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Why Email Marketing Wins in a Struggling Global Economy

When the economy takes a turn for the worse, uncertainty abounds. Yet, although the world seems to be heading for difficult and uncertain times, we’re certain about one thing: Even a global recession won’t kill email marketing.

Honestly, we’d probably say that no matter what. This time, however, we’ve also got some research to back us up.

Sinch Mailjet recently released a report that includes survey responses from email senders around the world. You can find all of the results when you download “Email in an evolving economy”. Here’s a look at some key takeaways showing the importance of email and how it’s being used to its fullest in the face of economic uncertainty.

Email delivers high ROI during a recession

One of the most eye-opening results of the survey involved the many communication channels brands and marketers have to work with. When asked to choose the three channels that would deliver the best return on investment (ROI) during a recession, Email marketing came out on top.

Chart of top marketing channels for ROI
Stats from "Email in an evolving economy" report

Among all survey respondents, nearly 42% chose Email marketing as a channel that provides a good return when the economy struggles. When examining only responses from people who work in marketing, nearly 60% selected email.

It pays to use email for a lot of reasons:

  • Email is a channel that lets you communicate with customers and prospects directly.
  • You’re marketing to subscribers who are already familiar with your brand.
  • You don’t have to pay to reach email subscribers because you own your list.
  • Email drives web traffic, lead nurturing strategies, sales, and revenue.

Nearly 60% of marketers surveyed believe email marketing delivers high ROI - even during a global recession.

"Email in an evolving economy"

Digital advertising (41%) was less than a percentage point behind Email marketing on the list of channels for the best ROI. However, digital ads typically target new business, which may be harder to come by during a recession. Plus, studies show it’s much easier to convert customers, and email is the perfect channel for doing just that.

When asked which channels could be cut if we experience a recession in 2023, Digital advertising (26%) landed at number two on that list as well. It was only surpassed by Traditional advertising (41.5%)

A recession does not mean email marketing cuts

In Mailjet’s survey, Event marketing (23%) joined traditional and digital ads to round out the three channels most likely to see cuts during a global recession in 2023. Email landed much further down the list. Less than 13% of respondents think it’s possible there will be cuts to email marketing in the next year.

In fact, when survey participants were asked about plans for investing in email during the next 12 months, a combined 90% said they planned to either invest more in email or maintain their current investment in the channel.

Stats from "Email in an evolving economy" report

Less than 10% of respondents indicated they had plans to cut back on email in 2023. That’s probably because email is such an irreplaceable part of most brands’ marketing strategies. Not to mention, many companies use email to communicate with customers every day.

The “Email in an evolving economy” report states that about 30% of senders plan to increase their email volume (number of messages) and cadence (frequency of sends) in the next year while another 60% don’t expect any changes. Plus, the survey found that those with the least successful digital communication strategies were the most likely to expect cuts to email in the next year.

90% of survey respondents plan to increase or maintain the time, resources, and budget dedicated to email marketing.

"Email in an evolving economy"

Top three email practices during a recession

So, email is a powerful communication tool, even when the economy is struggling. But what is it that makes email marketing work so well?

Mailjet asked survey respondents to pick up to three email practices that would contribute to success in the coming year. Here are their top choices:

  1. Personalization (39.1%)
  2. List building (37.3%)
  3. List cleaning (29.1%)
Stats from "Email in an evolving economy" report

Newsletters/content distribution (29%) gets an honorable mention after falling just behind List building in the third spot.

Personalization is one of the best ways for marketers to improve a subscriber’s inbox experience and an organization’s email strategy. As you send more personal, relevant campaigns to subscribers they’ll get more value from your emails and become more engaged. As engagement increases, so will conversion rates and average order values (AOVs).

Personalization also supports improved customer loyalty. And the survey found that Improving customer loyalty (41%) is one of the top opportunities for email marketing during a recession.

List cleaning is one of the most important tasks connected to email deliverability. Good list hygiene makes your email program more efficient while protecting your reputation with mailbox providers, which keeps you out of spam.

You can get help keeping your list clean with Email Validation from Mailgun Optimize. With this feature, you can verify email addresses in bulk or validate them in real-time – at the point of signup.

41% of survey respondents say improving customer loyalty is one of the top three opportunities during a recession.

"Email in an evolving economy"

Are you investing in email?

If you’re still not convinced that email can help your organization survive and thrive in an economic downturn, you’ve got to download the full report. See all the details for yourself. Head over to Mailjet to get your free copy of “Email in an evolving economy”.

If email is already a major part of your marketing and communication strategy, then you need to protect that investment.

One way to do that is to optimize every campaign through quality assurance (QA) checks that are built into the email production process. It is Email on Acid’s mission to help you put your best email forward. We do that with a unique QA workflow that includes unlimited email previews on 90+ clients on devices.

Of course, even when emails render perfectly on every client, you still need to make sure your campaign reaches the inbox. That’s where Mailgun Optimize comes in. It’s a complete suite for managing, monitoring, and improving email deliverability.

Make sure you have the email marketing tools and partners you need to help you survive a recession.

If you’re interested in hearing more about why you can’t kill email, be sure to check out the podcast Email’s not Dead from our friends at Sinch Mailgun. Mailgun has also published a special edition of this report, “Email in an evolving economy: The tech perspective”, which focuses on responses from the IT and Engineering communities.

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