A summary of research findings on email communications strategies
At Pure360 we work with a lot of marketers with different aims, objectives and strategies. To gauge the current state of email marketing strategies used, we recently completed this in-depth email strategy research based on a survey in partnership with PlanToEngage.
Over 600 email marketers responded, giving us a wide range of results. Results fell into the following categories; strategy, best practice and measurement & reporting.
The results were surprising; indicating that many email marketers are not currently practicing their email marketing with a strategy in place. Therefore many of the practices which would logically follow such as an editorial calendar or automated campaigns are also not being practiced.
Having a clear and focused email strategy is vitally important to your marketing mix; without a well-defined strategy your email marketing ROI is likely to suffer. This may seem fairly basic advice for those of you who work within marketing; however from our survey we found that 39% of marketers do not currently have an email strategy in place.
It is important to build a strategy around your email marketing activity, just as you would with your wider marketing activity. There are many elements to consider within email marketing, which is why pin pointing your aims and objectives and planning your activity before executing your email campaigns really is vital for your ROI.
Email Marketing Best Practice
Best practice covers a lot of areas of email marketing, specifically the do’s and don’ts which every email marketer should be aware of. The following areas cover some of the email marketing basics which are important in every email campaign you send out.
The law states that there must be a clearly displayed 'opt-out' link on every email which allows recipients to opt out of receiving future emails from you, whereas best practice states that you should never try to hide your opt out link.
As you cannot avoid the unsubscribe or opt out link, then you should work with it. There are a variety of ways that you can work with the unsubscribe link, yet a massive 64% of marketers don’t currently offer any alternatives to the traditional unsubscribe process.
- List segmentation
Email marketing segmentation might seem like an entry-level strategy for veteran email marketers but you'd be surprised at how many marketers overlook the tactic in their own campaigns.
Our research found that almost half (44%) of marketers don’t segment their email list. It is all well and good persuading subscribers to share their email address with you but if you are not segmenting your email address lists, you're not optimising your email marketing campaigns to their full potential.
- Automated campaigns
Behavioural email marketing is a powerful technique to automatically follow up online customer actions; helping to increase conversions to sale at a low cost. Even so, the technique is still used by relatively few companies, with 54% of marketers reporting that they do not currently use automated campaigns.
Automated campaigns can be a great way to spice up your email strategy, consider first time buyers, loyal customers and abandoned product emails.
- Mobile optimisation
Mobile optimisation is a fairly new focus for email marketers; therefore it is understandable that 45% of marketers don’t currently optimise their emails for mobile. Even so it is becoming an increasingly important element of email marketing strategy and therefore should be focused on by more marketers.
Measurement and reporting
Measurement of performance is one of the fundamentals to marketing best practices and increasing your ROI. You would be hard pressed to find a methodology or framework out there that doesn’t incorporate measurement as a key pillar, yet 32% of marketers do not currently report on their email marketing.
Perhaps this is because marketers don’t know what to measure and when to measure it, or even where to start. Many marketers practice email marketing simple because everyone else does, however it is important to measure what it actually delivers in terms of ROI.
Companies are now sending out some fantastic email designs using cutting edge strategy; however it seems that the majority of email marketers are falling behind in even developing a solid email strategy.
There are lots of exciting elements to email marketing, however make sure that you develop a firm strategy, outlining your aims, objectives and people involved in the tasks at hand, before you delve into more advanced email marketing.
Your results and your recipients will thank you for it.