Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here.

Unsurprisingly, certain types of emails are more effective than others when it comes to generating sales. But which are the ones that work?

It sure makes sense to stay on top of email marketing stats these days. When you know which trends are getting results, you can implement them into your own campaigns. Cue the ringing of the cash register.

Each year The Direct Marketing Association release a report on email strategy. This year’s weighty installment – 33 pages – is hot off the press. It’s based on the results of an in-depth survey in which 73 businesses from a range of industries – both B2B and B2C were asked about their best marketing strategies, results, and ROI.

Luckily for you, we have summarized the main findings.

Before we start…

It’s important to remember that the thrust of The DMA’s report is to find out which email strategies – the type of emails being sent – are most successful. The design, layout, and copy of your email marketing can have a huge impact on clickthrough rates, but they are not the focus of this post.

Okay, let’s go.

Email offers jaw-dropping ROI

Email has an average ROI of £38 for every £1 spent. Pretty compelling, hey? This is up on the £24.93 average revealed in the previous year’s report. It suggests one of the three things:

  • email marketers are becoming savvier;
  • consumers are getting more accustomed to buying online;
  • a combination of the two.

Targeted emails get results

According to the survey respondents, the emails that are generating the most sales are those that target specific list segments – driving 36% of email marketing revenue. This parallels one of the fundamental rules of marketing. The more you know about your audience, the better you can create a message that resonates. All contacts on your email list are not the same (and why their differences matter).

Data degradation gives marketers the jitters

Given the new focus on personalization, it’s not surprising that data degradation is viewed as the fastest-growing barrier to success with email marketing. The more you know about your subscribers the better – and that means having data that is up to date.

Returns from unsegmented emails are falling

Just to hammer home the message about targeted, personalized emails winning the day, it’s worth noting that unsegmented emails sent to all subscribers account for just 14% of revenue, down from 23% last year. Unsegmented emails have their use, but when it comes to driving revenue it might be best to avoid them.

Big growth in revenue from email automation

Marketers are increasingly generating returns from pre-formatted emails that are sent automatically based on certain triggers. (E.g. think about the emails you receive after registering with a website.) 18% of revenue came from activity-triggered emails (up from 11% last year), while 12% of revenue was generated from lifecycle-triggered emails (up from 6% the previous year).

You’re not alone in thinking email marketing is important

When asked about the strategic importance of email marketing, nine out ten respondents stated that it was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’.

What does it all mean?

There are three conclusions to draw from The DMA’s report:

  • List segmentation and targeted emails are driving the most revenue from email marketing.
  • Data degradation is a fear, meaning marketers need a neat facility for keeping subscriber data relevant and up to date.
  • Automated emails sent after certain triggers are growing in popularity and driving more revenue than in previous years.

Combine that with the strategic importance of email marketing and it’s clear that small businesses would do well to implement email automation software. Constant Contact’s online service makes it easy to gather relevant data on your subscribers, send targeted campaigns to segments of your subscriber list and create automated campaigns. Oh and every statistic worth knowing about is tracked, so you can improve your performance each time you send a campaign.

Want to reach more customers, increase loyalty and do more business? Check out our guide to email marketing here.