Email Marketing

Email Marketing Drives Conversions in Other Channels

Email marketing has stood the test of time as an effective and cost-efficient marketing vehicle. But it’s more than a stand-alone tactic.

In this post, I’ll look at four ways email encourages conversions in other media channels.


Most email opens and clicks occur on mobile devices. The combination of the “From” line, subject line, and preheader increases brand recognition. And that branding can drive performance on other channels.

I’ve seen recipients respond to an offer without opening the email! Thus the presence of a brand in a subscriber’s mobile inbox can drive conversions without email receiving the attribution

Screenshot of an unopened marketing email on a mobile device.

An unopened email on mobile is a form of branding via the From line (“Company ABC”), subject line (This Weekend Only — 50% off in-store”), and pre-header (“Head into 123 Main Street…”).

Direct Mail

Direct (physical) mail is booming owing to iOS privacy changes reducing the performance of online ads. Response rates to direct mail have been stable for many marketers. But even a modest lift can produce new customers.

A carefully timed email — to arrive just before a physical mailer — can help. In tests with clients, I’ve seen an average increase in combined response rates of at least 20% when email and direct mail are paired versus receiving one or the other.

Hence a “warm the door” email message, followed by a direct mail piece, and then a final email reminder, has been the most effective combination of the two vehicles.

Social Media

Predicting a buyer’s channel preference is difficult. A customer who frequently purchases via email could have clicked an Instagram ad for the same offer. Or the buyer may have initially seen the offer on email, then on a paid search listing, and finally in an ad on her Facebook feed, which she clicked and purchased the product.

In other words, the modern purchase journey consists of multiple touches and channels.

Through testing, I have seen clicks and conversions from display ads and social media posts increase up to 70% when combined with email messages to the same audience.

In-store Purchases

It may not seem intuitive, but email can encourage shopping at a physical location.

For example, this email from The Bakerista, a cake shop, offers 25% off recipients’ next order or “an extra cupcake for every one you buy” in-store.

Screenshot of a marketing email from a cake shop, offering incentives to visit in-store.

This “We miss you” email offers online and offline incentives to encourage repeat customers.

Testing Is Key

The fragmented digital landscape combined with “always on” mobile consumers complicates attribution. But email almost always plays a role, even if not recognized.

When using email to boost other channels, create multiple control groups to measure lift.

For example, one-third of an audience could receive only display ads, one-third only email, and the final third gets both. This tactic will establish baseline response metrics and overall lift when combining channels.


Carolyn Nye
Carolyn Nye
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