A recent research survey, Email Marketing Industry Census 2012, conducted by eConsultancy and sponsored by Adestra sheds some light into how email marketing is being used and trends facing email marketing as an industry. The research was for UK based email marketers only, but the results are enlightening and can be transferred to any country, especially when it comes to best practices and ROI.
Why is email still a major force in the marketer’s arsenal? According to the census, “55% of all company respondents could attribute more than 10% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, with 17% of respondents stating that email marketing attributed for over 30%”. ROI for email marketing is still there, despite many talking about the demise of email as social channels become more prominent.
“70% of company respondents rating email as “excellent” or “good” in terms of ROI”
Problem is, email is not being used to its fullest. Most companies are not taking advantage of advanced email marketing features, or even basic segmentation strategies, as the survey points out.
“Only 40% of responding companies use their email service provider (ESP) for anything more than the basic broadcast of email”
When asked about which practices are part of their email marketing efforts, the answers showed that:
- Only 67% of respondents do basic segmentation
- 52% engage in regular list cleaning
- 48% encourage the sharing of content in their email messages
- 26% use content personalization
- 25% use video content in their emails
- 15% are using behavioral targeting.
The ROI of Email
It seems most companies have a “setup and forget” attitude when it comes to their email marketing. Once the system is configured, the templates are setup, and everything is ready to go they simply let it run without constantly refining their tactics.
“Those simply performing “batch and blast” techniques are less likely to see ROI benefits.”
According to the research, only 31% of companies surveyed regularly test their email marketing campaigns. The companies that do test their email marketing campaigns report their ROI from email is excellent or good, compared to those who don’t test regularly or don’t test at all.
But testing is only part of the ROI equation. Research results point to segmentation being another big factor for ROI reporting that “companies who are practicing basic segmentation are 95% more likely to rate email ROI as excellent or good compared to those who do not use even basic segmentation, nor have plans to do so”.
The Missing ROI Components
According to the census, the following key themes have been identified as having a big role in determining whether a company will see positive ROI from their email marketing efforts:
- Adaptation to priority inbox features
- Awareness around data security issues
- Low hanging fruits of triggers and testing
- Integrating email with other business areas
- Greater understanding of social media and email as complementary channels
- Addressing the challenges of mobile
The report goes into detail for each area above. It also discusses the barriers to effective use of email, citing that:
- 53% of companies cite quality of email database as the most widespread barrier to effective email marketing
- 49% of client-side respondents feel lack of strategy is a significant problem
- 45% of companies say lack of segmentation is holding them back
- 32% complain about lack of skills and training
- 36% state poor measurement and analytics keep them from becoming more effective
For an in-depth analysis of each of those barriers and detailed analysis of the census results, download the email Marketing Industry Census 2012.