Email marketing aims to start a conversation between an organisation and its subscribers and often invites interaction between the subscribers and the company’s website.
As technology expands, the complexities of growing, segmenting, and managing your email lists and campaigns are becoming more sophisticated. The more you know about your current subscribers, the more likely you will be to not only add them as customers, but to also find more subscribers that meet the same criteria and potential. To do that, you must understand who your current subscribers are, what their needs are, where they came from, when they subscribed, why they continue to interact with your company, and how they will respond to your email messages.
In January 2008 JupiterResearch projected that email marketing spending will grow from $1.2 billion in 2007 to $2.1 billion in 2012. Spending on retention email will more than double during that period and account for over half of total email marketing spending in 2012. Acquisition email marketing will grow more somewhat more slowly, with most spending in that category going toward sponsorship (for example, ad-supported newsletters).
The report’s finding that while spam volumes will continue to rise, the spam reaching consumers will remain flat over the next few years as ISPs battle senders and use progressive tactics to block billons of messages daily. “This will create better opportunities for email marketing, although marketers will have to work harder to remain relevant in their communications with their intended audiences.”
Embracing targeted email tactics, marketers will increasingly rely on enhanced email application features and strategic services, benefiting full-service agencies and self-service technology providers alike. “The solid growth in spending on email marketing is a testament to the effectiveness of the channel,” said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch.
DMA’s Retail Email study of 2007 showed email is rapidly emerging as one of marketers’ most powerful marketing channels,” said Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, PhD, DMA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “In fact, according to DMA research, commercial email in 2007 is forecast to generate $21.9 billion in US sales. And, impressively, each dollar spent on commercial email is projected to generate more than $48 in sales.”
The study found that addressing privacy concerns is a best practice that’s seeing adoption approach the 50 percent mark. Also, it found that providing sample newsletters is a clear emerging best practice that should help reduce opt-outs, with nearly 12 percent of major online retailers doing that. The additional transparency provided by these two practices should increase subscriber satisfaction.
Here are some other findings from EEC’s Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study:
· Only 92 percent of retailers have an email sign-up form or link on their homepage.
· 28 percent of retailers offer more than one content selection, with it ranging from two all the way up to the 50 content options offered by Amazon.com.
· Only 3 percent of major online retailers use a double opt-in subscription process.
· The subscriber’s name (31 percent) and ZIP Code (18 percent) were the two most often required pieces of information.
What was also great to see is that it’s not just the USA where email is booming. In an earlier study of email marketing by professional marketers in the UK, 92% are now including email in their marketing budgets and 51% of them are planning to increase that spend next year. The study didn’t report on the amount of the marketing budget that was being committed to email marketing. However, given the preference of consumers and their likelihood to respond, it would seem likely that we will see that quota increasing.
Sadly, the number of marketers who are really using the full power of email marketing is still too low. Only 41% of marketers were measuring open and click-through rates to analyse the effectiveness of their campaigns and 63% are still not sure about privacy laws. The ability to plan event based sequential campaigns relies on using this response information. So it seems we still have a long way to go before we are getting the most out of our email marketing.
No wonder it’s busy out here in e-Marketing land. I did my own informal survey of other eMarketing Network members and our experience supports these findings. It’s busier than ever, it’s working better than ever but there’s still so much to learn!
We’re yet to be satisfied that we are sharing the knowledge that we have in ways which really benefit the emarketing industry and to grow the total share of the marketing budget allocated to ‘E’. Our clients excepted of course, it still seems to be absolute standard practise for companies to mark the to-do-list with a tick next to ‘website’ and forget about it for another three years. Ouch. Everyday thousands more consumers are using the web to research everything they buy, and are judging that a useless website, a disintegrated brand marketing plan and poor email communications equals useless company.
No matter how many times we use words like ‘maturing’ and ‘mainstream’ and ‘multi channel’, because our smarts are as much based on technology which is changing rapidly from day to day, all of us are learning as we go and growing from our learning. Even teams like ours where all we do is online… but especially marketers for whom the web is a fraction of their budget and mindshare. It’s up to all of us to get smarter and better at this brilliant medium.
At the eMarketing Network meetings in the past, we have discussed the possibility of forum events where marketers could bring a brown-bag-lunch and sit around comparing latest initiatives, response rates, the online space and wish lists… where? when? are you in?