Category Archives: Email List Trends

Email marketing is still tops for reaching consumers.

Business email still tops the marketing list

Over the past few years, numerous new technologies and digital innovations have been introduced, purportedly to revolutionize the marketing sector. However, despite the growing use of social media, in terms of effectiveness and longevity, business emails have remained king. But why?

A recent article from Business 2 Community seeks to answer this question, offering a number of reasons why organizations and businesses that leverage targeted email lists to communicate with consumers are making a savvy decision.

For one, email has become nearly ubiquitous across demographics and regions, whereas Twitter, Facebook and other social networks can be considered more niche, the news source explained. Whether it's a business or personal address, everyone seems to have a location to which digital communications can be sent.

Additionally, email is a fairly low-cost marketing solution, making it easier for small businesses and nonprofits to leverage.

"When you think about how many people you can get onto your email list and only have to pay around $100 a month to send out a million messages, that is quite amazing and offers a very nice return on investment," Business 2 Community asserted.

Email marketing is also a channel built for crafting relationships. First, smart marketers will understand the importance of ensuring that recipients can opt out of receiving messages at anytime. This way, businesses can build goodwill among customers as well as ensure they are only sending communications to the top leads.

However, to ensure that their email messages are seeing the highest click-through rates, organizations will need to optimize their communications for mobile devices. A recent survey from YesMail found that approximately 48 percent of retail emails are opened on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets.

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Is there really a best time to send emails?

Is there really a best day or time to send business emails?

A number of recent studies have attempted to discern the best days and times for businesses to leverage their targeted email lists and send out communications. For example, Mail Chimp analyzed more than a billion emails to conclude that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 2 and 5 p.m. are the optimal times to send business email to promote opens. Similarly, a study from Get Response examined 21 million emails, and identified Thursday to again be the top day for open and click-through rates.

However, is there such a thing as a “best” time or day? A recent article in Business 2 Community contended that these studies miss the point and over generalize, outlining a number of reasons why they are just wrong.

The average isn’t good enough for any business    
The source pointed out that the term “best” is misleading, as these studies don’t necessarily pinpoint the best, they discern the average.

“If you’re lucky, and we seldom are, the research might confine the sample set to a single industry or geography, which would create a more meaningful result set,” the article noted. “So the sample set data is muddy at best because it casts too wide of a net, which the statistics can’t overcome.”

Secondly, the studies assume a level of knowledge and expertise that may not actually be in evidence among these email marketers, Business 2 Community asserted. Likely, the results are a grab bag across all levels, a quality which these studies’ analytics may not be able to take into account.

This feeds into the last reason listed  for taking these reports with a grain of salt. By only looking at send time and date, the research fails to isolate cause and effect.

“To truly understand if one variable is causing a specific outcome (increases in opens/clicks/sales) you have to isolate every other variable. Again, because these studies are simply rollups of email click/open/conversion activity pulled from a broad grouping of email campaigns, this level of rigor simply isn’t possible,” the news source explained.

So when is the best time, then?  
The answer may be for marketers to figure it out on their own. Direct Marketing News suggested with any type of campaign, business should trial messages across days and times. Different segments of consumers will respond accordingly. Whereas one group of recipients may open mail the most on Tuesday afternoons, some companies may actually find greater success with a Saturday morning email blast.

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Tailor email communications with real-time personalization.

Personalize email distribution list communications to boost success

While business emails are no longer considered a "pioneer" in the marketing and communications field, they are still one of the most effective ways for businesses to reach new and old customers, especially when partnered with targeted email lists.

However, one technique more marketers have deployed or are in the process of implementing is real-time content personalization.

A singular communication    
In fact, a recent survey from the Direct Marketing Association found that 77 percent of marketers in the U.S. believe enabling real-time personalization in email messages is a high priority, Business 2 Community reported. But what exactly does this do?

The news source explained that this technique partners demographic information and constructed audience types with custom content. Furthermore, it is precisely timed to reach consumers at moments when they are most likely to open and click. 

"Capitalize on niche emails – less general and more overtly sales-oriented – in order to increase open rates, click-throughs and revenue," Business 2 Community explained. "This includes the development and testing of email headlines, content, design and call-to-actions."

Not an easy accomplishment                 
While this is a high priority for many marketers, it also extremely difficult. Research from MarketingProfs found that 60 percent of marketers said personalizing messages is their top challenge. Marketing effectiveness and responsiveness followed closely behind (57 percent), with improving customer retention (43 percent), harnessing big data (41 percent) and driving revenue through cross- and up-selling (38 percent).

However, the effort may pay off. Of all the real-time marketing channels, email was ranked the highest, with 80 percent of respondents saying the channel is "very important." With such sentiments in mind, it should be no surprise then that 55 percent of marketers already use this strategy, and another 32 percent plan to do so in the near future, according to the study.

BtoB Online highlighted that one of the key benefits of a real-time marketing campaign is that it can strengthen customer relationship management (CRM) and email analytics, thereby making the job of the salesperson that much easier.

"You want to integrate analytics with CRM so the salesperson can see the whole picture – what kind of content they have been looking at – so you can build a better digital profile about your prospects and customers," Tawheed Kader, CEO of ToutApp, told the news source.

By integrating personalization into their marketing efforts, companies can ensure their email distribution lists are that much more tailored.

Segment consumers to better connect with them.

How can customer life cycle drive email messages?

Regardless of the industry, monitoring email marketing lists is critical to spurring product engagement and maintaining – if not improving – revenues. Yet as technologies continue to change and consumers’ expectations and desires develop alongside them, organizations may start to feel as if they’re continually trying to keep pace with the Joneses.

Fortunately, email as a marketing channel has remained one of the most effective ways of interacting with customers and strengthening relationships. While Facebook and Twitter may be comparatively new and popular, they have yet to demonstrate the same effectiveness as the inbox. That being said, some emails are inherently more successful than others, and to get the most out of their email distribution lists, companies may want to take note of these best practices.

Engage current customers with dynamic content and offers   
One mistake companies often make is taking their shoppers for granted, especially if consumers have a long purchasing history with the business. Writing off customers or just assuming they will continue patronizing a particular firm regardless of receiving updates, information or savings is a foolish and costly mistake, especially when there are so many options for email communications.

Many companies use business email as a way to keep active customers in the loop of industry trends and news, Marketing Profs explained in a recent article. While these messages allow recipients to feel engaged with firms, they can also serve the double purpose of positioning companies at the head of their fields in terms of innovation, price or quality.

Additionally, businesses can target specific emails to their VIPs. “Segment out VIPs that fit the 80/20 rule (the 20 percent that drive 80 percent of revenue) and provide them with personalized email offers,” the news source explained. This allows those customers who are most loyal to know that their business is noticed and valued.

Attract prospects to transform them into clients   
However, as important as existing customers are, companies are continually focused on growing their consumer base to fuel business expansion and protect against possible losses.

The news source characterizes prospects as “pre-customers.” These are individuals who need to be persuaded to learn more about an enterprise and its offerings by opting in to an email list. But once they begin receiving business emails, how can companies transition them from readers to shoppers?

Many firms begin not by sending information on their products, but instead offering newsletters about relevant items or activities. Marketing Profs offered the example of an individual who may be interested in golfing – while he or she may not be prepared to buy a full set golf clubs, he or she may like to learn about courses or events in their community. Sign-ups for such communications can be offered on a company’s website or other media, such as Facebook or Twitter.

“Provide information that is useful and engaging while unobtrusively offering your product’s value proposition,” Marketing Profs explained. “You need to stand in the customer’s shoes and truthfully judge whether you would read your own newsletter content.”

Adopting these tips can help businesses approach their email marketing databases in a more holistic and customer-centric fashion, which is especially critical when considering that the effectiveness of the marketing medium is only continuing to grow.

According to the Q1 2013 Email Trends and Benchmarks Report from Epsilon and the Email Institute, the average email open rate across sectors is 31.1 percent, which is a significant increase from Q4 2012, when messages were read 27.4 percent of the time. The Q1 2013 open rate was the highest since Q3 2006, ClickZ reported.

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