance to build personal relationships with your audience

  • Your subscribers are in control of the relationship—and that’s a good thing

Looking to improve your email marketing strategy in 2020? Check out our ultimate step-by-step guide and boost your email marketing results.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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