Corporate Eye

Email Marketing Opportunities and Challenges

email marketing keyboardEmail marketing has been regaining popularity in recent years as marketers realize that an email opt-in is often more valuable than a social media connection. However, email marketing doesn’t just offer opportunities to connect with pre-qualified audiences. It also has some real challenges for brand marketers.

Emarketer reports that research from Ascend2 and Research Underwriters conducted in June 2013 identified the most effective email marketing tactics and challenges according to B2B and B2C marketers. Survey participants were given nine email marketing tactics and asked to identify the most effective and the most challenging overall. Interestingly, the same tactic landed on the top of both lists. Both B2B and B2C marketers said that creating relevant and compelling content is the most effective and the most challenging email marketing tactic.

Following is the breakdown of the most effective tactics to achieve email marketing objectives as identified by both B2B and B2C marketers around the world:

  1. Creating relevant and compelling content: 71% B2B, 65% B2C
  2. Segmenting email database: 42% B2B, 36% B2C
  3. Integrating email with other tactics: 37% B2B, 31% B2C
  4. Personalizing email messaging: 36% B2B, 28% B2C
  5. Testing and optimizing email messaging: 31% B2B, 47% B2C
  6. Testing and optimizing landing pages: 16% B2B, 22% B2C
  7. Delivering autoresponse and drip campaigns: 16% B2B, 17% B2C
  8. Optimizing email for smartphones: 12% B2B, 16% B2C
  9. Engaging subscribers via social media: 5% B2B, 10% B2C

I’m actually very surprised to see optimizing email for smartphones so low on the list of effective tactics for achieving email marketing objectives given the fact that in 2013, one out of two U.S. consumers make mobile purchases and two out of three U.K. smartphone owners are mobile shoppers. Perhaps the respondents to this study survey weren’t using mobile marketing yet (or enough) and skewed the results. Participants included B2B and B2C marketers around the world, so the statistics are intended to be representative of a global sample.

Participants ranked the most challenging email marketing tactics to execute as follows:

  1. Creating relevant and compelling content: 52% B2B, 55% B2C
  2. Testing and optimizing email messaging: 29% B2B, 40% B2C
  3. Segmenting email database: 29% B2B, 25% B2C
  4. Engaging subscribers via social media: 26% B2B, 22% B2C
  5. Integrating email with other tactics: 25% B2B, 27% B2C
  6. Delivering autoresponse and drip campaigns: 23% B2B, 22% B2C
  7. Personalizing email messaging: 19% B2B, 17% B2C
  8. Testing and optimizing landing pages: 17% B2B, 12% B2C
  9. Optimizing email for smartphones: 13% B2B, 20% B2C

Do you agree with the rankings above? Again, optimizing email for smartphones comes in low on the list, and I have to question if the reason is simply that the benefits of optimizing mobile email marketing messages simply isn’t a current priority for brand marketers.

Leave an opinion in the comments below and share your thoughts on email marketing tactics and challenges.

Image: T. Al Nakib

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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