4 Little-Known Email Marketing Statistics in 9 Big Industries

Bonus Material: In-Depth, Site-By-Site Analysis Spreadsheet

We analyzed 106 top sites across 9 different industries. Sites like BMW, CNN Money, Mens Fitness, Playstation, Four Hour Week, Moz, Betty Liu and Nomadic Matt. 

These websites are the most visited sites on the internet with the biggest fan bases. We analyzed them to show you email marketing best practices you can use in your business today. To do this, we:

  • Opted into all of their email lists
  • Analyzed their sites 
  • Snooped around to see what email service provider they use. 

We did this to help you:

  1. See what the big leaguers are doing right so you can do the same for your business: Most big sites spend a lot of money on making things perfect. You can spend $0 to copy their processes.
  2. Find their weaknesses (aka what you can improve on): Even the big guys get stuff wrong. If you’re in any of their industries, you’ll see exactly how you can get a leg up on them.

Here’s what we found...

  • Chapter 1: 4 Surprising Email Marketing Statistics You Didn’t See Coming
  • Chapter 2: A Golden Ticket to Staying Out of Gmail’s Promotions Tab
  • Chapter 3: The #1 Email Marketing Mistake 22% of Sites Make
  • Chapter 4: What the Fashion Industry Can Teach You About Email Marketing
  • Chapter 5: Email Marketing Benchmarks For 9 Different Industries

Email Marketing Statistic #1: 74% of Sites Send a Welcome Email

Send Welcome Email

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Almost ¾ of the biggest sites send a welcome email which means industry leaders recognize the importance of them.

Here’s why: your welcome email gives your new subscriber instant gratification. It also starts a conversation with them and serves as another first impression of you and your brand.

If you’re not sending a welcome email to your subscribers, you should make this a top priority to add to your to-do list.

We also found that many of the biggest sites are using a double opt-in in their welcome emails. We’ll show you why next.

Email Marketing Statistic #2: 79% of Welcome Emails are Double Opt-in

Double Opt-in Welcome email

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Four out of every five welcome emails are double opt-ins. If you’re not familiar with the term, a double opt-in email is a two-step email confirmation tactic that helps keep your email list free of spammers and fake addresses.

By adding an extra step, you’ll naturally weed out subscribers who aren’t really interested in what you’re offering.

79% of the time we opted-in to these sites, we received an email like this:

confirm subscription example

For those readers that don’t click the button, they won’t see any emails from this site. This may seem like a hassle for your subscribers, but it keeps your email list healthy (and keeps you from spending a ton of money sending to fake subscribers). 

With almost 80% of major sites using double opt-ins, we’re seeing that the health of your list is becoming more important than ever.

We also found that the top sites don’t waste any time shooting off their first message.

Email Marketing Statistic #3: The Average Welcome Email Hits Your Inbox in 1 Minute, 7 Seconds

Average Welcome Email

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That number is an average since some industries use instant delivery while others take as much as four minutes to tackle.

You want that number as close to instant as possible to capture your new subscriber when they’re the most engaged and interested in what you have to say. Every second of delay means you risk losing your new subscriber’s interest. That’s especially bad if you’re using double opt-in emails.

You also have to take into account all of the different email service providers people use. Some providers may send emails faster than others.

Speaking of email service providers…

Email Marketing Statistic #4:Mailchimp Still Dominates the Email Marketing Landscape

Since only 74% of the sites I studied sent a welcome email, we could only take a gander at their email providers. Here’s the breakdown of that group:

Top Email Service Providers

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We found that MailChimp takes up a good chunk of the email pie. 

It makes sense though: They’ve been around since 2001 (technically), and their free tier is so effective at drawing people in and keeping them with the company that many fail to jump ship once they’re in.

What’s more surprising is how far back everyone else is. 

But besides being the established leader, there’s another reason why MailChimp keeps a tight hold atop the pile…

Your Golden Ticket to Staying Out of Gmail’s Promotions Tab 

If you use Gmail, your inbox probably looks like this:

gmail inbox folders

By default, most of us just check the primary inbox. Maybe if you’re bored or trying to avoid eye contact with strangers you’ll check your other tabs too.

For email marketers, those other tabs are not a great place for your emails to land. Out of all 29 sites we studied using MailChimp, only TWO landed in the promotions tab...and those were the emails sent after the initial welcome email.

ConvertKit emails didn’t fare nearly as well. Those emails found their way to the promotions tab 44% of the time. 

When you choose an email service provider, keep an eye on how many emails go into these folders. The goal is to land in the primary one as much as possible.

While that’s one email marketing mistake to pay attention to, this next one could be hurting your efforts just as much.

The #1 Email Marketing Mistake 22% of Sites Make

78% of sites make it dead-easy to sign up for their list, yet 22% make it difficult.

What makes something “easy” to opt-in to?

  • The area to opt-in is clearly visible -- a popup, a bar on the top of your page, or even a form on the side of your site.
  • There are clear instructions on what needs to be done.

“Difficult” ones are usually guilty of:

  • Hiding the form on a completely unrelated page
  • Only including the opt-in form on one page
  • Burying your sign up at the bottom of a page
  • Making a visitor click through on one page to go to another page to sign up

So anything that isn’t completely obvious or reachable on any page. Which begs the question…

Why are the top sites making it hard for you to give them your email address?

It beats us.

We’ve talked at length on the importance of building an email list and even ranked the 20 best places to collect emails on your site.

Every day you don’t collect emails, you’re literally losing money and putting the future of your business or blog in the hands of other companies

We can say for certain: their loss. Make it easy to opt-in to your email list and you’ll be ahead of established leaders.

If you need help creating your emails, use this guide.

What the Fashion Industry Can Teach You About Email Marketing

We ranked the industry giants from most email-savvy to least based on a few things:

  1. Ease to opt-in
  2. If they send a welcome email
  3. How long it takes to deliver
  4. If they follow up within a day (keeping engagement is key)

Here’s how it shook out:

Best Email Experience

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Out of all the top fashion blogs we analyzed:

  1. Every single one sent a welcome email
  2. Every one of them made it easy to opt-in. They know there’s money in their lists.

It’s interesting to note, after some research and feedback from our readers, we determined that the gaming industry is a total outlier when it comes to collecting emails. 

  • First, users have low trust. Many don’t feel comfortable giving out their emails so they’re more likely to give out a fake email or a secondary one instead.
  • Kids are also a huge part of the target market. But they don’t read/check emails. So you’ll end up seeing a flood of fake emails from kids just trying to pass through the age gates.
  • We also found that super niche gaming sites fare better than general gaming ones since the audience tends to be more sophisticated and tech savvy.

Unless you’re in the gaming industry, follow the fashion industry here and make sure it’s super simple to opt into your list and you send a welcome email.

Up next, we’ll show you how you can get a leg up on your competition by studying what they’re doing wrong.

Email Marketing Benchmarks For 9 Different Industries

Check and see how the top dogs in your industry performed (in alphabetical order).

And if you want to see how each individual site performed, download this comprehensive Email Marketing Statistics spreadsheet:

Click here to get your spreadsheet!

Automotive Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

BMW Blog, AutoBlog, Motor Authority, Jalopnik, Motor1, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Automobile Mag, Car Talk

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 56%

Average Time to Inbox: 1 Minute

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 4

Most Used ESP: MailChimp

Special Notes:

  • This was one of the hardest industries to opt-in to. Most opt-in forms were small, unnoticeable or just on one page (that you had to navigate to). 
  • Few sites (a little over half) sent a welcome email. Most times you couldn’t tell if the opt-in process actually worked.
  • Most emails were bare-bones, with only two of the sites sending anything with their own logo.

Fashion + Style Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

The Atlantic Pacific, Dappered, He Spoke Style, Gentleman’s Gazette, Hello Fashion Blog, Permanent Style , Fashion Beans, Grasie Mercedes, My Fash Diary

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 100%

Average Time to Inbox: 1 Minute, 42 Seconds

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 8

Most Used ESP: MailChimp

Special Notes:

  • Every single one sent a welcome email. Not only that, they also used a double opt-in. Seems the fashion/style industry loves a safe, engaged list. 
  • This industry is dominated by two email service providers -- MailChimp and….FeedBurner. For those that don’t know, FeedBurner is basically an RSS service provided by Google. The emails look like this:

activate your email subscription template

Nothing wild, but FeedBurner takes care of all your emails for you (every time you publish an article on your blog, FeedBurner sends your email subscriber an email with the article link).

  • This was one of the easiest industries to opt-in to. Almost every site had a prominent signup box. Bravo.

Finance Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

Money Crashers, Mad Fientist, The College Investor, CNN Money, The Penny Hoarder, Get Rich Slowly, Consumerist, Cash Cow Couple, Dough Roller, Wise Bread

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 70%

Average Time to Inbox: 26 Seconds

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 6

Most Used ESP: MailChimp

Special Notes:

  • The finance industry was the most middle of the road performer of everyone. So-so welcome email rates, decent average time to inbox, not hard but not easy to opt-in to. 
  • Some sites placed a ton of importance on collecting emails, while others made you dig for a bit. Pretty boom or bust, which averages out to middling.

Fitness + Health Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

Neghar Fonooni, Fitnessista, Nia Shanks, Anytime Fitness, Breaking Muscle, Natalie Jill Fitness, Nerd Fitness, Tony Gentilcore, Fit Bottomed Girls, Muscle For Life, Born Fitness, Mens Fitness, My Fitness Pal

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 69%

Average Time to Inbox: 57 Seconds

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 8

Most Used ESP: MailChimp

Special Notes:

  • This industry had the most diverse email service provider pool (tied with marketing). Collectively, they used 7 different types of ESPs (Aweber, ConvertKit, FeedBlitz, FeedBurner, In-House, Infusionsoft, Mailchimp). 
  • Almost every single welcome email (except for one) was a strict double opt-in.
  • Surprisingly, three of the most-visited blogs on this list didn’t even send an email. They each have a massive following, yet you wouldn’t know if you signed up for their email list.

Gaming Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

Kotaku, Engadget, IGN, Playstation, Game Informer, Polygon, Destructoid, Rock Paper Shotgun

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 22%

Average Time to Inbox: Instant

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 2

Most Used ESP: WordPress

Special Notes:

  • The gaming industry is slightly different. Not only do they not send welcome emails, they don’t want you to be on a mailing list. Instead, almost every site requires you to create an account -- mostly so you can leave comments on pages. It seems comments are valued higher than building a list.
  • WordPress is the most-used ESP. These massive gaming sites use a built-in plugin from Wordpress to send their emails.

Lifestyle Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

Zen Habits, Four Hour Workweek, Lifehack, Mind Body Green, Greatist, Darren Daily, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Cup of Jo, Art of Manliness, Mark Manson, Elite Daily, Tiny Buddha

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 83%

Average Time to Inbox: 1 Minute, 30 Seconds

Most Common Email: TIE (Double Opt-In, Thank You Email)

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 9

Most Used ESP: In-House Solution

Special Notes:

  • Lifestyle sites value emails so much that many built in-house solutions to send emails. It was the leading choice among all the sites (ConvertKit following closely behind).
  • This was the easiest industry to give my email to. Everything was seamless and incredibly front-facing.
  • This was the only industry where the most common email was a tie. Of course double opt-in was up there, but the thank you email was just as prevalent. Here’s what one looks like from Tim Ferriss:

welcome email example

They’d thank you for signing up, then suggest articles to read or videos to watch. It makes sense -- if you’re already sending an email to say thanks, you might as well give your newly engaged readers something to consume.

Marketing Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

Social Media Examiner, Backlinko, Search Engine Journal, Smart Passive Income, Seth Godin, Moz, Search Engine Land, Unbounce, Jeff Bullas, Lewis Howes, Social Triggers, Content Marketing Institute, Buffer, Hubspot, Wistia, CoElevate

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 81%

Average Time to Inbox: 4 Minutes

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 8

Most Used ESP: Infusionsoft

Special Notes:

  • Surprisingly, the marketing industry had the longest average time to inbox at four minutes. However, this could be slightly skewed since one blog took over 15 minutes to send their email. 
  • An interesting find -- Infusionsoft was the preferred ESP of big marketing blogs. But if there was an industry for that to happen, it’d be in marketing. Infusionsoft is an incredibly powerful system, but it’s really difficult to master. The marketing industry is where you’d find those pros that can tame Infusionsoft.
  • Marketing had the most diverse welcome email set -- ranging from double opt-in emails, thank yous, gifts and asking a question. Each site had wildly different goals and expectations of their new subscribers.
  • On top of that, five of the welcome emails ended up in the promo folder (the majority coming from Infusionsoft).

Nutrition + Cooking Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

Half Baked Harvest, Budget Bytes, Butter and Brioche, Husbands That Cook, David Lebovitz, Simply Recipes, North Wild Kitchen, Katie Parla, Good Beer Hunting, The Perfect Loaf, Naturally Ella, Smitten Kitchen, Harvest and Honey, Holly and Flora, Call Me Cupcake, Betty Liu, Southern Souffle

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 82%

Average Time to Inbox: 27 Seconds

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 7

Most Used ESP: MailChimp

Special Notes:

  • Cooks have the most visually appealing emails. These were consistently stylized more than any other industry. Styling your welcome email with a logo or even copy that reflects the tone of your brand can REALLY stand out.
  • This is an email-savvy industry, too. Almost half those that sent a welcome email followed it up the next day (or sooner) with an email.

Travel Industry Email Marketing Statistics

Blogs Analyzed:

Migrationology, The Sweetest Way, Nomadic Matt, Expert Vagabond, One Mile At A Time, Off Assignment, Fresh Off The Grid, Lost With Purpose, And North, Wild About Travel, Hand Luggage Only

Percent that Sent Welcome Email: 91%

Average Time to Inbox: Instant

Most Common Email: Double Opt-In

Average Ease of Finding Opt-In Form (1=Hard, 10=Easy): 9

Most Used ESP: MailChimp

Special Notes:

  • If it weren’t for the lifestyle industry, the travel industry would be leading the way with email marketing. Almost all sent a welcome email, the average time was INSTANT and it was incredibly easy to opt-in to every blog.
  • Travel sites use a lot of thank you pages too. When you opt-in, you go to a page that thanks you for opting-in and gives instructions on what to do next. This gives a clear sense of direction on what to do next (remember, if you use double opt-in and the subscriber doesn’t confirm their email address, you can’t use it).

Key takeaway: Are you ready to see an improvement in your email rates? Make it super easy to opt-in and don’t forget to send a welcome email right away.

Want all the in-depth data we discussed in this guide?

Of course you do. Luckily, everything we talked about in this report and how each site stacked up in every industry -- 106 in total -- is all in this free resource. Download it now to see how your favorite sites perform.

Click here for your spreadsheet!