Despite Everything, 2020 Was A Good Year For Ecommerce, Email Marketing And Us: 2020 Review

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email marketing report

2020 was a year like no other, to say the least. But that doesn’t mean everything was down in the dumps. In a way, 2020 taught us a whole new way to do business. While millions of businesses suffered losses, others thrived like never before. 

What was the biggest difference between those that succeeded and those that failed? For many, it was a robust online presence. In 2020,  most customers shifted their spending online—in fact, Shopify reported that the number of businesses on its platform grew 71% from Q1 to Q2 in 2020. In a time where ecommerce was already booming, Covid19 tipped the scales in its favour like no other. Just for some context, worldwide ecommerce sales grew from USD 2.5 trillion in 2019 to USD 3.5 trillion in 2020 – a 16% increase, consistent with last year’s numbers despite everything.

Needless to say, 2020 presented businesses with new challenges and new opportunities. Being an email marketing agency for ecommerce, we at Hustler Marketing were at the front and centre of this very exciting time!

We grew with the growth of ecommerce. Watch this 55 second clip here to see our year in a snapshot:


Note: All numbers are quoted in USD unless stated otherwise.

1. New Clients Acquired: 73

From 20 clients at the beginning of 2020, we acquired more than 73 clients over the year. The average number of new clients acquired per month doubled from April onwards, just as lockdowns began to kick in in the USA and most other parts of the world. There are many reasons why businesses looked to email marketing more than ever before.

Most business owners already knew that that email marketing helped close the sales funnel and extend the Lifetime Value of a customer, but there was another compelling reason behind this shift. By looking inwards towards existing email lists — largely a free resource — businesses were able to control costs and limit ad spends through Facebook and Google—helping them grow organically at a time when other companies were experiencing massive losses.

2. Email Revenue made by our clients: Close to $25 Million

Our list of HM clients is diverse, ranging from businesses turning over $50,000 in monthly revenue to over $5 million, and operating in niches like beauty, gadgets, clothing, accessories, health care and more. Email revenue for our 45 or so active clients stood at an overall $25 million, with almost half of them from flows alone. Two of our biggest clients – one in a blender equipment space and another in the custom shoes niche made $4.6mn and $2.8mn from email marketing respectively.

Also, out of these 46 active clients, about 25 were on both flows And campaigns for the whole year. From historic data we know that flows make an average of 60% of the email marketing flow, the rest is contributed to campaigns. So if those remaining 23 clients were on campaigns too, the total email revenue made by email marketing would’ve stood at around the $30 million mark.

3. Share of revenue through email out of the overall sales: 20%

Let’s be honest, everything we do really boils down to this one number. So the real question is… how did email do for our clients? We’re happy to report the numbers did not disappoint either us or the clients. In 2020, we helped our 46 active clients make an average of 20% of their overall store revenue through email alone! The stat is even more amazing if you consider that the number is 20% for the 30 biggest clients, over 50% for over 10 clients, and for one of our stores, we made an incredible 98% of their overall store revenue through email!  The email:store revenue ratio grows as the store size decreases. 

This is not to say email marketing isn’t for big businesses. It absolutely is! Consider the two biggest stores we mentioned above. Even though email made an average of 15% of their overall revenue, this number was a stunning $4.6 million and $2.8 million from email marketing. This is an impressive stat if you consider that most of these businesses also ran ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, video and influencer marketing campaigns, affiliate programs, invested in SEO, and leveraged almost all digital platforms available.

4. Breakup of revenue by Flow VS Campaigns

As it’s commonly known in the email marketing universe, emails are usually divided into Flows and Campaigns. Flows are the automated sequence of emails that are set up one time and trigger automatically to a selected based on specific triggers or pre-set conditions. For eg Cart Abandonment flow, Post Purchase flow and so on. Campaigns are the bespoke, custom-designed emails that promote a certain product, catalogue, offer or do occasion marketing. We’ve set up some of the most advanced flows for all our clients, and campaigns for most of them. The revenue breakup ratio of Flow:Campaign stood at a healthy 60:40

(Consider this, a businesses 60% of its email marketing revenue by not having the right flows set up in the backend and 40% by not sending campaigns!)


5. Our team growth

Our team grew from 35 at the beginning of the year to 70 odd people by the end of the year. While the service team consisting of senior and junior account managers, Klaviyo Experts, designers and copywriters made the bulk of it, we also hired a Head of Service, a Head of Sales, and a marketing director to keep up with the demand of a rapidly growing business. Over the year, we received over 100,000 applications for multiple job  openings, out of which 72 made the cut. Interestingly, our competitors also made an attempt at poaching some of our employees (which went in vain!)

6. Email templates

Design is at the heart of our business. We pride ourselves on some of the greatest email templates out there. With an increased focus on developing Design Guidelines with every client, having a team of amazingly dedicated design talents, and a consistency iterative model of email design, our visual work with email was one of the highlights of the year. You can check out some of the best (and the ones clients have allowed us to share) emails here on our Email Hall Of Fame. Between 46 clients, we designed over 7,000 new email templates. (at an average of 3 templates per client per week!)

7. New website

We also got ourselves a shining new website showcasing our team, our work, our values, and all that we do—in one convenient place. Led by the marketing team and expertly executed by our inhouse web designers, the website works as the source of truth for our potential clients, our current customers, our prospect employees, and also our team.

8. A stunning Black Friday Cyber Monday season

Black Friday season is always special for businesses in the USA. This year it was the best ecommerce had seen yet. Even though many reports had predicted that 2020 BFCM was going to be a big year with over $300 billion predicted in sales over the 3 year period, the actual results broke even those impossibly high projections!

For our clients too, it was a massive month, with over $5.9 million and more than 28% of their store revenue earned from email marketing alone. While the annual email: store revenue ratio stood at 20:80, during the BFCM month, this number rose up to an impressive 50-60% for some clients. Check out our detailed 2020 Black Friday Cyber Month Report.

9. Client Love

And of course, while our numbers speak for ourselves, it’s the constant stream of client appreciation that’s come our way this year which has validated all our efforts and given us those true warm-fuzzies.

The way forward

The world isn’t completely out of the woods yet as far as Covid is concerned. But with many vaccines in the implementation stage, the end of the pandemic is on the horizon. The world is nearing normalcy, many countries are opening up again, and businesses are slowly but surely picking up. One thing’s for sure, the ecommerce boost we experienced (one of the few positive side effects of Covid) is here to stay.  More and more brands will begin to expand their digital footprint and grow their digital marketing efforts.

Email marketing will continue to play an ever more important role in engaging, nurturing and monetizing existing as well as acquiring new customers for small and medium businesses.

With a post-pandemic world and a new government in the USA, there’s a lot to look forward to. But also, keeping the events of the last week in mind, and witnessing the absolute authority social networks have been looking to wield over the digital space, owning your audience and building your own community i.e. investing in email marketing is going to take more precedence than ever. 

And as one of the largest growing retention and nurture marketing agencies around, we’re ready.


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