Remember when direct mail used to be a dependable standby for marketers, year after year? Well now, it seems, the same is true of email. Marketers may have moved on to all sorts of other media to reach prospects and customers, but email remains effective and responsive and shouldn't be overlooked.
Natasha D. Smith, Senior Editor of Direct Marketing News, collects several significant facts about email usage in her recent article, "Why Marketers Should Keep Sending Emails." Among them:
"The volume of email marketing rose by 15.5% in Q1 2015 compared to Q1 2014," according to Experian Marketing Services.
"Seventy percent of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies," according to Exact Target.
"Email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers," according to McKinsey & Company.
Still, using email for marketing requires a careful balance. An extensive email study by Return Path shows that emailing too little results in such problems as lost revenue because customers aren't kept informed about products, reduced brand awareness, and lists that are prone to inaccuracies and spamming. On the other hand, emailing too much can lead to an increase in the mailer's opt-out rate, more total complaints, and customers ignoring emails.
Then the question becomes, how do you achieve the best mailing frequency? According to the study, "frequency optimization depends on engagement." In other words, a marketer's most valuable email subscribers are those who are "the most active and engaged," and they are also the "most likely to complain." These email contacts should be handled very carefully.
Segmenting an email list into varying levels of contacts (most active, active, average, and inactive, for example) will help a mailer understand how different contacts react and respond to email. For frequency to be optimized, says the study, a mailer must use an ongoing strategy of "testing new send frequencies, collecting the right data, drawing the correct conclusions, and creating frequency recommendations for future campaigns."