Why Email Marketing still has the Best ROI in 2022


By Kathryn Mitchell

Email Marketing is still considered one of the most influential and dominating digital marketing methods (Paulo et al., 2022). In a transformational world, it has often been predicted that email would be the declining digital marketing technique used to communicate with customers. But time after time email is still empowering our customers (Hartemo, 2016) and will continue to do so. In this practical blog, I have provided you with some insights that may just change the way that you manage your email marketing.

In a study conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute, interviewing 200+ global marketing leaders, they found that email marketing regularly stands out for its versatility and flexibility to market almost any product in any industry (Ripton, 2022). Additionally, in 2020, email was found to bring an average of 35% ROI to businesses using it as a form of communication for their audience (Statista, 2020).

Average return-on-investment (ROI) of email marketing campaigns in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2016 to 2020 (Statista, 2020)

Since emerging, email marketing has been an early adopter of innovative digital capabilities. Automation introduced an efficient concept built of predefined rules, personalisation and trigger functionalities, that allowed marketers more time for productivity, avoiding reactive intervention (Mailchimp, 2021). It could be said though that success is based on effective usage. Econsultancy’s annual Email Marketing Industry Census suggests that whilst return on investment is most successful via email marketing, 33% of participants considered their automation skills as ineffective (Murphy, 2018).

In 2021, we saw an increase in marketers using emojis in email content and subject lines. This arguably soon became careless, forgetting the structured readability guidelines (Content Design London, 2020). Similarly, GIFs should be used in the right way to ensure clear context, short load time and expression of brand values (Mullen, 2022).  

These findings have shown that it may not be the type of digital marketing methods that you are using, but how you are using those opportunities. Here are 5 top tips to consider to stay competitive when creating an effective email marketing approach.

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1 Flexibility First

Stay nimble to the changes that take place. Digital marketing can be a test and development process, so ensure that within your planning, you allow for flexibility, moving with internal and external change. Marketing is heavily influenced by the events within the wider business operations, tune in to that and allow it to shape clarity in your messaging.

If you would benefit from a structure to support this, consider the use of SOSTAC (Smith, 2022) to encourage the strategic stages to be present within your planning.

2 The Customer Counts

Before you are tempted to click that send button, ask yourself, is my message answering the customer’s question? No digital marketing activity will be successful if you don’t first have a clear understanding of your target audience (Vaughan, 2022). Explore who you are trying to sell to, investigating their Wants, Needs, and Desires. You may even want to understand their values and what they deem as important when they are choosing to invest in a brand.

3 Objective Outlook

Remember the end game. What are you trying to achieve? If we do not know what we are trying to achieve, how will we know how to measure success? For tactical support in creating effective objectives, try the 5S model. Providing a systematic approach to setting objectives will ensure that success can be understood.

4 Adaptable Aesthetics

The big question here is, where is your customer consuming their digital content? Put yourself in their shoes and imagine them going about their everyday – what do you see? Based on trends, they are likely to be a part of the 67.1% of the global population accessing information on a mobile device (We Are Social, 2022). Your mobile marketing strategy has never been more important, so ensure that your chosen email platform allows for responsive design.

5 Rule, Review and Refine

Your final task is to be fluid. Understanding your email marketing effectiveness will ensure that you are aware of the success factors and techniques which are encouraging interaction from your audience. Build in regular AB testing, and review periods and ensure that you listen to your customers and refine your approach to suit their needs.


Content Design London, . (2020) Emojis, Readability Guidelines. Available at: https://readabilityguidelines.co.uk/images/emojis/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Hartemo, M. (2016) “Email marketing in the era of the empowered consumer,” Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 10(3), pp. 212–230. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/jrim-06-2015-0040.

Mailchimp, . (2021) What is email automation? A beginner’s guide, Mailchimp Marketing Library. Available at: https://mailchimp.com/en-gb/marketing-glossary/email-automation/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Mullen, A. (2022) Email marketing trends in 2022: Examining design, privacy and process, Econsultancy. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/email-marketing-trends-in-2022-examining-design-privacy-and-process/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Murphy, D. (2018) “Silver bullet or Millstone? A review of success factors for implementation of marketing automation,” Cogent Business & Management, 5(1), p. 1546416. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/23311975.2018.1546416.

Neil Patel, . (2021) A beginner’s guide to A/B testing: Email campaigns that convert, Neil Patel. Available at: https://neilpatel.com/blog/ab-testing-email-campaigns/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Paulo, M., Miguéis, V.L. and Pereira, I. (2022) “Leveraging email marketing: Using the subject line to anticipate the open rate,” Expert Systems with Applications, 207, p. 117974. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2022.117974.

Ripton, J. (2022) Why email marketing is still crucial in 2022, DigitalMarketer. Digital Marketer. Available at: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/email-marketing-in-2022/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Smith, P.R. (2022) SOSTAC® official site, PR Smith Marketing. Available at: https://prsmith.org/sostac/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Statista, S. (2020) Roi of e-mail marketing in the UK 2020, Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/283067/return-on-investment-roi-for-email-marketing-in-the-uk/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Vaughan, P. (2022) How to create detailed buyer personas for your business [free persona template], HubSpot Blog. HubSpot. Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-persona-research (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

We Are Social, . (2022) Digital 2022: Another Year of bumper growth, We Are Social UK. Available at: https://wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2022/01/digital-2022-another-year-of-bumper-growth-2/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).

Kat Mitchell teaches on undergraduate and post graduate courses in Digital Marketing and can be emailed Kathryn.Mitchell@staffs.ac.uk


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