The DMA Email Marketing Council’s 2010 National Client Email report (The report) starts by suggesting that it “provides fascinating insight into the progress the email marketing sector is making.” Can one believe any self recommendation?
The following statement is less than startling. “As the findings of the report testify, the medium continues to evolve through refining techniques and inspired innovations.” So no surprises there.
The report tells us that 90% view email marketing as either an important or very important aspect of their business. Half spend less than 10% of their marketing budget on email marketing while one third spend more than 30%. It would be fascinating to compare the relative success rates of the two groups.
What was a surprise was that whilst more than 50% expect their email marketing budget to increase this figure was lower than in previous years. It would appear that the main source of funding will not come from increased investment but savings from a reduction in direct mail and press advertising. It seems that the suggestion that periodicals have a difficult time ahead is correct.
One worrying trend is the lack of centralisation of email marketing processes. The figure of 48% failing to centralise is higher than in past years. As The Report states:
“Central control is important to ensure legal compliancy and effectively manage frequency, branding, marketing integration and tactical advances.”
There are few who would disagree.
One cause for these last two findings is believed to be that those new to direct email marketing are not following proven procedures. An email based marketing strategy gives a better return on investment if it is diverse. What is required is a research-based redistribution of emphasis rather than just cutting certain aspects of marketing.
Fascinating describes the finding that:
“52% of organisations still have no contact strategy for the maximum number of emails a subscriber might receive each month . . ., despite the crucial role of frequency in driving response, unsubscribes and spam complaints.”
Whilst it is a basic tenet of email marketing it bears repeating: the most valuable asset you have is your email lists. Whilst costs compared to any other form of direct marketing are low, the investment required to secure subscribers to email lists is the one which is substantial. A universal strategy should be to do nothing that risks your emails lists.
The frequency of emails has a direct relationship to responses. The more you send the less click-throughs you will return per email. The balance is one of those difficult decisions that requires experience, allied to a close study of returns from email marketing software. However, there are other negative aspects with too frequent sending.
Unsubscribes, that dirty word for anyone with emails lists, increases with the frequency of sending. Recipients soon become irritated with offers they have no intention of buying. And they can vent their frustration by just by clicking a box.
Of concern to all of us is the fact that spam complaints increase in direct relationship to the number of emails sent.
The Report will reward reading. Go to: www.dma.org.uk/news/nws-article.asp?id=5177