How Long Does It Take To Make Money Through Email Marketing?

By taking appropriate measures respective to what stage your business is at, its structure, and the acquisition channel that shapes the trajectory of the business revenue, most businesses can see a strong increase in revenue within three months of starting email marketing!

Robbie Fitzwater
Updated on

Before entering the realm of email marketing, many marketers are usually concerned about one thing, how long till they start generating good revenue if they start investing in email marketing. And my usual response is that it generally depends. 

Email marketing is connected to many things in a business. For example, the type of business you’re running, its audience, and much more. Hence the question of how fast this tree will start bearing fruits depends on multiple factors. 

In this article, I will walk you through these factors and how these factors can decide your revenue trajectory. We will also talk about aligning all these factors smartly and thoughtfully so you get the most out of your email marketing.

  1. Variables That Affect E-mail Marketing
  2. What Is The Structure of Your Business?
  3. What Does Your Acquisition Channel Look Like?
  4. What Is The Stage Of Your Business?
  5. What Do You Need To Be Successful In Email Marketing?
    1. Promo Strategy
    2. Long-term Mindset
  6. Takeaways

So without further delay, let’s get started!

Variables That Affect E-mail Marketing

Before deciding on what kind of strategies to use for email marketing, it is crucial that you know about the main variables and factors that affect email marketing. A few of those are listed below:

  1. How long have you been in this business?
  2. How many customers have you dealt with since then?
  3. How strong is your acquisition?
  4. What does your product lifecycle look like?

Understanding these factors is essential to determine the type of email marketing that best fits your business structure. Based on this understanding, you can set realistic expectations for your email marketing strategies. This also helps to develop the trajectory of the business in terms of time scale and how fast you will generate revenue through email marketing.

If you’ve been investing in other areas of marketing and haven’t considered email marketing yet, it’s time to reassess. There are probably accessible and rewarding opportunities in email marketing, often called ‘low-hanging fruits.’ These can provide easy wins for your business strategy.

What Is The Structure of Your Business?

This is one of the significant things to look at first because many things in email marketing will depend on your business, how it’s structured, and what it looks like. 

  1. Your product life cycle

First, consider your sales cycle, thinking about how replenishable your product is and whether its life cycle is consistent. For example, is it coffee that your customers will need month after month? Or is it a mattress the customer will replace around every eight to ten years? 

Thus, understanding the product lifecycle is essential because your strategic mix may need to coincide in these areas. If you sell mattresses, your revenue through email may be less significant because you may have a different type of retention revenue than you want. 

However, if you work strategically, you could offer other product categories that involve sleeping complimentary to what you’re already offering to maintain that revenue. So it’s crucial that you think about everything; only that way can you understand what will work in email marketing. 

  1. Your product catalog 

Offering complimentary products also enlarges your product catalog, another thing to consider in email marketing. How extensive your product catalog is, makes things more interesting.

For example, a product catalog with many different options that complement specific behaviors or specific audiences you may be serving can be a way to get people back in the store. So, offering a replenishable product with your mattresses will give you a reason to pull people back in and retain that audience.

So if you’re a reseller or have an extensive product offering that serves a few different audiences or some segments well, that’s a great way to think about where you’re focusing.

What Does Your Acquisition Channel Look Like?

Next, you have another thing to consider here, i.e., what does the acquisition channel for your marketing look like? If you have zero traffic or no new people coming to your store, it will be hard to do much with email marketing.

You can monetize the existing audience as much as you want, but you will need new traffic to help you continue with that growth path. You have to have some of the audience on the front end that compliments and supplements what you’re already doing.

What Is The Stage Of Your Business?

Most of your email marketing’s success depends on the stage your business is on. Such as looking at whether your business is new to email marketing where you don’t have anything. Is it in the evolving stage where you have a little bit going, or are you advanced?  

So let’s look at these three categories and how email marketing aligns with each stage.

  1. New 

For the businesses new to email marketing where you’re just fresh out of the gate, are just getting started in this new category, and most importantly, have no actual campaigns or automations ready. You will have to begin with a warm-up session that could last for a month at least.

Warm-up period 

In this warm-up session, you will email some of your automations to your highly engaged segment first to warm up your audience, for whom getting these emails from you would be a new experience, and secondly, to ensure you warm up your email service provider too. 

This basically ensures that Google or Gmail knows you’re not a shady scheme or a money-extracting scam trying to steal money from people’s accounts. You’re a reputable sender and a reputable business that Gmail can trust. 

So this whole process of warming up can take at least a month, during which you will build some automations and get those up and running, such as building and running a welcome flow or an abandoned cart sequence, all of which will be important for your e-commerce businesses. 

These should be highly frequent sends and contextual so they get opened and clicked more often, making the warming process go much more smoothly. And once you get through this process smoothly and have the wheels turning, know that you have a big jump and a big curve to climb ahead.

Especially for businesses that haven’t been investing in email, they see a steep growth trajectory because suddenly, where in the past, they weren’t focusing a lot on customer retention, they are now bringing many people back in, ultimately growing the business base.


A business should expect its email marketing and clients to generate an ideal amount of about 30 to 45% of total e-commerce revenue. If you can get in that sweet spot range, then that’s an excellent place to be, but we don’t want it to exceed this because then that would mean you’re a little too dependent on email, and at this stage, you don’t have strong enough acquisition channel to prop up the rest of the business.

Revenue from email marketing

So you will have at least a month before going live with this introduction and where you will make some money. But as we discussed earlier, it depends on two main factors: the product catalog and the product cycle. 

If you have an extensive product catalog or a faster repurchase cycle, then you can expect a quicker return because you start to reengage your audience; however, if the product catalog is smaller and the repurchase cycle is longer, the trajectory may look a little bit less steep, but you can still get that up and running pretty fast.

Email marketing passive income

Throughout the process, you are going to work with campaigns and automations. The combination of both these emails will warm up your audience well and help you start generating revenue. 

Think about this as if this were an average-earning person. Along with his daily job, he has a side business for passive income. Similarly, your automations are your side business from where that passive income consistently comes in revenue. And the more automations you add, the more passive income you get.

On the other hand, your campaigns are what you’re again earning for a salary that requires labor and hard work. So both of these will work for you well to drive that long-term growth.

  1. Evolving

The next business stage is the evolving stage. 

This is where a business typically has some campaigns going. Those campaigns may need to be more consistent, and the business may be heavy on promotional campaigns only, but at least it has them up and running. 

With that, the business may also have a couple of low-level automations, which would be sub-optimized, but you still have them running anyway. So all of this means that at this stage, you won’t have to go through that warming process trying to build from scratch.    

You may have a steep growth trajectory at this stage, although it could be more steep. You can complement and supplement what you already have to make the most out of it. This approach can help maximize your potential for further growth.

You already have some level of revenue to work off of. With that one-month process, you’re probably working primarily on those low-hanging fruit automations to build them further and strengthen them to ensure that you can drive the revenue you want to see, i.e., between 10 and 15% of the total e-commerce revenue. So as I said earlier, this is again a low-hanging fruit that can be plucked without much heavy lifting.

Tightening up email cadence 

The next step involves refining your campaign cadence and regularly introducing new automation strategies. This process requires making sure that your campaigns run smoothly and on schedule. In addition, frequent automation updates must be implemented, ensuring they are well-integrated and efficient.

An efficient way of using these campaigns is by segmenting them in a very valuable way. You can start collecting first-party data through popover windows, form onboarding forms, or the VIP sequences. These will help you drive more consistent revenue, which you may see growing further as you ensure campaigns are solidified and stable.

Effective pop overs is one of the way to improve your email marketing efforts

So even though the first month is essential, within three months, you should start seeing a pretty good return on anything because introducing these automations is just a shift outwards in terms of increasing revenue possibilities. Then you can be able to make those campaigns more consistent. And then, over time, when you’re introducing new automations, that can push the revenue right up. As I mentioned, these passive income streams add up over time.

This is how you can strategically use the automations. 

  1. Advanced

The last category we will discuss is the advanced stage. At this point, you’re already running various types of automations and campaigns and have established some credibility regarding email with your audience.

To enhance profitability, we aim to guide you in improving your strategies. We will walk you through various methods to adjust and tweak things for better results.

Optimizing automations 

Starting with high-level automations is a good initial approach. However, you might find opportunities for optimization within the first month or two of implementation. For instance, you might have concerns about being too aggressive with your email-sending frequency. This fear often stems from the worry of overwhelming inboxes and potentially scaring the customers away. 

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Optimization is crucial, and a part of it involves deciding the number of emails to include in a single automation series. Furthermore, the creation of automation sequences is of paramount importance. The most effective automations are highly contextual and tailored based on your customers’ behavior.

These emails won’t be frustrating for the customers as they would be very well customized, super tailored, and highly relevant. In this way, you can get away with more emails through automations by ensuring they are valuable and informative.

Incorporate content in your emails

You can also try different things here. For example, this is the right time and place to incorporate content into your automations and campaigns to give things a different value proposition than just promotions. Incorporating content allows you to test and experiment with your audience segments. This can help determine what works best for each segment. Based on these findings, you can then focus on improving your automations to enhance performance.

So this prevents cutting off that profit and can help you make more money. Thus, in other words, your bottom line revenue will go up in terms of profitability, but your top line revenue may grow a little only because we’re successfully saving 15 to 20% on the margin. It makes things powerful and fruitful.

Moreover, the optimization process of using forms and popovers can also help you in many other beneficial ways. They ideally take two to three months to show their results. You may start getting better insights from your segments. This can help you capture more data on what will drive what action from one form versus the other and understand your audience more closely. And then, you can use this data and start incorporating SMS into this process. 

Effective pop overs is one of the way to improve your email marketing

Incorporate SMS

SMS is incorporated differently into email marketing based on the business type. For evolving business, it can be incorporated after four months. We can add SMS two or three months in for an established brand because they have a credible and trustworthy relationship with their audience.

Both SMS and emails work hand in hand. The former is more intimate, making the existing subscribers’ wrists vibrate and getting immediate action, whereas the latter is a bit more of a slow burn. So as a savvy marketer, you can use these both in conjunction to drive action. Especially from VIPs or consistently engaged audiences because those are the audiences that let things work out well.

To sum it up, we have seen that all three business stages are new, evolving, and advanced. The first month can be an easy win and a smooth process, mainly because of the automations. But for new businesses, you must go through the warm-up process first and not start shooting from the hip. This warm-up stage ensures you don’t start by hitting the spam folder. That can be a huge drawback for your brand in the future.

Along with automations, you can drive more through campaigns and get steep growth over time. However, the new and evolving businesses will have a more steep growth trajectory than the new ones. 

It should take three months for any stage to start seeing solid gains for everything you do using automations and campaigns. After that, you keep adding new automations and improving your work. This approach provides you with an extended runway to generate passive income. It also allows you to evolve and modify your engagement strategies with your audience. Through this, your campaigns can become more effective and targeted.

Adding to everything, you can also use content strategy and build new content or reuse the ones already created earlier. This strategy provides another easy win that enhances performance. It achieves this without compromising profit margins by constantly offering discounts and incentives.

What Do You Need To Be Successful In Email Marketing?

Other than the main factors we discussed earlier, there are some other minor but important aspects to consider in email marketing. 

Promo Strategy

One is the promo strategy and how you’ll ease off that heavy promotional hand that is full all the time- for instance, planning on injecting different sales peaks into your marketing calendar instead of consistent product promotions all the time.

Perhaps you’re considering planning a significant promotion every six to eight weeks, more prominent than your regular bi-weekly events. The aim of this could be to attract a substantial audience or help to drive more revenue. 

Long-term Mindset

But another factor to think about here is the long-term mindset. You must also be able to think strategically and try to grow your business long-term instead of setting only the short-term gains. 

And when you do that, you have to ensure that you’re not sacrificing and training your audience to expect discounts and sales all the time. That means you’re compromising on your margins and hurting your business in the long run.

So to prevent that, you can think about the third factor that can make your email marketing successful: sending content. It can help you play a valuable role in your customer’s eyes and can help you expedite that process without sacrificing margin. This provides you an excuse to reach out to your audience for purposes other than sales or promotions.

Email marketing

The better insights you have into your audience, the more valuable content you can send them to keep them engaged and hooked to your brand.

There are several other variables that, while not directly impacting, can play a significant role in determining what will work. They can also choose what won’t work. Understanding these factors can provide insights into the workings of your strategies. This understanding can also guide you in making incremental improvements to your approach.


The first month in any business stage can bring good gains if things are done strategically. After three months, you can see substantial gains from your established automated processes and campaigns. These results can manifest in the form of desired outcomes. Over time, you’ll gain better control and understanding of these systems, optimizing them for your business needs. You can continue to improve that process and understand what outcomes you want to create and how you want to bring them to life.

Ultimately, the main goal here is to reach that band of 30-45% of e-commerce revenue earned through your email marketing only. It is an excellent place to be; if you can do that, you can know you’re doing things right. And then, at that point, you can feel confident enough to incorporate SMS into your email marketing ecosystem too.

So this is the holistic view of things and a holistic strategy that can help you thrive in this business. It can help you generate the kind of revenue you couldn’t earlier. As we said earlier, email marketing is the passive income every business can enjoy.

I hope this article provided you with valuable insights. With the guidance provided here, I trust you can build the email marketing ecosystem that suits your needs. If you have more questions, let us know, and remember to give your feedback below too!

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