As open rates fall, two email marketing firms announce innovative offerings

As open rates fall, two email marketing firms announce innovative offerings

Crafting a successful email marketing campaign can feel like an uphill battle, and a recent study shows that the struggle isn't getting any easier.

According to MarketingProfs, Epsilon's newly released quarterly email trends showed an average email open rate of 28.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, an 8.3 percent decrease from Q1. The average click-through rate – that is, the percentage of customers who click on the links provided in promotional emails – stood at 4.3 percent, the lowest on record in the past two years.

However, the report offered a few pieces of positive news that counterbalance these figures. Despite the quarter-over-quarter decline in the open rate, Q2 of 2013 saw 11.5 percent more email opens than the same quarter in 2012. Furthermore, the rate of emails returned as undelivered – called the average non-bounce rate – remained essentially consistent with previous quarters at 96.1 percent.

Rather than despair at the mixed bag of industry news provided in the Epsilon report, it might be best for marketers to remember that reaching their email marketing lists has never been easy – and this is precisely why companies have continued to offer software and other services to help them ensure customers are reading and acting upon their promotional messages.

This week, two such firms announced they were bolstering their product lines, helping email marketers achieve their goals and taking some of the sting out of the recent statistics.

Embarke adds depth to email analytics
​According to PandoDaily, San Diego, Calif.-based startup Embarke recently secured $1.25 million in funding from an investment team led by Social Leverage. The company plans to use the money to expand its offerings – which include sophisticated email list segmentation executed according to analytics-based behavior profiles – to more clients, with the goal of improving open and click-through rates.

The increased cash flow comes at an critical time of growth for the young company: Embarke's commercial product only went on the market two months ago and already it has created more than 5 million behavior profiles for its clients' email contacts, the news source noted.

Furthermore, the startup recently announced its partnership with email provider SendGrid, PandoDaily reported. Embarke has been able to optimize the delivery of 500,000 emails each day by working with only the top 2 percent of SendGrid's clients. The email analytics firm claims the partnership has produced improvements of between 5 and 20 percent in both click-through and open rates.

In a recent post on its official blog, Embarke asked marketers to reevaluate the effectiveness of their analytics.

"It's one thing to be able to track opens and clicks, but are those opens and clicks converting? Are they signing up? Are they turning into dollars, or actual customers?" the company asked.

The goal of Embarke, one might say, is to enable clients to answer "Yes" to those questions.

StreamSend brings email content to the social sphere
Sacramento, Calif.-based firm StreamSend provides solutions for email marketers, including StreamSend Share 2.0, a platform of social marketing tools. The company recently announced the release of Smart RSS, an automation tool that allows companies that frequently update their rich site summary (RSS) feeds to reach and impact more potential customers, the firm said.

"Automatic email automation and market automation drive a much greater ability to connect with customers through these syndicated live web feeds, sharing more effectively and delivering the attention that great content really deserves," commented StreamSend President Dan Forootan. 

According to StreamSend, Smart RSS allows marketers to use widgets that enable them to set up automatic publishing schedules. The solution also places sharing features on emailed RSS, so that customers on your email contact list can create engagement and potential new business for you by bringing your content to the attention of their social networks.

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