Feb 11, 2014 - 03:17 PM

Whither/whether E-mail Marketing

Why e-mail is still king

A recent report from MediaPost's Email Insider has revealed some interesting findings for those of us who promote products, services, and causes via e-mail marketing.

A survey of more than 2,500 marketers revealed that:
• 88% use e-mail marketing
• 9% plan to launch an e-mail program in 2014
• just 3% say they don't plan on using e-mail marketing this year

At the same time:
• 68% say e-mail marketing is fundamental to their business; and 
• 58% plan to increase their spending on e-mail marketing in 2014
Only Data & Analytics (61%) and Marketing Automation (60%) rated higher as spending priorities.

Are there opportunities out there to make e-mail work even harder? Yes, especially in light of what survey respondents identified as their two chief goals for the new year:
• increased conversion rates; and
• collecting, measuring, and using behavior-based data.

One way marketers can do this is with greater use of triggered e-mail, which as it happens, lines up closely with survey results. Between 20%-30% say they will launch various behavior-triggered e-mail programs in 2014. Here are some examples with the potential for high conversion rates and low list fatigue:
• welcome e-mail series - 30%
• win-back campaign - 29%
• browse abandonment e-mail - 28%
• anniversary e-mail - 21%
• cart abandonment e-mail - 20%
• birthday e-mail - 19%

One opportunity for increased engagement, says the survey, is via responsive design. We all know that mobile users tend to skip over—or unsubscribe from—brands that send e-mail configured for the desktop. Yet only 41% of respondents say they use responsive design always or often. (The survey actually calls that percentage into question, indicating that in reality the "real" figure is probably lower.)

Another opportunity for mobile engagement, the survey says, is with an SMS program (Short Message Service, or "text message marketing").

The advantages of SMS marketing—the ability to send instant, time-sensitive alerts to your mobile subscribers—are obvious: increased traffic and conversion rates. Yet SMS is not influencing most marketing plans this year. According to the survey,
• just 26% of marketers have an SMS program in place
• 25% plan to start one in 2014
• 49% are not planning to use it at all

The survey results on SMS usage reveal a second opportunity for marketers and that's mobile push (services that generate notifications to devices with apps registered to receive them):
• only 18% of respondents are using mobile push
• 29% plan to implement push this year
• 53% have no plans to engage with mobile push in 2014

If mobile is critical to your business or institution, then e-mail—however you chose to create and package it—should be a significant part of your marketing investment.