We surveyed 1,200 business owners to better understand the current state of the SEO services industry.
In this new report you’ll learn:
How much people spend on SEO.
Where people find SEO services.
Why people choose one agency over another.
Why people decide to leave their current SEO provider.
Without further ado, let’s get into our findings.
Highlights and Key Statistics:
1. American small businesses spend an average of $497.16 per month on SEO services.
2. We found a strong correlation between higher spending and higher client satisfaction. In fact, clients that spent over $500/month were 53.3% more likely to be “extremely satisfied” compared to those that spent less than $500/month.
3. Most small business owners find SEO providers through referrals, Google searches and online reviews. A small fraction of SEO clients (8%) found their current provider from online advertising.
4. When it comes to choosing a provider, 74% of business owners consider an SEO provider’s reputation “very” or “extremely” important. Monthly cost and the provider’s own Google rankings were also noted as important factors.
5. On the other hand, an agency’s presence on social media and client case studies were seen as relatively unimportant factors in deciding who to work with.
6. Most small business owners expect SEO agencies to help them drive immediate growth to their customer base and bottom line. Specifically, 83% of our respondents stated that SEO providers should be able to help them “access new customers”.
7. However, most small business owners don’t seem to value a provider’s ability to grow a social media following. In fact, only 26% of respondents cited “getting followers on social media sites” as extremely important.
8. Overall SEO client satisfaction is decidedly low. Only 30% would recommend their current SEO provider to a friend or colleague. However, we found that client satisfaction among marketing agencies was higher than freelancers.
9. Not surprisingly, clients are highly satisfied with SEO providers that help them get more traffic and customers. Also, 61% of business owners cite that “increasing brand awareness” is important to them.
10. An SEO provider’s location also seems to play a key role in whether or not a client chooses to work with or stay with an SEO agency. 78% of US-based small business owners consider their provider’s location a “very” or “extremely” important consideration.
11. 44% of small business owners leave their current SEO provider largely due to “Dissatisfaction with business results”. 34% cite “customer service/ responsiveness” as a key reason they left. Only 21% leave because they were pitched by a competitor.
12. SEO provider turnover is high. 65% of our panel stated that they’ve worked with several different SEO providers. 25% have worked with 3 or more providers.
We have more detailed and expanded findings on our results below.
Average Monthly SEO Spend is <$500 Per Month
On average, small businesses spend $497.16 per month on SEO services.
However, we did discover a large range in SEO spending. Half of our respondents reported that they spend less than $1,000 per year on SEO. 14% spend $5k+ per year. Only 2% spend over $25k/year.
We also found that agencies tend to get paid significantly more than freelance SEO providers.
Specifically, agencies were 2x more likely to get paid $1k-$2k/month than freelancers, which mostly get paid in the $500-$1k per month range.
Agencies also tend to dominate the high-end pricing range (clients that spend $10k-$25k/year on SEO).
As you can see, 24% of small businesses that work with agencies spend between $10k-$25k/year, compared with 2% that work with a freelance SEO.
Key Takeaway: The average small business owner spends $497.16 per month on SEO services. Also, small business owners spend considerably more with SEO agencies than freelance SEO providers.
Monthly Spend Is Tied To Client Satisfaction
When it comes to SEO, do you “get what you pay for”?
According to our data, yes.
Specifically, we discovered that clients spending over $500/month were 53.3% more likely to consider themselves “extremely satisfied” compared to people that spend less than $500/month.
We also found a clear relationship between dissatisfaction levels and cost.
Specifically, business owners that spent less than $500/month were 75% more likely to be dissatisfied than those that invested at least $500/month on SEO.
This relationship played out whether a client worked with a freelancer, agency, or a mix of both.
Key Takeaway: Small business owners that spend more than $500/month are significantly happier with their SEO provider than those that spend less than $500/month.
Referrals and Google Searches Are the Top Ways Businesses Are Finding SEOs
When someone wants to hire an SEO agency, where do they look?
According to our panel, most people find potential SEO service providers through word of mouth, Google searches and online review platforms (like Yelp).
On the other hand, relatively few find SEO providers through online or offline advertising, or referrals from other vendors (like web designers or writers).
If you’re an agency owner or a freelancer, this is a key finding. If you know where small business owners look to find SEO service providers, you can invest resources to make sure your business has a presence in those places.
Key Takeaway: 28% of small business owners find SEO services through word of mouth, 26% use Google and 18% use online review platforms like Yelp. Only 11% find SEO providers via online or offline advertising.
Reputation and Cost are Key Factors Involved In Choosing a Provider
Once someone finds a list of potential providers, how do they decide which one to go with?
We discovered that reputation, cost and a provider’s own Google rankings influenced their decision the most.
Small business owners cited client case studies and the provider’s social media presence as significantly less important.
However, even these relatively minor factors played a role in whether or not someone decided to work with a particular SEO provider. For example, 55% of our panel cited “referrals” as an important consideration.
Although the importance of referrals pales in comparison to a provider’s reputation (55% vs. 74%), it’s still something that influenced more than half of the people we spoke to.
Interestingly, we found that a provider’s location mattered quite a bit.
Only 51% knew exactly where their SEO provider was located.
However, 78% of US-based small businesses stated that knowing their provider’s location was “extremely” or “very” important (with 46% stating that a known location was “extremely important”).
If you provide SEO services, making your location clear and obvious may help you land more SEO clients.
Here’s a great example from Siege Media, who actually includes a picture of their office on their about page:
Key Takeaway: Small business owners largely decide on an SEO provider based on their online reputation. Location also seems to play a role. 78% our panel noted that location was a factor that helped them decide whether or not to work with an agency or freelancer.
The Vast Majority of Business Owners Expect SEO Services To Increase Customers and Traffic
We asked our panel about their expectations. Specifically, we asked them which benefits from working with an SEO provider were most important to them.
They stated that “accessing new customers”, “increasing traffic”, “increasing brand awareness” and “building trust” as most important.
“Gaining social media followers”, “increasing number of email subscribers” and “helping to attract new talent” were cited as relatively unimportant.
In fact, even though this is a common goal set by marketing agencies, only 18% of respondents cited “getting followers on social media sites” as extremely important.
What’s the average open rate? And how do subject lines impact open rates? This list of email marketing stats from key industry studies has the answers.
A study by Experian found that email subject lines with an emoji increased open rates by 56%, as compared to text-only subject lines (Campaign Monitor)
Emails with personalized subject lines get a 26% boost in open rates (Campaign Monitor)
47% of email recipients will open your email based solely on the subject line (OptinMonster)
82% of marketers send emails with no more than 60 characters in the subject line (Convince & Convert)
Only the first 30 characters of a subject line are visible on the iPhone email app (Yola)
The words “free”, “help”, “percent off”, and “reminder” in a subject line have been found to negatively impact open rates (Unbounce)
Including a recipient’s name in your email subject line increases open rates by up to 18.30% (SuperOffice)
The average open rate for emails sent in North America is 19.49% (GetResponse)
Emails related to Hobbies, Government, and Arts/Artists have the highest open rates (MailChimp)
64% of email recipients say they would open an email based on if they trusted the brand (marketing charts)
Only 6.9% of email subject lines contain an emoji (AWeber)
Not sure if you’re sending too many emails? Companies see highest open rates when sending 2 emails per month (techjury)
Chapter 2: Clickthrough Rates
Once you get someone to open your email, a big part of your job is already done. That said, there’s no point in getting someone to open your message if they don’t click on anything, right? And these list of data points will help you get more clicks on every email that you send.
Including videos in your email can increase clickthrough rates by up to 300% (Martech Advisor)
The average click-to-open rate for emails sent in North America is 13.74% (GetResponse)
Adding a call-to-action button in your emails instead of simply a text link can lead to a 28% increase in click-throughs (Campaign Monitor)
The more images an email has, the more the clickthrough rate tends to decline (HubSpot)
Chapter 3: Email on Mobile
It’s no secret that more and more people are opening emails on phones and tablets than ever before. In fact, one study found that approximately half (49%) of all emails are opened on a mobile device. This has led to an entire field of “mobile email marketing”. So to get the most out of the emails that you send, it’s important that they’re optimized for mobile devices.
Mobile devices account for 49% of all read emails ()
In 2019, 34.8% of emails are read on iPhone, compared to 8.2% on Android (Adestra)
According to Google, 75% of Gmail users use their mobile device to access their accounts (Tech Crunch)
One out of every 3 clicks in an email is registered on a mobile device (Campaign Monitor)
In 2019, 62% of email campaigns are being opened on a mobile device, compared to 10% on desktop (Adestra)
42.3% of people will delete an email if it’s not optimized for mobile (SaleCycle)
If an email is read on mobile and then read for a second time on desktop, that consumer has a 65% higher likelihood of clicking through. (Campaign Monitor)
23% of consumers who open an email on a mobile device will open that email again later (Campaign Monitor)
69% of web customers are influenced by a company’s emails to make a purchase from their smartphone (Disruptive Advertising)
Chapter 4: Spam Stats
How do you make sure your legitimate email marketing messages get into someone’s inbox? These stats will help you send people messages that they actually want… which is the key to staying out of the spam folder in 2019.
69% of email recipients can use the subject line to tell if it is spam (OptinMonster)
Only sending emails to subscribers who have opened or clicked one of your emails in the last 6 months will help you decrease the number of emails that end up in the spam folder (LinkedIn)
45% of all emails sent are considered spam (Spam Laws)
14.5 billion spam emails are sent every day (Spam Laws)
For every 12.5 million spam emails sent, 1 will get a response (TechRadar)
China is ranked #1 in most live spam issues, followed by the US and then Russia (Spamhaus)
Chapter 5: Segmentation & Personalization
Segmentation is the hot new thing in email marketing right now. And for good reason: segmenting can help you get better open rates, click-through-rates and conversions. It can even lead to fewer spam complaints. Just how helpful is segmentation? These personalization-focused email marketing stats have the answer.
Segmented email campaigns achieve 14.31% higher open rates than non-segmented email campaigns (Mailchimp)
Trigger-based emails perform 3x better than nurture and batch emails (imagination)
Segmented email campaigns also earn 100.95% higher clickthrough rates as compared to non-segmented email campaigns (Mailchimp)
33% of companies segment their customers by demographics or behavior and exclusively market to them through email campaigns (Demand Gen Report)
When using proper targeting, marketers can drive 3x the revenue per email as compared to broadcasting (ClickZ)
Email personalization produces 6x higher revenue and transaction rates (Experian)
Chapter 6: B2C Email Marketing Statistics
Are you in a B2C business? If so, then you’ll love the stats in this chapter. These facts and figures focused the B2C and ecommerce segments. Specifically, you’ll learn how, when and where consumers want emails from you. And how to get the most from the emails that you send to a B2C audience.
Shopping cart abandonment emails sent 1 hour after the user leaves your site are the most effective, converting 6.33% of shoppers (Convince & Convert)
39% of digital retailers distribute personalized product recommendations to their subscribers through email. (Certona)
Roughly one in three US retail email list subscribers have purchased something from the brand whose emails they receive (eMarketer)
Consumers check personal email for an average of 2.5 hours each weekday while at work (Convince & Convert)
42.3% of Americans subscribe to email lists to receive savings and discounts (elevently)
Sending 3 abandon cart emails yields 69% more orders than 1 email abandon cart campaigns (Omnisend)
Consumers believe email is more likely to be around in 10 years than facebook, Twitter, and cable television (Litmus)
Chapter 7: B2B Email Marketing
You probably already know that B2B email marketing is a VERY different beast than B2C. Yes, there’s some overlap (for example, tactics for staying out of the spam filter are basically the same). That said, B2B people tend to want and need different emails at different times. Plus, the ROI from B2B emails tends to be higher than in B2C.
B2B marketing emails see a 23% higher click-to-open ratio than B2C emails (emfluence)
This chapter is all about email engagement. Specifically, you’ll get access to a boatload of stats on why email marketing converts so well… and how to get even more value out of the newsletters and promotional emails that you send.
A case study by Monetate found that 4.24% of email marketing traffic will make a purchase compared to 2.49% of search engine traffic and .59% of traffic from social media (The American Genius)
The top 3 reasons people choose to unsubscribe from an email list: too many emails (59%), info no longer relevant (43%), or don’t recognize brand or remember signing up (43%) (OptinMonster)
The best day of the week to send a marketing email is Tuesday. Thursday is the second best day to send an email (CoSchedule)
The best time of day to send an email is 10am (CoSchedule)
QuickSprout found that email subscribers are 3.9x more likely to share your content on social media (QuickSprout)
54% of marketing influencers cite increasing email engagement rate as a top priority (Ascend2)
Chapter 9: Email Marketing ROI
When it comes to ROI, email marketing CRUSHES social media. And there’s plenty of data to back this up. And in this chapter I’ll cover a handful of recent stats that show just how profitable email is compared to other popular digital marketing channels (like Facebook and Twitter).
About 50% of Americans check their email while in bed and 42% check it in the bathroom (TechCrunch)
I hope you enjoyed this list of email marketing statistics. This list of ALWAYS kept up to date. And we add new stats on a regular basis. So check back soon for even more interesting facts, figures, quotes and stats.
We analyzed 12 million outreach emails to answer the question:
What’s working in the world of email outreach right now?
We looked at subject lines. We looked at personalization. We even looked at follow-up sequences.
Along with our data partner for this study, Pitchbox, we uncovered a number of interesting findings.
Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:
1. The vast majority of outreach messages are ignored. Only 8.5% of outreach emails receive a response.
2. Outreach emails with long subject lines have a 24.6% higher average response rate compared to those with short subject lines.
3. Follow-ups appear to significantly improve response rates. Emailing the same contact multiple times leads to 2x more responses.
4. Reaching out to multiple contacts can also lead to more success. The response rate of messages sent to several contacts is 93% higher than messages sent to a single person.
5. Personalized subject lines boost response rate by 30.5%. Therefore, personalizing subject lines appears to have a large impact on outreach campaign results.
6. Personalizing outreach email body content also seems to be an effective way to increase response rates. Emails with personalized message bodies have a 32.7% better response rate than those that don’t personalize their messages.
7. Wednesday is the “best” day to send outreach emails. Saturday is the worst. However, we didn’t find an especially large difference in response rates between different days that messages were sent.
8. Linking to social profiles in email signatures may result in better response rates. Twitter was correlated with an 8.2% increase, LinkedIn an 11.5% increase, and Instagram a 23.4% increase.
9. The most successful outreach campaigns reach out to multiple contacts multiple times. Email sequences with multiple attempts and multiple contacts boost response rates by 160%.
10. Certain types of outreach get higher response rates than others. Outreach messages related to guest posting, roundups and links have an especially high response rate.
We have details and additional data from our study below.
Most Outreach Emails Are Ignored or Deleted
You may have heard that it’s challenging to get people to reply to cold outreach emails. According to our data, poor response rates do appear to be the norm.
In fact, we found that only 8.5% of all outreach emails receive a response.
With 100+ emails to sift through per day, the chances of your single outreach email getting seen, opened and replied to is pretty slim.
But when you send more than one message, you have yet another chance to stand out and push through the noise in someone’s inbox.
Of course, there’s a right and wrong way to send follow-up messages.
Annoying follow-ups like these can damage relationships, lead to spam complaints, and overall, do more harm than good.
However, gentle follow-ups that provide additional context can improve conversions without burning bridges.
Key Takeaway: Follow-ups can significantly improve outreach conversion rates. In fact, a single additional follow-up message can lead to 65.8% more replies.
Reaching Out to Several Contacts Increases the Odds of a Response
We looked at the effect that reaching out to several contacts at the same organization had on outreach conversions.
And we found that, compared to a single contact, sending emails to more than one contact improves response rates by 93%.
We also looked at how outreach success rate correlated with number of contacts. We found a clear pattern that more contacts leads to more responses.
However, we did find a point of diminishing returns at 5+ contacts.
If you’re reaching out to a single-author blog, you probably don’t need to worry about sending messages to several different contacts.
However, multiple contacts becomes important when reaching out to large websites with dozens of employees. That’s because it can be hard to tell who exactly is responsible for which task (even with the help of an org chart and “About Us” page).
For example, let’s say that you’re sending an outreach message to a large publisher as part of a link building campaign. Should you email the author of the article? Or the editor of the blog? Or maybe the best person is the head of content.
It’s almost impossible to know without an intimate understanding of the organization’s inner workings. That’s why it usually makes sense to reach out to a single person. Then, if you don’t hear back, try again with another contact. That way, over time, your message should get in front of the person that is most likely to add your link to the post.
Key Takeaway: Having multiple contacts to reach out to increases your chances of getting through. In fact, outreach emails sent to multiple contacts can boost response rates by 93%.
Personalized Subject Lines Lead to More Replies
Personalizing emails is considered an outreach best practice. However, to our knowledge, there hasn’t been any research done to support this strategy.
That’s why we decided to investigate the effect of personalization on outreach email replies. Specifically, we compared the response rates between messages that did and didn’t use personalized subject lines.
Our data showed that personalized subject lines got nearly 1/3rd more replies than those without personalization.
Why do personalized subject lines lead to more responses?
Although it’s difficult to fully answer this question from our data alone, my theory is that personalized subject lines help you stand out in someone’s crowded inbox.
For example, take a non-personalized subject line like: “More Leads”. For someone that’s hurriedly scanning incoming emails from their iPhone, “More Leads” doesn’t compel them to see or open the message.