If you think that email marketing is an obsolete method, which has lost relevance years ago, then you should reconsider your views. There must be a reason why countless companies love email marketing and literally squeeze everything from it to the last drop!

According to statistics from Mailigen, email is the main lead generation channel for 89% of marketers. It means that the series of emails is crafted in such a way that the targeted person goes to the checkout page straight from their inbox.

In 2017, a study by Emailmonday.com revealed that:

  • over 4 billion email accounts are registered in the world, almost 2 billion of them from mobile email apps;
  • over 200 million emails are sent daily, 74 trillion emails annually;
  • almost half of emails are opened on mobile devices;
  • 3 out of 5 users check email in the morning, 75% of them use a smartphone for this;
  • 89% of users delete messages that are not optimized for mobile devices.

Nowadays it is still impossible to find a person who didn’t receive any marketing emails. And we still constantly check our inboxes, no matter where we are, what we do, and which devices we use. And most emails that we receive are promotional or marketing emails.

In this article, we are going to explain why you shouldn’t neglect email marketing when promoting your mobile app, how to create a solid email marketing plan, and what tips to follow to get the most out of email marketing campaigns. 

The importance of email marketing

A successful, carefully crafted email campaign can bring you hundreds of new users and create more loyalty with the existing ones. Email marketing is a great way to stay connected with your audience, increase brand awareness, and convey your message to people in a fun and engaging way. Here’s why you should choose email marketing to promote your app:

  • Reasonable costs. Email marketing is one of the cheapest ways to promote your app and reach a huge number of people. You can also cut down on designer’s fees by creating a unified template for all emails or use one of the many email templates available out there.
  • Unobtrusiveness. Emails typically do not interfere with the daily routine of your potential or existing users. Google Mail even has a separate folder for marketing materials. All promotional emails bypass the inbox and go to the Promotions folder without annoying popups, so the recipient can check this folder later.
  • Increased conversion. According to research by Data & Marketing Association, about 66% of email recipients are converted to customers. Email marketing experts can achieve it by various means, such as special offers, promos, discounts, and more.
  • Raised brand awareness. Emails are a great information source. You can effectively use them to convey valuable info about your app to your target market. If your emails are properly designed, the users will remember your app even if they “scan” the email for a few seconds and then close it.
  • Increased trust. As your brand communicates with people, they start trusting it. They see real people behind the brand and the efforts that are put into email marketing, so they start taking your brand seriously.
  • Education. Many companies send their recipients a series of onboarding emails where they explain how to use their app or demonstrate new features. In such a way you show your users that you care about them and encourage them to get the most out of your products. For example, here’s how the Headspace meditation app onboards its users via email.

Creating an email marketing plan

For a successful email marketing campaign, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a suitable email marketing software. Yes, that’s right – email marketing is not just manually sending emails via an ordinary email client. Depending on the complexity of the email marketing software, you can get either basic email databases and campaign management tools or more complex instruments such as salesforce management, shopping carts, affiliate programs, etc. AWeber is a good example of an email marketing software that can be used for both beginners and advanced users. Its features include automation, creative sign-up forms design, autoresponders—and much more!
  2. Add email addresses to your database. Fill your database with verified email addresses of your existing or potential customers, even if you are just starting off and do not have many of them at the moment.
  3. Decide upon the frequency of emails. Everyone hates spam, and if you send your emails too often, users can just unsubscribe. To prevent this from happening, think carefully about how many emails per month you are going to send. Experts say that two or three emails a month would be enough.
  4. Define the purpose of your campaign. Decide why you are sending your emails – to attract new users, to re-engage the existing ones, or to inform them about your new products or offers? Build your campaign around its purpose. If your goal is to generate more leads, you might want to craft email sequences for your prospects. In that case, you will need to do your best to avoid being too promotional in your email sequences, but try to give some value to your targets and explain to them why they should use your products/services.
  5. Start crafting your emails. The best option is to use the skills of creative copywriters and designers to make the emails as engaging as possible.
  6. Gather statistics on your campaign. Check out the metrics monthly to see which emails are opened more frequently than others as well as monitor the click-through rate. You can later use these results to build your next email campaign.

Optimizing your email marketing campaign for mobile

Despite billions of mobile users worldwide, many email marketers still do not adapt their content to mobile devices. The layout of the email newsletter optimized for mobile is crucial for retention. As we have already mentioned, 89% of users delete messages that are not adapted for mobile devices. Therefore, if you do not optimize your email campaigns for mobile devices, you will push the potential buyers away. So here are some tips on designing a responsive email campaign.

  • Keep your messages short. When users read messages on mobile devices, they do not want to process a large amount of text. Although your readers can theoretically click the “Read more” link to see the rest of the message, this may stop them from further reading. Rethink the content of the newsletter – let the message be compact, consisting of short sentences and paragraphs. Even people who read messages in the browser will appreciate the brevity. For example, see how creatively Uber crafted their email introducing the new feature – calendar sync:

  • Shorten the URLs. URLs often take up a lot of mobile screen space. If you use a shortened URL with tools like bit.ly or tinyurl.com, the addresses will be much shorter. Long names in the HTML versions of your messages must be changed so that they display correctly on mobile screens.
  • Use short but catchy subject lines. Instead of writing complex, sophisticated subject lines, you need to focus on something short and relevant that will be fully visible to the recipient. This will provide much higher conversion rates. Headlines are another form of a call to action that determines the success of an entire campaign. For example, here’s a humorous subject line of Groupon’s newsletter: “Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”.
  • Use clear calls to action. Appropriate and clear calls to action will make users open emails and tap the links or buttons inside. Vague, inexpressive CTAs can ruin an email campaign, so treat this element carefully and responsibly. Concise, meaningful, and well-designed CTAs provide a high conversion rate. For example, Whistle, the pet tracker app, uses different colors for the “Learn more” and “Buy now” CTAs in their welcome email. Additionally, two CTA options imply that the user can get more information about the product before they decide to buy it.

Key metrics of email marketing

Email marketing metrics are divided into internal and external. Internal metrics relate to everything that happens to the newsletter from the moment it is sent until the user is in the app. External metrics show what happens before and after the email is sent: how many new customers it attracted, how much revenue the company received per each email, etc.

The metrics are expressed in absolute and relative terms. The absolute indicators include the specific results of the email distribution: how many people opened the message, how many times they clicked the main CTA, etc. Relative indicators assess the relationship between the absolute indicators. For example, “the base has grown 10 times” is a relative metric. “The base has increased from 30 subscribers to 300” is the absolute metric.

It is necessary to consider both the absolute and relative indicators. For example, when sending out an email across a database of 100 people, you can get an opening rate of 80%, but in fact only 80 people will open a letter. Feel the difference?

Internal metrics are as follows:

  • Opening rate: the percentage of users who open the email.
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR): the percentage of subscribers who tapped one of the clickable elements in the message: link, button, or image. It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks (taps) inside the email by the number of opened emails.
  • Unsubscribe rate: the number of unsubscriptions divided by the number of delivered emails. According to various estimates, the maximum number of unsubscriptions should not exceed 0.5-2%. The acceptable level of unsubscriptions varies by industry.
  • Complaint rate: When the subscriber marks the letter as spam, the mail platform and the provider record the complaint. It means that the subscriber no longer wants to receive your emails, but could not unsubscribe from them.
  • Churn rate: the percentage of subscribers who unsubscribed from the newsletter for a certain period of time. For example, if 150 out of every 1,000 subscribers leave each year, then the annual churn rate will be 15%.
  • Subscriber lifetime: the period of time during which the users are interested in your emails – they open them and follow the links.
  • Delivery errors: errors in the mailing process when the subscriber’s inbox does not accept the email. The unaccepted email is returned to the sender indicating the reasons for non-delivery. The recipient server may report that the address does not exist, the mailbox is full, the server is unavailable, etc.
  • Deliverability: the number of delivered emails divided by the number of sent emails. The email is considered delivered if the recipient’s SMTP server successfully received the message without rejection. But in fact, it does not mean that the email went into the inbox. It could get into the spam folder when caught in the email blacklist, which the recipient does not typically check.

How to improve internal metrics?

  • Collect the database by using legal methods. Use double opt-in to confirm the subscription.
  • Keep your database clean. Delete incorrect and outdated contacts, send inactive subscribers to the stop list, and launch the re-engagement campaigns.
  • Use reliable services and software with well-functioning analytics systems.
  • Keep track of your IP address, domain, and sender.
  • Work on the quality and relevance of the content.
  • Before sending emails across the entire database or segment, use specialized services to check the message for possible spam.
  • Do not hide the unsubscribe link – give the user an opportunity to quickly unsubscribe.
  • Send mailings of the same volume and with the same frequency.
  • Make sure that your emails are optimized for mobile.

External metrics are as follows:

  • Lead acquisition cost (LAC): the total amount of all marketing efforts required to attract one lead. To calculate the LAC, divide all the costs of attracting new leads by the number of these leads. For example, if a company spent on marketing $100,000 a year and attracted 100 customers, then the LAC = $1,000.
  • Conversion: the moment when a potential buyer turns (converts) into a real one. In digital analytics, there are terms such as macro and micro conversions. Macro conversion is a user action that is extremely important for your company. For example, a purchase. Micro conversion indicates that a macro conversion will be performed. For example, watching a video before a purchase or reposts on social media.
  • Revenue per email (RPE): an alternative to ROI that shows the income from each email. It demonstrates revenue differences for different email campaigns. To calculate the RPE, divide the received income by the number of undelivered emails subtracted from the number of delivered emails.
  • Subscriber lifetime value (LTV): total profit that the company receives from one subscriber for the entire time of cooperation with them. The LTV formula is as follows: LTV = M x A x T, where M is an average bill in the reporting period, A – the number of repeated actions during the reported period, and T – an average lifetime in the metric of the reporting period.
  • Return on investment (ROI): email marketing still remains a relatively cost-efficient way to communicate with the client, so the return on investment from it is very high. But to calculate it, you need to know the exact costs of marketing.

More email marketing tips

In conclusion, we’d like to share with you some extra tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

  • Plan holiday campaigns. Many businesses have special offers for holidays, such as Easter, Christmas, or whatsoever. Create a list of holidays that your target country has and set reminders for these dates beforehand, maybe a couple of months before the holiday. You can even write the emails in advance and then just send them on specific dates. For example, here’s an amazing Halloween email by Starbucks introducing the holiday-special limited offer – Zombie Frappuccino:

  • Invite users to participate in surveys. Surveys are the best way to learn what people think about your app and how you can improve it. Besides, asking for feedback in the form of surveys makes users feel even more valuable. Another version of the feedback survey can be a pre-maid quiz where they can just choose/tick their answer. Here’s an example from Airbnb:

  • Send the “we miss you” emails. If a user hasn’t opened your app for a long time, it’s a good idea to send an email telling them that you miss them and giving a discount for coming back. Such email will remind the user about your brand and show them that you care. Here’s how Ticketfly, the concert ticketing app, re-engages its users:

  • Localize your emails. If you have users from different countries, keep in mind that they’d be delighted to receive emails in their native language. However, you should not only merely translate the emails, but also localize them, meaning that you should consider the features and traditions of each country. For example, convert dollars to euros for European countries, or do not send Christmas offers to users from China.


Email marketing is often overlooked for nothing. In fact, properly crafted email marketing campaigns can boost the conversion of your app. Here’s why you should choose email marketing to promote your app:

  • Reasonable costs
  • Unobtrusiveness
  • Raised brand awareness
  • Increased trust
  • Education

For a successful email marketing campaign, follow these steps:

  1. Choose suitable email marketing software. 
  2. Add email addresses to your database. 
  3. Decide upon the frequency of emails.
  4. Define the purpose of your campaign. 
  5. Start crafting your emails. 
  6. Gather statistics on your campaign. 

To optimize your email campaign for mobile:

  • Keep your messages short. 
  • Shorten the URLs. 
  • Use short but catchy subject lines.
  • Use clear calls to action. 

When analyzing the outcome of your email marketing campaign, consider the following metrics:

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR)
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Complaint rate
  • Churn rate
  • Subscriber lifetime
  • Delivery errors
  • Deliverability
  • Lead acquisition cost (LAC)
  • Conversion
  • Revenue per email (RPE)
  • Subscriber lifetime value (LTV)
  • Return on investment (ROI)