Email marketing holding its own in multi-channel landscape

Email marketing holding its own in multi-channel landscape
8 March 2011 | | Marketing

If you’re losing faith in email marketing, please take a minute to read this article. Social networking sites might be winning the battle for column inches but will Facebook and Twitter generate more patients than a targetted email marketing campaign?

Despite record numbers of emails being sent every day, the stats are still good –  average open rates for email appear to be holding up at around 24% for retention emails and 11% for acquisition emails.  Email marketing has a key role to play in our marketing strategy- is it part of your plans?

Facebook and Twitter may be grabbing all the headlines, but the latest research by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is showing that email is driving the growth of the digital economy. Dela Quist, chair of the benchmarking hub of the DMA Email Marketing Council, explains more.

The Email Benchmarking Report (Half 1 2010) is showing that email volumes in the first half of 2010 went up 50% year on year. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the uncertain economic climate, more businesses are either turning to email or becoming more dependent on email to achieve their marketing goals.

At this point many people reading this will be expecting some sort of commentary along the lines of how consumers are suffering from “inbox overload” and how increasingly irrelevant email is becoming in the brave new world of social media. But I am not going to do that because if that were true, why would so many intelligent marketing professionals, working for the greatest brands in the world, keep investing in email?

The answer to that question is in the numbers. According to the report, UK marketers sent an average of 1.7 billion emails a month in the first half of 2010. Looked at in another way they sent out 1.7 billion opportunities to engage with their brands. This activity generated approximately 270 million opens or brand interactions or engagements and nearly 78 million click-throughs a month.

If you assume a £2 to £5 CPM (cost per thousand emails sent) the average cost per click generated by their email activity is somewhere between 4p and 11p. No wonder! When it comes to driving customers towards a transaction, email is many many times cheaper and more effective than either search or affiliate programmes.

Better still, the Report also shows that customers don’t seem to mind the big increase in email volumes. Average open rates for email appear to be holding up at around 24% for retention emails and 11% for acquisition emails. What we are seeing is evidence that email marketers have become better at targeting their promotions and that their customers are getting used to receiving email from brands they trust. Much of the growth is being driven by acquisition email programmes, which represent almost one-third of the volume sent over the period covered.

Despite the fact that email is so cost effective, email marketers are not immune to the allure of social media, and the Report also reveals a move toward social media integration with email. In fact, a third of marketers are including share with your network (SWYN) links, which allow the email recipient to forward content or offers to their Facebook friends or Twitter followers in their messages.

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