Why are we so obsessed with email acquisition?

Published by Tim Kachuriak

*********UPDATE****** This is so important, we’re running our first Live Broadcast Wednesday January 27 on this very topic. On the live broadcast, we’ll show you real experiments that uncover what works in email acquisition so you can grow your file — and your fundraising results.

Register here.

This is why we are obsessed with email acquisition:

Email Acquisition Chart #1

It’s not a secret, email is the king when it comes to raising money online. The graph shown here is from one of our clients. The blue line represents traffic across all of their different traffic mediums, and the orange bar represents revenue. As you may have deduced, this organization has a very large email file. This is why email is the largest source of traffic. But take a look at the relationship between the email traffic and revenue. Compared to the higher-traffic sources like organic search and direct visitors (none), revenue far outpaces traffic. Even compared to other direct response sources like mail, radio, DRTV, paid Facebook (newsfeed), you can’t get a better ‘buck for your bang’ as you can with email.


So…your 2016 New Year’s resolution: focus on email acquisition!  If you do that well, then revenue growth is sure to follow.



Right after I posted this on LinkedIn, I got a great comment from Colleen Kline (thanks, Colleen!).  She asked two questions:

She asked two questions:

1. What is the timeframe for the data? 2. Does this trend hold true for other clients?

To answer the first question, the data was over the last twelve months.  So this is not just a snapshot of a campaign month with particularly high email volume– this is the whole year.

To answer the second question, I quickly went into Google Analytics and grabbed the past 12-months of data for three other clients.  Here are their graphs:

Client #2 – In this example, this organization receives very high levels of organic and website traffic so I actually had to scale the graph down so you can see the detail.  But what this shows is that despite have crazy amounts of organic traffic, email is still the highest revenue producer.

Email Acquisition Chart #3

Client #3 – Same deal with this example.  In this case, email is actually one of the lower sources of traffic, yet it is the highest source of revenue.

Email Acquisition chart #3

Client #4 – In the last client example, we see a graph that looks very similar to my original post.  Email is the highest source of traffic and the highest source of revenue.

Email acquisition chart #4

I know four data points doesn’t necessarily make a trend, but it certainly fortifies the argument. Onward!

If you are interested in more research on this topic, please check out some of these recent experiments in our NextAfter Research Library:

  1. https://www.nextafter.com/research/2015/11/how-clarifying-the-value-proposition-increased-email-acquisition-rate-by-9-3/
  2. https://www.nextafter.com/research/2015/11/how-the-disruptive-placement-of-an-offer-increased-email-acquisition-by-523-9/
  3. https://www.nextafter.com/research/2015/10/how-reducing-friction-for-highly-motivated-traffic-increased-name-conversion-by-26-2/
  4. https://www.nextafter.com/research/2015/08/how-a-redesign-and-stronger-value-proposition-increased-name-acquisition-rate-by-28-8/
  5. https://www.nextafter.com/research/2015/07/how-adding-value-to-a-homepage-newsletter-signup-increased-conversion-by-44/

About the author:

Tim Kachuriak

Tim won "Best Stage Presence" for the 1991 Pittsburgh Boys Choir.