New research suggests that email marketing in the US will reach $2 billion by 2014. This isn't exactly in line with research from JupiterRearch earlier this year, which suggested $2.1 billion in 2012, but it's looking good for the industry nonetheless.
This new research comes from Forrester Research, who says that falling CPMs (cost per thousands), higher ROI (return on investment) and growing consumer use of social email accounts will all contribute to the use of email by direct marketing professionals. The firm says that in five years consumers will opt-in to receive over 9,000 email marketing messages annually.
Forrester's research cites the following as key growth areas for shaping the future of email marketing:
- Retention email — email that recipients have blessed with their permission — will continue to replace paper communications and will make up the largest share of marketing messages. Retention emails will account for more than a one-third of all marketing messages in consumers’ inboxes by 2014, representing increased competition for marketers.
- While the bulk of the market will continue to deploy email marketing on a self-service basis, the growing complexity associated with data integration and new tactics to increase relevancy will drive healthy growth in use of email service providers.
- Spending on opt-in ad-sponsored or ad-supported newsletters will double over the next five years as traditional print publishers face falling circulation and ad revenue.
iEntry, Inc. which is the parent of WebProNews, has been a leading source of B2B email marketing for ten years.
"iEntry Network clients continue to see great results today. It only makes sense for more dollars to be spent on email since agencies and companies are seeing the value of building rapport with their target audience," says Susan Coppersmith, Director of Sales at iEntry, Inc. "Companies that have the most success within our B2B network opt for more complex email campaigns, which include follow up sponsorships, banners and dedicated email. They understand that they need to invest in their target if they want their target to invest in them."
"Keeping in front of decision makers on a regular basis with information, benefits and features of a product or service is vital in making sales and taking market share," she adds. "As for Social Media and email they are a natural fit. After all email was the first form of Social Media."
Social media has brought an interesting new element into the world of email marketing. This element brings with it both opportunities and challenges. "The use of email in social networks will be one of the biggest challenges for direct marketers," says Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst David Daniels. "Over the next five years, marketers must bridge the gap between social and traditional inboxes with social sharing tools."
In an interview for SmallBusinessNewz a few months ago, I discussed the relationship between social media and email marketing with Steve Adams, the VP of Marketing for email marketing firm Campaigner.
"As social media becomes more integrated into the lives of consumers, you will see email marketing services building more types of features and functionality into their offerings, enhancing users’ interactivity and social experiences," Adams said. "It’s likely that you will see the integration of email with other social media communications on the rise – giving subscribers the option to receive email marketing promotions via RSS, updates from Twitter or to their actual email inbox. Many businesses have already been integrating video and podcasts into their email marketing campaigns. It’s an exciting time for small businesses and marketers to reach out to their audiences with a mix of online tools and services at a very low cost."
There is no denying that social media-specific marketing has been talked up relentlessly over the past year or two, and it sometimes seems that the emergence of the new strategies that come with it have overshadowed the more established channels like email marketing, but email marketing is clearly still a bread-winner.
"Although social media marketing is becoming more and more popular, recent studies are finding that people still like and want to receive emails," explained Adams. "For example a study by Epsilon and ROI Research entitled 'Beyond the Click: The Indirect Value of Email' found that 84 percent of recipients liked receiving email from companies with whom they’ve subscribed to their e-newsletters. Another stat to note is from an Aberdeen report which states that email marketing is ranked the number one recessionary marketing tool. Although there are other marketing techniques gaining popularity, email marketing is here to stay, especially for small businesses." (emphasis added)
In April, Ball State University, the Email Marketer's Club, and ExactTarget shared results of another study, which found that only 13% of email marketers were integrating social media into their campaigns, though 46% of them intended to do so this year. This is just a testament to how the need for complimentary campaigns among different channels exists to those looking to reach the largest amount of potential customers, and highlights the evolution of online marketing in general.
If you want another testament to how effective an email marketing campaign can be, look at this Hitwise data showing how Circuitcity.com jumped following a big campaign:
Email Marketing Tips
I've discussed these tips in a previous posts, but they still hold true, and you can consider all of the above information to be context for the application of them.
- Track your campaigns. A recent study from eROI showed that 18% of email marketers in the US were not tracking their campaigns. Things that should be tracked include delivery rate, open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, and conversion rate.
- Consider spam filters. Spam filters are a hurdle all email marketers have to clear, and this even includes legitimate ones. Just because you are a legitimate email marketer, this does not mean you will make it through the filters your audience and their service providers have set up. For some specific tips on dealing with this, refer to my SBN article from last year.
- Pay special attention to subject lines and from lines. These things are critical to your open rate. A clear and familiar from line is important simply for the trust factor. People want to know who they are getting mail from before they open it. The subject line is where it gets a little trickier. You have to create subject lines that make people care enough to open it. More on subject lines.
- Provide quality content. Keep your content interesting and relevant to your audience. Think about why they would have signed up to receive messages from you in the first place.
- Consider the timing of messages. Timing can be a factor in a successful campaign. Not only marketing based on events or holidays, but also the time of day. If you are targeting an audience in the UK, for example, but you are sending from the US, you need to take time zones into consideration, and depending on who you are hoping to reach, try to get your messages sent at the right time of day. Are you hoping to catch people at the office? Get your messages out early. Are you hoping to get them after work? Maybe later is fine.