Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cost-Effectiveness and Retention are Big Factors

New research suggests that email marketing in the US will reach $2 billion by 2014. This isn't exactly in line with research from JupiterRearch earlier this year, which suggested $2.1 billion in 2012, but it's looking good for the industry nonetheless. What are your thoughts on the future of email marketing? Give us your take. This new research comes from Forrester Research, who says that falling CPMs (cost per thousands), higher ROI (return on investment) and growing consumer use of social email accounts will all contribute to the use of email by direct marketing professionals. The firm says that in five years consumers will opt-in to receive over 9,000 email marketing messages annually. Forrester's research cites the following as key growth areas for shaping the future of email marketing:
- Retention email — email that recipients have blessed with their permission — will continue to replace paper communications and will make up the largest share of marketing messages. Retention emails will account for more than a one-third of all marketing messages in consumers’ inboxes by 2014, representing increased competition for marketers.- While the bulk of the market will continue to deploy email marketing on a self-service basis, the growing complexity associated with data integration and new tactics to increase relevancy will drive healthy growth in use of email service providers.- Spending on opt-in ad-sponsored or ad-supported newsletters will double over the next five years as traditional print publishers face falling circulation and ad revenue.
iEntry, Inc. which is the parent of WebProNews, has been a leading source of B2B email marketing for ten years.
"iEntry Network clients continue to see great results today. It only makes sense for more dollars to be spent on email since agencies and companies are seeing the value of building rapport with their target audience," says Susan Coppersmith, Director of Sales at iEntry, Inc. "Companies that have the most success within our B2B network opt for more complex email campaigns, which include follow up sponsorships, banners and dedicated email. They understand that they need to invest in their target if they want their target to invest in them."
"Keeping in front of decision makers on a regular basis with information, benefits and features of a product or service is vital in making sales and taking market share," she adds. "As for Social Media and email they are a natural fit. After all email was the first form of Social Media."
Social media has brought an interesting new element into the world of email marketing. This element brings with it both opportunities and challenges. "The use of email in social networks will be one of the biggest challenges for direct marketers," says Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst David Daniels. "Over the next five years, marketers must bridge the gap between social and traditional inboxes with social sharing tools."In an interview for SmallBusinessNewz a few months ago, I discussed the relationship between social media and email marketing with Steve Adams, the VP of Marketing for email marketing firm Campaigner.
"As social media becomes more integrated into the lives of consumers, you will see email marketing services building more types of features and functionality into their offerings, enhancing users’ interactivity and social experiences," Adams said. "It’s likely that you will see the integration of email with other social media communications on the rise – giving subscribers the option to receive email marketing promotions via RSS, updates from Twitter or to their actual email inbox. Many businesses have already been integrating video and podcasts into their email marketing campaigns. It’s an exciting time for small businesses and marketers to reach out to their audiences with a mix of online tools and services at a very low cost."There is no denying that social media-specific marketing has been talked up relentlessly over the past year or two, and it sometimes seems that the emergence of the new strategies that come with it have overshadowed the more established channels like email marketing, but email marketing is clearly still a bread-winner. "Although social media marketing is becoming more and more popular, recent studies are finding that people still like and want to receive emails," explained Adams. "For example a study by Epsilon and ROI Research entitled 'Beyond the Click: The Indirect Value of Email' found that 84 percent of recipients liked receiving email from companies with whom they’ve subscribed to their e-newsletters. Another stat to note is from an Aberdeen report which states that email marketing is ranked the number one recessionary marketing tool. Although there are other marketing techniques gaining popularity, email marketing is here to stay, especially for small businesses." (emphasis added)In April, Ball State University, the Email Marketer's Club, and ExactTarget shared results of another study, which found that only 13% of email marketers were integrating social media into their campaigns, though 46% of them intended to do so this year. This is just a testament to how the need for complimentary campaigns among different channels exists to those looking to reach the largest amount of potential customers, and highlights the evolution of online marketing in general. If you want another testament to how effective an email marketing campaign can be, look at this Hitwise data showing how Circuitcity.com jumped following a big campaign:

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