Forrester’s recent report on how US marketers are using email provided some insight about email usage for the rest of 2011 and into 2012. While many of the findings were expected, there were some definite surprises that should be noted.
Email is used more in the B2C world (88% of companies) than in the B2B market (71% of companies). This isn’t a huge difference and might be explained by different sales cycles, type of products or services, and email address availability.
Not surprising is that email budgets will stay flat in 2011—with many companies still reeling from the economy, additional expenditures are not expected.
List hygiene best practices are not being widely used. The majority of marketers are not cleaning bounced and inactive email addresses from their lists. This is a big no-no in the email marketing world as mailing to bounced and inactive email addresses not only wastes resources, it can also lead to deliverability problems with many major ISP’s.
43% of marketers believe that email marketing will become more effective over the next few years, but with a lack of budget and list hygiene, that will be a tough feat to accomplish!
Not surprisingly, 55% of marketers think that social media will become more effective over the next few years. Does that mean social media is replacing email? Absolutely not. The most powerful marketing initiatives will be the ones that combine social media and email marketing.
So what does Forrester recommend?
Invest in analytics for email just as you would for direct mail and paid search. The payback will come in improved message relevance and better forecasting.
Clean your data! Remove bounced addresses regularly and monitor the inactive addresses. If someone has not opened your message in 6 months, it might be time to employ a different strategy for that person, or remove them from the list.
Don’t get caught up in the bells and whistles. Rich media can be effective, but make sure that using it actually leads to a better user experience. If it doesn’t, don’t waste your money.
Get mobile friendly. With more and more smart phone users in the U.S., make sure that your emails are rendering properly on mobile devices. If not, you are missing good opportunities to connect with your customer.
The findings from this report should be very helpful as you continue your email strategy through 2011. As always, reach out to your WhatCounts’ Account Manager or our Strategic Services team to get the most out of your email marketing program.