2022 email marketing statistics report for the creator economy

Email Marketing
17 min read
In this Article

Say it with me: progress over perfection.

Every day, ConvertKit creators put one email in front of the other to grow their audience. But there will always be a new goal, a budding idea, and a milestone just beyond your current reach.

Instead of waiting for the ever-elusive “someday” where everything goes perfectly to plan, you can use email metrics right now to learn and improve. Think of stats as trail markers, letting you know if you need to push forward or try a different path.

When you’re working as a solo creator it can be hard to gauge what a “good” email open rate is or understand how much money other creators earn. So, the ConvertKit team analyzed email metrics from nearly half a million creators to bring you completely original email marketing stats and benchmarks.

If you’ve ever wondered how your email metrics compare to creator averages, this guide is for you. We’ll share creator economy averages for stats like open rates, revenue, and click rates. Plus, we’ll help you decide which marketing metrics to review based on what you’re trying to achieve.

How to use email stats as a creator

Let’s be honest—sometimes it’s easier to ignore marketing metrics. Setting up analytics tracking and reviewing performance is just another task on your already long to-do list. Plus, you may feel that you don’t need the stats to make decisions.

However, choosing even a couple of email stats to track can significantly impact. You’ll remove personal biases during the performance review and gain a consistent benchmark for comparison to help you make more informed decisions. There are three steps to establishing a habit of reviewing email marketing performance.

Set goals and choose corresponding metrics

In a few moments, we’ll dive into a laundry list of email marketing metrics. You don’t need to track them all. I repeat, you do not need to measure everything all of the time. Instead, pick a goal and focus on related stats.

For example, increasing your newsletter opt-in rate is a solid goal if you want to grow your email list. Alternatively, increasing your click-through could move the needle for boosting revenue.

Email marketing statistics

Look at benchmarks for reference

Industry benchmarks give you a sense of what “normal” is. While email stat averages don’t reveal the entire picture, they can signal if what you see in your list is far above or below other creators' experience. Since email marketing looks different for a Fortune 500 and a food blogger, we’ve added as many creator-specific stats as possible in this roundup.

Compare your past and current stats

What you’re working with now is more important than what other creators see in their list. It helps to look at what others are doing, but your past and current performance is your best success gauge. Create a Google Analytics dashboard and refer to your email marketing platform to get a snapshot of recent performance if you haven't already.

More creators are turning to email

ConvertKit is built to help creators connect with their audience and earn a living. So it’s only right that we shine a light on the people behind the email stats. Before analyzing email marketing performance we wanted to understand who is using email.

Email is a go-to channel for creators and consumers

By the end of 2021, nearly half a million creators were using ConvertKit to reach their audience. While that number is exciting on its own, the growth of the creator economy over the past years is what’s most impressive.

The number of creators using ConvertKit to send emails and sell digital products more than doubled from 2020 to 2021.

Email marketing statistics

It doesn’t matter how much creators love email if subscribers aren’t on board, too. Luckily, there will be a projected 4.3 billion worldwide email users in 2022, which, for reference, is just over half the global population.

But is half of all humanity reluctantly slogging to their inbox? Nope. 92% of consumers and 72% of marketers say email is their favorite marketing channel.

If you’ve thought about creating an email list to share your ideas, products, and services, there’s never been a better time. You can join the ranks of creators who grow their list and turn a side hustle into a steady stream of income.

Creators sent 530 emails every second in 2021

We know that more creators are using email marketing than ever before. But the full extent of their reach is realized when you tally how many messages they send annually. ConvertKit creators sent a total of 16,744,567,735 emails in 2021.

Email marketing statistics

To put that in perspective, that’s 530 emails every second of every day.

In the time it took you to read that sentence, thousands of subscribers received messages from creators. As more creators use email marketing and learn what performs best with their audience, they can turn around and share the knowledge with fellow creators. When creators collaborate, everyone wins.

Creators across every niche use email marketing

With the growth of the creator economy comes variety, and a lot of it. ConvertKit measures 19 different creator archetypes, and each has representation. There’s an audience for every type of creator, and ConvertKit users range from YouTubers and Musicians to Artists, Coaches, and everything in between.

Email marketing statistics

Some of the most popular creator niches include marketers, educators, YouTubers, and artists. Now that there are established creators across nearly any interest and skill set, creators have more opportunities to check out what other creators are doing. You can get inspired by other creators and then put your unique spin on a strategy to make it your own.

Inspiration ahead: the I am a Creator documentary web series follows real creator journeys. Watch the latest film here.

Grow your email list

A larger audience leads to more opportunity, discussion, and sales. So, it’s no wonder growing an email list to new levels is a popular goal. Here’s what to track if you want to grow your audience this year.

The average opt-in rate is around 2%

Measuring your landing page conversion rate, whether it's a general newsletter sign-up or a lead magnet, lets you know if potential subscribers resonate with your message. That’s because the opt-in rate compares how many people visited a page to how many entered their email address.

The higher your opt-in rate, the less traffic you need to hit the same sales or growth goals. You can grow your email list even quicker if you maximize your opt-in rate and traffic to your landing pages.

So what’s a “good” opt-in or conversion rate? According to Sumo, the average opt-in rate across all industries is 1.95%. That means that for every 100 people that check out your landing page, about two people will enter their email to sign up.

In 2021, ConvertKit creators gained 123,000,000 new subscribers, which averages out to 234 using opt-in forms to hear from creators every minute.

Email marketing statistics

If you want to improve your sign-up process, aim for clarity. A single call-to-action, or CTA, and a description of what value your emails provide helps people understand what’s up for grabs.

The average creator email list size has 645 subscribers

Seeing how the biggest creators have grown their business and email list is inspiring. It can also be a little intimidating (and disheartening) if you compare their audience to yours. You don’t need a huge email list to be successful, though. Creators have made thousands of dollars launching products to less than 1,000 subscribers.

Email marketing statistics

In fact, the average ConvertKit creator email list has 645 subscribers. When you compare list sizes across creators, the single largest category is lists with less than 100 subscribers.

Email marketing statistics

As you grow your audience, the quality of relationships and the relevance of your content is more important than quantity alone. You can use email automations to create personalized experiences that make each subscriber more impactful to your business.

You can transform your email list in 30 days. Need help starting an email list or gaining momentum? Check out the Grow Your Audience challenge to access on-demand list building workshops.

Newsletter referral programs accelerate list growth

If you have happy subscribers, they can help you grow your email list. A newsletter referral program, like SparkLoop, incentivizes subscribers to share your content with friends and family. In exchange for helping you grow your email list, subscribers receive rewards like discounts and exclusive content.

Creators who use a newsletter referral program grow their list, on average, 35% faster than without one.

Newsletter referral programs tend to lead to growth because a) your subscribers already understand your value and b) they know people with similar interests. Instead of trying to find new audience members on your own, your subscribers can fast-track the connection with a referral.

Increase audience engagement

Once subscribers are on your email list, you want them to have a good time. The content and timing of your emails impact whether they open messages and engage with your content.

The average email open rate for creators is 36%

Your email’s open rate indicates what percent of subscribers who received the email opened the email. Since you spend time crafting each message, you want as many people as possible to view it. Maintaining high open and engagement rates could also come in handy if you’re going to pitch your blog or email list to a sponsor.

The average email open rate for ConvertKit creators in January 2022 was 36%.

Email marketing statistics

Since open rates are easy to track, it’s common to review. While this stat is valuable, it isn’t the ultimate success gauge. The introduction of Apple Mail’s Mail Privacy Protection might also impact the accuracy of open rates. You’ll get a better sense of your email performance when reviewing open rates alongside other engagement metrics.

Personalization boosts open rates, but your send day doesn’t matter

If you want to improve your open rate, A/B testing your subject line should be your first strategy. Pitting two subject line options against one another in real-time gives you insight into what catches your audience’s eye.

Your subscriber's name is a straightforward subject line addition to boost your open rate. Personalized subject lines are up to 50% more likely to be opened. As long as you ask subscribers for their names upon signup, adding names into subject lines and emails is simple.

While personalization can improve open rates, the day of the week you hit send doesn’t have an impact. A review of ConvertKit creator open rates for every day of the week revealed slight variations in success, but not enough to alter your strategy.

Email marketing statistics
Rather than trying to find a magical day of the week to send your emails, focus on consistency. Letting subscribers know when they’ll hear from you, and sticking to it, lets them know when to expect your message.

Click rates for creators in 2022 are around 6%

After subscribers open your email, you want them to read what you’ve written and click through to your website or landing page. The click rate, also called your click-through rate, compares how many people received your message and clicked a link within it.

In January 2022, the average click-through rate across ConvertKit users was 5.8%.

Email marketing statistics

The higher your click rate, the more people read your latest blog posts, check out your new course, or listen to your podcast episode. On top of making your emails more compelling for readers, cleaning your list of inactive subscribers can boost your email performance. You can try to re-engage cold subscribers, but it’s okay to delete subscribers who no longer open or engage with your email.

Most marketers use automation to send emails at the right time

Your subscribers are individuals, which means they need unique emails. Before you panic, we’re not suggesting keeping tabs on every subscriber’s journey and handwriting messages. If you want to create a personalized experience at scale, email automations are your best friend.

Email automation lets you create an email sequence once and send it to subscribers at precisely the moment they need it, automatically. For example, you can send a welcome message immediately after someone signs up for your newsletter. Or, you can remind a potential customer that your sale only lasts for another day.

There are many ways to use email automation to engage with your subscribers, and fellow creators and marketers do it every day. A Litmus study showed that nearly 8 out of 10 brands send an automated welcome email.

Email marketing statistics

Segmenting your audience helps you organize offers

Another way to make your content more relevant is by segmenting subscribers. Segmentation involves grouping your audience by interest, skill level, location, or preference.

64% of email marketers who personalize emails use customer segmentation as the basis.

What does email segmentation look like for creators? It could be a food blogger with separate welcome email sequences for vegetarians and meat-eaters. Or a fitness coach who asks people to rate their fitness level to send workouts that fit the subscriber’s needs. ConvertKit geotargeting allows musicians to group their audience by location, making it easy to promote upcoming events only to locals.

ConvertKit tags vs segments

Tagging subscribers helps you identify details about a person. For example, you could tag a subscriber as someone who purchased a particular ebook or signed up for a webinar. Then, you can create a segment that includes multiple tags. If you wanted a segment for your most engaged users, you could include people who have bought a product and watched a webinar and signed up for your book’s pre-order.

Create a better subscriber experience

The supporting player to all of your email goals, like engagement and sales, is the subscriber experience. Not only do you want to be respectful and helpful to subscribers, but a positive email experience boosts your chances of making it into the inbox in the first place. Here’s how.

Delivery rates should be near perfect

Each time you send an email, it has to pass through a few hoops to make it into your subscribers’ inbox. If the email address you’re sending to is valid, it counts as a delivery.

The delivery rate across all ConvertKit users was 99.8% in January 2022.

Email marketing statistics

That means nearly every email a creator sent went to a valid email address. Maintaining a high-quality list (read: don’t buy your email contacts) and removing inactive subscribers ensures fewer bounces.

Of course, an email could be delivered yet end up in the dreaded spam folder. The rate at which your emails avoid the spam filter is your deliverability rate. The higher, the better. Your best defense against the spam folder is an email service provider with high delivery rates and standards, plus sending quality content to confirmed subscribers.

The technical side of email can be intimidating, but the Deliverability Defined podcast demystifies what it takes to make it to the inbox. Browse all episodes here.

Unsubscribe rates under 1% are the norm for creators

You want to retain as many subscribers as possible and aim for an unsubscribe rate that’s nearly zero.

The average unsubscribe rate across all ConvertKit emails was 0.0012% in September 2021.

It’s important to remember that unsubscribers aren’t always a bad thing. Alyssa Dulin, Deliverability and Compliance Manager at ConvertKit, shared,

Alyssa Dulin ConvertKitUnsubscribes are not personal, but they’re beneficial to both the subscriber and you. If someone doesn’t want to be on your email list, you don’t want them there. Having people on your list who don’t actually want to be there is guaranteed to damage your deliverability, ultimately hurting your ability to reach those people who do want to be on your list.
-Alyssa Dulin

While you may be sad to see subscribers go, remember that every unsubscribe is an opportunity to learn. You can create a survey to ask people why they no longer want to receive your emails.

It’s a good idea to check on your unsubscribe rate from time to time to make sure it isn’t trending upward. Rising unsubscribe rates could indicate there’s a misalignment between your content and audience. A sudden spike would also be cause for investigation.

Spam reports

While unsubscribes can feel discouraging, the real enemy is a spam complaint. Someone marking your email as spam could signal that they’re very unhappy with the content. Thankfully, ConvertKit users had an average spam complaint rate of 0.01% in January 2022, and a rate under 0.10% is generally considered healthy.

On top of maintaining quality in your emails, ensuring you always have an unsubscribe option keeps spam complaints at bay. If someone wants to leave your list but doesn’t see an easy opportunity to do that, they may jump to extremes and mark you as spam.

Boost revenue with email marketing

“Build it, and they will come” isn’t a good marketing strategy for most of us. So, creators turn to email marketing to promote their products and services. It’s a good idea to track the effectiveness of every promotional channel, though, so you know what to double down on and what to leave behind.

The ROI of email

Email pays.

For every $1 spent on email marketing, brands earn $35 in sales. Considering that you can start growing an email list for free, that kind of revenue potential is eye-catching. So, it’s no surprise that creators use email marketing to sell to their audience and see positive returns.

For example, Shelby Abrahamson of Little Coffee Fox attributes 80% of all sales to email marketing.

Measuring ROI for email takes some pre-planning, and 61% of marketers don’t have a clear view of their email marketing ROI. The best way to measure the impact of email marketing on your sales as a creator is by connecting your email marketing tool to Google Analytics.

Want to sell more? Check out this on-demand webinar about creating a product launch funnel that converts.

Creator revenue through ConvertKit Commerce increased 500% from 2020 to 2021

Email marketing statistics

While we don’t have a view into the ROI of most ConvertKit creators, we can share how much they earn with ConvertKit Commerce.

Want to be inspired by what’s possible? Check out these creator earning stats.

  • ConvertKit creators earned $4,154,310 via Commerce in 2021
  • Creator revenue through Commerce increased 500% from December 2020 to December 2021
  • Average value of a Commerce transaction: $116
  • Average earnings per creator for 2021: $1,367
  • Recurring payments currently represent 35% of sales but this number has grown a lot in the last year (we started 2021 at about 11%)

If there’s one thing that the success of ConvertKit creators proves, it’s that the creator economy is on the rise. More creators are using more emails to sell more products. This year you can create a new product, set up a paid newsletter, test out affiliate marketing.

Email marketing is a natural fit for creators

Creators offer their audience insights, experience, personality, and knowledge, and an email list is a perfect place to share consistently. More creators than ever are using ConvertKit to start, manage, and grow their email list. ConvertKit Commerce also makes it easy to sell digital products from the same dashboard.

Ready to grow? Learn more about ConvertKit and start a free trial today.

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Steph Knapp

Steph Knapp is a freelance B2B + SaaS content marketer that loves educating and empowering curious humans. When she's not typing away, you'll find her volunteering at the animal shelter and obsessing over a new hobby every week. She shares marketing, freelance, and cat content on Twitter @ hellostephknapp.

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