7 Email Marketing Fun Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know

Melanie Balke
March 19, 2024

I’ll start by saying this isn’t my usual fare. This isn’t a listicle site, and I’m not in the business of running trivia tournaments. However, email marketing is my passion. I love it when others learn about this remarkable marketing channel; its little quirks are as important as its financial benefits.

So, today’s blog post is special!

Today, I’m dedicating an entire post to the most intriguing facts about email marketing.

1. Email Marketing Is Remarkably Effective

A cityscape. "Effectiveness: Email Marketing Is Super Effective."

I’ll start with some email marketing statistics.

Email marketing’s effectiveness is unrivaled. Users have reported up to 4,400% ROIs; even conservative estimates suggest the channel has an average ROI of 3,600%.

Just think about it. There are billions of email users worldwide. They’re all attached to an easy-to-access mobile device, through which they can also easily purchase goods. People are always looking for business communications and paying attention to inboxes. Why, then, wouldn’t you take advantage of this marketing strategy?

Online sales are growing, and email marketing is the fastest way to a digital buyer’s heart.

Of course, email usage statistics aren’t exactly “fun” for everyone. Don’t worry! I have a nice mix of facts to keep everyone entertained.

2. The First Marketing Email Was Sent in 1978

Let me set the stage.

Almost half a century ago, the world was much different. There was no formal internet; its closest relative was the government-backed educational Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET).

Look at that momentous year from its first day. In March, Charlie Chaplain’s remains will go missing, only to be found a few months later. Dallas will premier in April, and it will be another two years before the infamous “Who Killed J. R.” fiasco. In November, Ireland will unveil its second television channel. (Yes, there was only one channel until the late 1970s.)

The text of the first marketing email. Gary Thuerk's message advertises DEC equipment demonstrations on May 9 and May 11, 1978.

In far fewer words, the world was different. Yet, on May 3, 1978, Gary Thuerk used ARPANET to send the world’s first marketing email. The correspondence reached approximately 400 cold contacts and generated an astonishing $13 million (around $59 million today) in sales for Digital Equipment Company. (The 1970s weren’t a great year for creative company names.)

Needless to say, this email marketing campaign wasn’t as advanced as modern equivalents. Thuerk was blissfully unaware of the need to optimize for mobile devices. He had no advanced automation software. There were no links or social media tie-ins. At best, his email marketing strategy could be summarized as “try and find out.”

Yet, from those humble beginnings, modern email marketing was born!

3. “Spam” Began as a Joke

A pickleball paddle. "Spam History: Spam Began as a Humorous Glitch."

Nearly two decades later, in 1993, the world saw its first use of the word “spam.”

However, it didn’t describe an email. Rather humorously, it referred to one unfortunate man’s glaring mistake! In April that year, a well-intentioned newsgroup administrator tried to automate moderation on the internet’s precursor, USENET.

Unfortunately for this man, one Richard Depew, he instead posted the same message 200 times! Amused USENET regulars then coined the term as a reference to the famed Monty Python sketch. (Specifically, the one where everything has SPAM in it.)

4. The Rise of Email Spam

A marijuana leaf. "The Dark Ages: The Problematic Email Marketing Campaigns of the 1990s."

However, the joke quickly became a real problem.

By the 1990s, home computer access had made email usage a household convenience. Those email recipients quickly became targets for real spam. Inboxes weren’t filled with humorous coding errors; instead, unscrupulous users swiftly jammed the family inbox with unsolicited promotional email content and — more concerningly — pornographic material.

Now, there were pricey commercial solutions to the problem. Though initially a free service, the MAPS (Mail Abuse Prevention System) DNS-based blacklist began charging users usage fees in 2001. But how many family email users could afford that?

Increasing amounts of unsolicited content marketing and email newsletters ultimately led to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and inspired subsequent nations’ anti-spam legislation.

5. Email Marketing Statistics Are Amazing

Various printing press blocks. "Performance: Email Marketing is Still Effective."

Okay, so, maybe you’re not a history fan.

That’s okay! I still have some facts left.

Maybe you don’t care about the specifics of email marketing’s global audience. But everyone cares about cash!

Today, email marketing has the potential to increase business revenue by 760%.

Much of that income is rooted in the marketing channel’s appeal. Despite the proliferation of social media, email marketing remains the dominant profit driver. Email users spend 138% more when driven by email marketing campaigns.

It makes sense, too.

Unlike paid search visitors or social media followers, your subscribers are dedicated to your brand. Those weekly promotional emails have become a facet of their life, and they enjoy your content. Thus, your automated emails are more likely to reach the perfect audience.

6. Focus on Mobile Device Compatibility

An email inbox phone app. "Mobile Use: Modern Consumers Are Going Mobile."

There’s a catch, though.

You can’t send random email campaigns. You need to plan and learn the market, and the digital marketplace is becoming increasingly mobile. Most consumers now prefer shopping on mobile devices. They want convenience and portability.

Logistically, this means your marketing automation software must accommodate mobile device use. Mobile-first email design has gained traction for a reason. Beyond its initial intuitiveness and universal appeal, these templates boost open rates and score more sales.

7. Outsource Your Email Marketing for Better Results

Of course, you can always take the easier route.

Third-party email marketing agencies can increase the impact of your budget.

That’s why I founded The Email Marketers.

My team of hand-picked pros understands the complexities of the digital world. They’ve mastered those metrics and use their skills to help you reach your business goals. Whether you’re trying to boost customer retention or move to mobile email designs, my team can handle it.

Are you ready to see your email opens skyrocket?

Schedule a free strategy session today. I’ll show you a personalized plan for your email marketing needs. We’ll discuss your business goals and see how you can best reach your ideal consumers.