The Ins and Outs of Email Marketing in 2021

This article expounds on the benefits that email marketing provides to businesses in 2021 and the types of emails that are commonly used to engage with customers, prospects, and subscribers.

Although many marketing professionals believe email is losing its value as a form of communication, 80% of Americans check their email at least once per day in 2021. As a result, email marketing is the most profitable channel of direct marketing with an average return on investment of $38 for every $1 spent. Effective at every stage of the buying process, email marketing can influence someone to choose your product, nurture the customer relationship post-transaction, and also encourage future purchases. Thus, the use of email to inform, promote products or services, drive sales, and build a community around your brand is a crucial component to any business’ marketing strategy. 

Benefits of Email Marketing

Rather than focusing on a one-size-fits-all mass mailings, modern email marketing emphasizes consent, segmentation, and personalization. This presents the opportunity to connect with people of all ages, ethnicities, demographics, etc. who are interested in your products and/or services. By opting-in to receive a business’ emails, they express their desire to know more about the business, offering the chance to maintain loyal customers as well as acquire new ones. 

Essentially, the benefits of email marketing can be summed up into nine individual components:

The nine core benefits of email marketing in 2021.

1. Conversions

Much like the other forms of marketing, the ultimate goal of email marketing is to convert efforts into sales. The conversion rate of email marketing supersedes expectations in that roughly one in three U.S. retail email list subscribers have purchased something from the brand whose emails they receive. Subsequently, email generates around $37 billion retail sales annually.

A large contribution is the opportunity for impulse buying which email marketing presents. Customers are easily tempted to act on impulse if an email features items that are often purchased alongside the products the customer bought, lists similar items to the customer’s past purchases, or creates a special offer or discount for future purchases.

The inclusion of relevant promotions in particular entices a customer to make a following purchase, considering 42.3% of Americans subscribe to email lists to receive savings and discounts. New promotions provide a call-to-action for customers to click on the links and partake in a purchase immediately before the promotion ends, further increasing the conversion rate. 

2. Brand Awareness

Email acts as a direct, one-to-one communication between a business and their customers. Sending an email directly into someone’s inbox diminishes the probability of being ignored or scrolled past, such as in social media. As a result, a brand is more likely to stay prevalent in someone’s mind, reminding them why they were originally attracted to the brand and that they should purchase from them again soon. Moreover, the opportunity to personalize the marketing email received to the recipient leaves a more impactful response as opposed to a general posting on social media. 

3. Develop Own Unique Brand

Because email provides a direct line of communication from a business to the inboxes of existing or potential customers, such allows for the creation of a personalized and unique brand. The opportunity to establish a distinctive voice, style, and image for your email list subscribers increases the potential for recipients to recognize the brand as well as share it with others. 

4. Build Credibility

Staying in contact with customers and keeping them up to date not only keeps a brand prevalent on a customer’s mind but also grows their familiarity with the brand. The more customers become familiar and learn about a business, the more they will trust the brand. Cultivating a strong foundation of trust between your brand and the recipients will result in the creation of a relationship with your customer that will continue to grow over time. 

5. Building Strong Customer Relationships

Building strong relationships with your customers is greatly beneficial. With a click of a button, customers are able to easily share the content of the email received. In doing so, they are increasing a business’ brand awareness, building their reputation through word-of-mouth or viral marketing, helping influence new customers to become followers of the brand, and building a community amongst the customers themselves. Strong relationships with customers further increases brand loyalty and the potential for future purchases.  

6. Targeted and Personalized Content

In addition to large audiences, email marketing can be used to reach smaller targeted lists. By segmenting customers into different lists based on their preferences, this allows for a business to adjust their message into highly personalized and more impactful content. Doing so keeps emails consistently engaging with each individualized customer. 

7. Easily Measurable

The majority of email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp, offer built-in analytics to provide insights on the results of whichever email has been sent. Information such as how often your emails were opened and by whom, who clicked links in the email, how many emails “bounced” or did not reach a user, and who unsubscribed will be available. Moreover, it is easy to test different copy, subject lines and designs to see which is most effective. Such allows you to enhance future email campaigns. 

8. Real-Time Marketing

As a means of direct communication, email marketing allows a business to connect with customers in real-time. Through the use of triggered emails, such as website activity, recent purchase, or shopping cart abandonment, you are able to target and reach the proper audience at the right time with an offer they simply cannot refuse. Conversions rates grow as well as brand prevalence and relationships with the customer. 

9. Efficient with Time and Budget

The process of creating an email campaign to send is not difficult in the slightest. It is time conservative and easy to use, especially on an email marketing platform. Email marketing is budget-friendly as well with no advertising fees, printing, or media space costs. 

Engaging in email marketing is especially easy with the assistance of our experts. SpeakClear provides an email marketing service through email and contact list management as well as professional template designs and execution of all email campaigns and newsletters. Contact us to learn more.

Types of Marketing Emails

Having decided to engage in email marketing after reflecting on the benefits, the question remains as to what sort of emails are to be sent? The types of emails used for marketing include:

This image shows the different types of emails that businesses use to engage with their online audiences in 2021.

Welcome Emails

Rather than diving straight into a sales pitch after someone initially signs up for the mailing list, welcome emails allow for a focus on good first impressions. First impressions can demonstrate industry knowledge and expertise, which will beneficially guide future communication with the customer.

Offering a personal touch in welcome emails as opposed to an immediate sales pitch reflect higher open and click-through rates than standard marketing emails. Introducing the business and its brand, inviting customers to follow social media accounts, and getting to know them by asking their birthday, their email preferences, how they found you, etc. make a customer feel like they can trust the brand more. In fact, subscribers who read an initial welcome email will read 40 percent more content from a sender over the subsequent 180 days. 

When initially subscribing to an email, only around a fourth are immediately sales-ready whereas a half are not ready to buy just yet. Thus, it is important to nurture customers in order to drive them closer to the buying stage.  


Newsletters are regularly sent emails, typically weekly or monthly, and an excellent nurturing technique. Their consistency keeps the brand on top of the recipients’ minds and continuously presents opportunities for engagement. By educating customers and prospects about your business (such as company news and events, product announcements and feedback requests) as well as showcasing employee profiles, company passion projects, and relevant graphics, newsletters build brand awareness and create anticipation in readers.

They are easy to create as they typically contain information already published elsewhere. For example, many companies include summaries of their most recent or popular blog posts, which further brings subscribers back to the company website and engages them with more company content. Moreover, newsletters offer an opportunity to include all different types of content which is important to the business in a single email. This prevents the possibility of overwhelming subscribers with too many emails in their inbox at once. 

Dedicated or Stand-Alone Emails

Emails that are dedicated or stand-alone contain information about only one offer at a time. With only one message and one goal, they are able to intently concentrate on driving results for the main call-to-action. 

Lead Nurturing Emails

Lead nurturing emails are a tightly connected series of emails with a coherent purpose and full of useful content. They are designed to influence decision-making, such as by offering discounts to add more incentive for making a purchase. Each series is targeted and tied to a specific action performed by a customer. After the activity has occurred on the website, lead nurturing emails follow-up to show the customer’s interests are known and to share what they might need next. 

Standard Promotional Campaigns

Standard promotional campaigns are the most common emails sent in a marketing campaign. In addition to being the most common, they are generally the most desired as about 60% of consumers subscribe to a brand’s list to get promotional messages and deals. The key is coming up with a way to make your traditional email promotion stand out from the plethora of other emails a customer receives. For example, provoking emotion, adding humor, incorporating lines from popular music, books, or television shows, using color, images, or fonts that grab attention, or giving a free product all draw in a customer more than a typical strict and straight-to-the-point promotional email. 

Seasonal Campaigns

Holiday sales account for 20% of all retail sales, amounting to more than $84 billion in the United States alone. Incorporating a seasonal campaign within your email marketing technique adds another enticing element contributing to your overall conversion rate. Some of the best methods for an effective seasonal campaign include starting early to guarantee being the first to reach their inbox and not get lost in the sea of other holiday emails received, offering an exclusive discount strictly for the holiday, or using urgency in the emails. 

Triggered Emails

As opposed to a one-size-fits-all mass promotional campaigns, over 75% of email revenue is generated through triggered campaigns. Triggered emails are automated emails sent after a subscriber performs a specific action or acts in a particular behavioral pattern. They enhance the customer experience, improve customer loyalty, increase revenue, and save time in comparison to traditional marketing emails.  The five key types of triggered emails are: abandonment, product catalog, product recommendation, post-purchase, and reminder emails. 

This image shows the five types of triggered email campaigns that businesses can use for marketing purposes in 2021.

Abandonment triggered emails are automatically sent to subscribers who have acted in a manner of abandoning a category browsed or a product in their cart. These are especially beneficial in that 60% of shoppers returned to complete their purchase after receiving a personalized abandoned cart email, and around 75% of shoppers planned to come back later. 

Product catalog emails are triggered by changes to a brand’s catalog data, such as new arrivals, price increase/ decrease, low inventory, or back in stock. Not only do these engage shoppers, but these also tempt them into making a purchase.

Recommendation emails, typically based on a customer’s wishlist or cross-sell, automatically send with the intent to inspire customers to purchase products not yet discovered or considered, thus, encouraging additional sales. 

Post-purchase emails automatically follow a customer’s purchase in order to confirm their purchase, solicit feedback on their experience or reviews of their product, recommend related products for purchase, or share their purchase on social media.

Reminder emails are triggered by calendar dates which indicate a birthday, anniversary, or time to replenish a product ordered on a regular basis. These keep the brand on the top of a customer’s mind in between purchases. 

Re-Engagement Emails

Sent in a sequence of three or more emails following 30-60 days after a subscriber becomes inactive, re-engagement emails focus more on the pursuit of winning back subscribers who have fallen inactive rather than attempting to increase their subscriber list. Maintaining an existing customer is 5 times cheaper than acquiring a new customer. Thus, attempting to re-engage with inactive subscribers benefits the business more than trying to replace them. The majority of subscribers who have fallen inactive are due to receiving too many emails, repetitive or irrelevant content, or they only signed up for a one-time offer. It is important to be wary of these reasons while crafting the re-engagement emails. 

Final Thoughts

Used to inform, promote products or services, drive sales, and build a community around your brand, email marketing is the most profitable channel of direct marketing. It proves to be effective at any stage of the buying process. The benefits are bountiful and the options of how to partake are numerous. The question is not a matter of whether or not you should partake in practicing email marketing, but why have you not already begun? For further guidance or assistance, contact us.