Those wondering about the benefits of email marketing in today's ever-changing online and marketing environment will find the answers below.
Businesses engage in email marketing because it works. And works well. Here are the numbers...
- The DMA puts email marketing's ROI for 2011 at $40.56 for every $1 invested. The figure for 2012 is predicted to "fall" to $39.40, when email will account for $67.8 billion in sales.
- 72% of respondents to an E consultancy survey in early 2011 described email's ROI as excellent or good. Only organic SEO scored better.
- A 2011 MerchantCircle survey of over 8,000 local business owners in the US found email marketing cited by 35.8% as a Top 3 most effective marketing or advertising method. Only social network profiles and search engine marketing scored higher.
- A 2011 business survey by Ireland's Marketing Institute saw 84% claiming email marketing was important or very important to their marketing strategy.
- In a 2011 Focus survey of marketers, the channel cited most often as the best performer over the previous 12 months was email.
- The ForeSee Results 2010 report on the effectiveness of social media found that promotional emails were the second biggest influence on retail website visits. The biggest influence was familiarity with the brand.
- In Datran Media's 2010 Annual Marketing & Media Survey, 39.4% of industry executives said the advertising channel that performed strongest for them was email. This was the top result (reference).
The money is following the results...
- When asked about their 2012 digital marketing budget priorities, only paid search was cited more often by retailers than email.
- A late 2011 survey of US small businesses found over a third using email to advertise or promote their business. Only Facebook was more popular.
- 51% of small businesses surveyed by Zoomerang in 2011 use email marketing. Only websites were a more popular digital marketing tool.
- 68% of small businesses surveyed in mid-2011 by Pitney Bowes listed email as their preferred marketing channel.
- eCircle surveyed European marketers and found the most popular online marketing channel was email.
- In a 2011 business survey by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, 88% of respondents said they expected their email marketing budget to increase or stay the same over the coming 12 months.
- A January 2011 survey by BtoB Magazine found 63% of respondents likely to increase spending on email in 2011 (second only to websites), with 29% keeping spend constant.
- The 2011 Digital Marketing Outlook Survey from the Society of Digital Agencies revealed that 70% of brand marketers planned to invest in email marketing in 2011. This was the joint highest result.
- Forrester's late 2010 survey of US marketers found 88% of B2C firms and 71% of B2B organizations using email marketing.
- A DMA survey of US and Canadian marketers in late 2010 found email was the most widely used web-based direct marketing technique.
- A late 2010 customer survey by Campaigner found 61% intending to do more email marketing in 2011, and 33% planning to continue at the same level.
- A 2010 survey of 2,500 marketers by A Weber found 82% intending to increase their email marketing efforts over the next 12 months.
- The 9th Annual Merchant Survey (2010) conducted by the e-tailing group asked merchants to say which initiatives they would be using to improve website performance. The top answer, cited by 79%, was "send more targeted email".
Why It Works
Email marketing works for a variety of reasons...
- It allows targeting
- It is data driven
- It drives direct sales
- It builds relationships, loyalty and trust
- It supports sales through other channels
Modern email marketing services and solutions support database integration, segmentation and various other tricks and techniques for improving the targeting of outgoing messages. Advanced methods generate on-the-fly emails customized down to an individual recipient basis.
And every email campaign you send out generates a heap of actionable data you can use to refine your approach and messages.
Email promotions and offers generate immediate action: sales, downloads, inquiries, registrations, etc. Informative email newsletters and other emails send people to offline stores and events, prepare the way for catalogs, build awareness, contribute to branding, strengthen relationships, encourage trust and cement loyalty.
All in all, a pretty good way of going about your marketing business. But...
Let's Not Get Carried Away
Just like a garden only bears fruit if managed properly, so it is with email marketing. We know it can work, but you have to get the basics right. The basics of building a list of people who want to hear from you, crafting a message, and ensuring the emails get through to those on that list.
And once you have the basics right, there's a whole spectrum of more sophisticated tactics you can employ to drive further success. Because the metrics show us that there's plenty of room for improvement and plenty of rewards waiting for those who do improve.
For example, one report as far back as 2005 already found that "using web analytics to target email campaigns can produce nine times the revenues and eighteen times the profits of broadcast mailings."
At a simpler level, just mailing a small coupon offer to customers who hadn't purchased for a while brought in a tonne of extra sales for one retailer.
Convinced? Start the email marketing journey with a look at the basics of email marketing.