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 that 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?

It’s important that you understand these things so you can figure out what kind of email marketing you can fit into the structure of your business and set expectations according to that. This also helps to set the trajectory of the business in terms of time scale and how fast you will generate revenue through email marketing

So if you have already been investing in other areas of marketing and have yet to consider investing in email marketing, then know that there are likely easy low-hanging fruits available for you!

What Is The Structure of Your Business?

This is one of the major 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 are going to need month after month? Or is it a mattress the customer will replace around every eight to ten years? 

Thus, understanding what the product lifecycle will be like is important because these are areas where your strategic mix may need to coincide. If  you sell mattresses, your revenue through email may be less great 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 large your product catalog is, makes things more interesting.

For example, a product catalog that has lots of 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 a large 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 real 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 be emailing some of your automations to your highly engaged segment first to warm up your audience too, for whom getting these emails from you would be a new experience, and secondly to make sure you warm up your email service provider too. 

This is basically to ensure that Google or Gmail knows that 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 highly contextual so that 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 base of the business. 


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 a good 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.

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: product catalog and product cycle. 

If you have a large product catalog or a faster repurchase cycle, then you can expect a faster 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, but not as steep as it could be, so you can get the most out of it by complimenting and supplementing what you already have.

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 

Next, you can start tightening up your cadence of campaigns and also a cadence of introducing new automations frequently, making sure that both are streamlined and buttoned up.

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.

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So even though the first month is important, 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 shifting the revenue possibilities up. 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 in which you’re already running various types of automations and campaigns and have established some credibility in terms of email with your audience.

However, having built that credibility, we see that many groups are still sitting in the promotional category of the customer’s inbox. They spend a lot of time and effort on automations but still can’t get out of that promo trap. They also make money staying in the promotions category, but they’re not as profitable in the long run.

So to make things better and more profitable, we will walk you through some ways to start adjusting and changing things a little bit. 

Optimizing automations 

You can start at a high level with automations, but you may have some optimizing you can do with automations in the first month or two. For instance, you may be worried about getting too aggressive with the sending because everyone fears blowing people’s inboxes and scaring the customers away. 

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So it would be best to optimize that by deciding how many emails to put in a single series of automations and, most importantly, setting up automations that are super contextual based on the 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 really 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 your campaigns to give things a different value proposition than just promotions.

So this is one way of getting off that promotion bandwagon and finding a more valuable excuse to send more to the audience without burning them out. Adding the content will let you do a bit of testing and experiment with your segments to see what performs best for whom and then work to improve those automations.

In this stage, you will have the same trajectory as the evolving stage but not as steep. Here, you are trying to retain our audience and increase their lifetime value, which will be profitable for the business by retaining the audience through valuable content instead of sacrificing your profit on discounts and incentives. 

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, and by that time, 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. 

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 the SMS and emails work hand in hand, the former being more intimate, making the existing subscribers’ wrists vibrate and getting immediate action from them, whereas the latter is a bit more of a slow burn. So as a smart 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 all up, we have seen that for all three business stages, the new, the evolving, and the advanced, the first month can be an easy win and a smooth process, especially 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, which can be a huge drawback for your brand in the future.

Along with automations, you will also be able to 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. 

For any stage, it should take three months to start seeing strong gains for all of the things you do using automations and campaigns. After that, you keep adding new automations and improving on what you’re already doing. This gives you more and more runway to make that passive income and also a way to evolve and modify the way you’re engaging our audience through campaigns.

Adding to everything, you can also use content strategy and build new content or reuse the ones already created earlier. This is another easy win that helps you improve performance without compromising on the margin by always sending 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. 

Or maybe you want to plan a promotion once every six to eight weeks that’s bigger than what you do every other week so that you can drive a good volume of audience or 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. 

The better insights you have into your audience, the more valuable content you will be able to send them that will keep them engaged and hooked to your brand

So these are a few other variables that aren’t necessarily directly impacting things but can always factor in and help you understand what will work, and what will not, and also assists you in understanding how you can improve incrementally.


The first month in any business stage can bring good gains if things are done strategically. Then three months in, you can get stronger gains in the form of desired results from the automations and campaigns you built, and over time, you get the handle on it. 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 a really solid place to be; if you’re able to do that, you can know you’re doing things right. And then, at that point, you can also 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 in terms of generating the kind of revenue you couldn’t earlier. As we said earlier, email marketing is the passive income every business can enjoy.   

Hopefully, you got some good insights from this article, and hopefully, you’ll be able to build the email marketing ecosystem you want with the help of this article. If you have more questions, let us know, and remember to give your feedback below too!

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