Email is dead. Long live email. Many social media gurus claim that email has had its day and it is now time to move over and let social media have the spotlight.
Let’s get right to it: Email is far from dead. If anything, it has proven more relevant and valuable to those in marketing and sales trying to establish and nurture a customer relationship. If you are in sales, you may have noticed nine out of ten calls go straight to voicemail. (I don’t have a source to back that up, just personal experience.)
Rather than just listen to the arguments, I went to four expert sources: MarketingSherpa, Infusionsoft (which sponsors a project of mine), Silverpop, and Mailchimp. Each download offers something for the SMB owner, marketing hype aside.
MarketingSherpa is the 800 pound gorilla and possibly the best known brand for marketing research and email is just one focus area for them. The 2011 Email Benchmark Report is hot off the press and details are available at the link above. The executive summary alone is worth the visit.
Among the key findings from MarketingSherpa: The most significant challenge marketers face with email is not spam, or subject line length, or time of day to email, but creating highly relevant content in both the B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) channels. The most effective content strategy is segmenting email campaigns based on behavior. Over 65% stated that highly relevant content is the key to success and it is the greatest challenge to find and create that content.
In addition, “Today, 78% rate the use of email to “increase sales revenue” very important.” However, it is important to note that revenue isn’t the only goal: 90% stated that email is effective or somewhat effective for increasing website traffic and building brand awareness.
The report is over 200 pages long, so this is the last point I’ll share: “Email isn’t limited to top line objectives. The objective rated as very important second most often is improving customer relations/retention. Email is the communications channel of choice for customers and prospects who wish to be kept informed.” Despite the growth in social media, marketers are still spending on email marketing. The two marketing approaches work well together and will become further integrated over time.
Silverpop put together a solid whitepaper entitled: Beyond Opens and Clicks: 5 Email Metrics to Boost Results and Prove Your Worth. This report is filled with stats; plus there is lots of good advice on open rates, conversion, and deliverability and unsubscribe rates.
Infusionsoft, offers email strategies and tips for its marketing automation (download link) platform for small business owners. Rather than only focus on stats around email, they share ideas and concepts for website landing pages, website forms, and ask 17 questions on conducting a website evaluation to improve your conversions.
Mailchimp publishes these great comparison and benchmark reports right on its blog and site. You can learn about rank by industry, by business size, how to segment your list, and comparing subject lines. The subject line research shows “best open rates” and “worst open rates.” Some of them are simply comical.
? Email Marketing Benchmarks by Industry
? Email Marketing Benchmarks by Business Size
? Effects of List Segmentation on Email Marketing Stats
? Email Marketing Subject Line Comparison
The thing I like most about MailChimp is their candor. You’ll get good home grown advice on their blog and in their research section. “So what's our advice for email subject lines? This is going to sound "stupid simple" to a lot of people, but here goes: Your subject line should (drum roll please): Describe the subject of your email. Yep, that's it.”
Social media is changing the landscape, that is certain, however, building a relationship, and a potential for a sale, is still the same. You have to nurture and grow a relationship. Email is still alive and kicking. It is the gardener you bring in to keep the yard landscape looking beautiful. These reports and stats can improve your customer relationships. If you need additional resources on email, marketing automation, email campaign content, drop me an email here.