Posted by Stefan Eyram, AIMS member, volunteer, and Business Development Manager at ExactTarget...
The recent Forrester Research study "Email Marketing Comes of Age" indicates that those people that sign up for your email may be the most valuable customers and prospects you have. With 97% of consumers using email - and 94% of marketers - email is pretty much ubiquitous whether you are sending or receiving.
One of the valuable findings in this report is that although click-through rates have hit a plateau at 5% over the last few years those people that receive emails are typically the type of customer marketers are trying to attract.
For instance, those people that purchase due to email spend 138% more than those who are not reading marketing emails. Furthermore, of those people that open and read marketing emails, 50% are more likely to make an impulse purchase when they get to the marketer's site.
This reinforces the findings of many cross-channel studies that indicate that the more channels a customer uses for interacting with your brand the more they spend and the higher their value to your company.
This report also shows that even the elusive 18-34 year old demographic - the one that is more likely to be using SMS and other online channels - is using email. In fact, one-third of consumers that have a separate email address specifically for marketing emails are in this age category.
As for the viral power of email, Forrester says that three out of five people virally forwarding emails are women.
That said, the study goes on to say 77% of those surveyed in the third quarter of 2006 said they get too many e-mail offers and promotions, compared to 70% in 2002 and 44% in 2000. Are marketers sending too many emails? Is there competition in the inbox?
Forrester Research analyst and author of the report Shar VanBoskirk says that in 2007 there will be more advanced use of email and the trend will be that more middle level marketing firms will adopt email programs with increasing sophistication. This confirms what experienced email industry people have been saying for a long time. 'Batch & blast' or one-size-fits-all email is being replaced by segmented and more targeted communications that result in fewer emails but a higher level of relevance. This includes transactional and triggered emails. Plus, more marketers are closing the loop with their various channels and using data across these channels to test and optimize overall marketing results.
The conclusion? Email is very effective, especially as a channel to nurture prospects and maintain customer relationships. Ms. VanBoskirk said, "There has been a lot of concern that email has lost its effectiveness because it has not grown rapidly, but the aggressive interest in email has only normalized. It should not be a concern that it's lost its effectiveness, it is still very powerful. It's just that it's become like direct mail, which is still an effective marketing tool, but people aren't as excited about it."
Stay tuned for more posts from the AIMS Email Council and information on an upcoming AIMS email event in June.