Email marketing trends and best practices continue to evolve. Test your knowledge to see if you’re up to date with this email marketing quiz.


  1. True or False. The majority of the world’s population uses email.

  2. True or False. Email is the fourth most persuasive marketing tactic after social media, websites, and display ads.

  3. True or False. Approximately 75% of emails are typically opened.

  4. True or False. Email open rates vary by industry.

  5. True or False. It is a best practice to use initial caps in a subject line.

  6. True or False. The majority of email messages are read on computers.

  7. True or False. Subject lines that are longer than 61 characters receive the highest open rates.

  8. True or False. List segmentation improves open rates.

  9. True or False. Marketers should rely on their experience to optimize open rates.

  10. True or False. Emails should include a call-to-action.


1.   True. The majority of the world’s population uses email.

More than half the planet (54%) uses email. That’s 3.7 billion people worldwide. In the United States alone, there are 244 million email users. Email is not going away any time soon.

2. False. Email is the third most persuasive marketing tactic after a referral by colleague or the opinion of industry thought leaders.

Email is an extremely influential marketing tool. Only referrals from colleagues and subject matter experts exceed email as a reputable source of information.

3.   False. Far fewer than 75% of emails are typically opened.

An email open rate of around 20% is not uncommon. With so few emails being opened, it might seem that email marketing is not a good investment. Not true. Email returns an average of $38 dollars, or a 3800% return on investment, for every dollar spent. The DMA reports that email has the highest ROI of all digital marketing tactics.

4.   True. Email open rates vary by industry.

Email open rates vary widely by industry. For example, 2017 benchmarking data range from a low open rate of 15% for daily deals and coupons to a high of 28% for hobbies. A separate 2017 benchmarking study showed a higher average open rate of 32% across multiple industries.

5. Maybe. Opinions on capitalization of subject lines are mixed.

Marketing best practice is to avoid subject lines in emails that consist entirely of capitalized letters. Using some lowercase letters avoids the appearance of shouting at your recipient, and subject lines in all caps are considered “wrong.” However, subject lines with all caps actually had slightly higher open rates than emails in title case letters (initial caps). In another study, subject lines with only the first letter of the first word capitalized had slightly higher open rates than those with initial caps or title case.

6.   False. The majority of email messages are not read on computers; they are read on phones.

Approximately 20% to 75% of emails are read on phones. Marketing to millennials? Make sure your subject lines and emails are short enough for your prospects and customers to read on their phones. About 81% of young adults ages 19 to 34 always or sometimes sort through their email on their phone first. Even in adults over age 56, 35% sometimes sort through email on their phone first and 8% always do.

7.   False. Subject lines that are longer than 61 characters do not have the highest open rates.

With the majority of customers reading emails on their phones, a shorter, sweeter subject line of 33 characters will fit better on your customers’ devices. Additionally, research indicates that subject lines that are only 1 to 20 characters in length have the highest open rates, highest click-to-open rates, and the highest click-rates.

8.   True. List segmentation improves open rates.

Ensuring that the email is most relevant to your specific audience can increase open rates, click-to-open rates, and clicks.

9. False. Marketers should not rely on their experience; they should apply A/B testing to see what optimizes open rates.

Much has been written on the best email subject lines and how to improve your subject lines. Marketers can apply these known principles to enhance open rates using persuasive subject lines. However, when it comes to digital marketing, gut instincts are often wrong. Given an opportunity to predict which campaign won an A/B split test, audiences of savvy digital marketers frequently choose the loser. The only way to know which subject lines resonate with your audience is to test them.
Furthermore, when looking across industries, marketing and advertising had the lowest open rates compared to all other industries. Opinions abound, but an A/B test provides hard data to show what is effective.

10. True. Emails should include a call-to-action.

If you don’t A-S-K, you won’t G-E-T. Remember to sum up your request and move the recipient along in your sales funnel with an effective call to action.

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Nancy Burgess

Nancy Burgess is the owner of Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing, a marketing consulting firm and online agency. In that role, she integrates her corporate success as a digital marketer along with her marketing agency experience in marketing communications and branding to help businesses prosper. Nancy's specialties are search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation. She graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, holds a master's degree, and also multiple marketing certificates from DePaul University's graduate school. She is a frequent presenter on SEO strategies and has worked in digital marketing since the late 1990s. As someone who can strategize AND execute, Nancy offers digital and traditional marketing services to SMBs. Agency value without agency fees. Along with SEO and content strategies, Nancy's agency offers website design, marketing automation, integrated marketing strategies, and branding to her clients.
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