Email marketing proves solid in uncertain times

While many businesses lock horns with economic uncertainty, we’re seeing email marketing offer a practical and stable means of beating the odds. According to a recent Forrester Research report, ‘State of Retailing Online 2009‘, 89% of marketers say email marketing is a reliable staple for generating leads. It’s maturing as a sustainable revenue contributor and its place in overall strategy has become crucial to meeting business goals. During a recession, email’s proven performance can be a lifesaver to many businesses forced to scale back in other ways.

Email marketing is durable for many reasons: it’s a proven, established online channel; it enables quick speed to market; it’s easy to test and measure; it involves lower overhead than traditional media; and it produces quantifiable results. It therefore continues to hold a top spot in marketer’s purview. While some grapple with cutting spend during tougher economic downturns, savvy marketers will keep their higher-performing, lower-cost programmes running at a steady clip to generate leads and revenue and shift traditional, more expensive brand marketing into a lower gear to maximise return on investment.

Struggling to stay vital in a tough market raises the stakes of any investment. While budgets may be tightened, it’s still critical for email marketers to maintain their long-term programme vision and continue to invest in growth. To help clients avoid pitfalls, we carefully strategise with each to formulate a plan that not only focuses on the basic foundational elements of email programmes, like welcome campaigns and thank you messages, but doesn’t overlook the importance of revenue generation and growth using organic, cost- effective strategies. With consistent revenue generation in mind, it’s important to engage customers early with activation campaigns and incentives embedded in triggered messages. Focusing on simple, scalable tactics like these while conserving in other areas enables long-term viability.

We’re also helping our clients adapt to consumers’ changing communication needs by developing and testing integrated social media and mobile strategies. Email is incredibly complementary to the Web 2.0 world as a driver of traffic to multiple destinations, such as web- based widgets on commerce sites, location-based offers delivered to mobile enthusiasts, and a smartly planned deal-of-the-day message shared on Facebook. To take advantage of the social media trend, marketers should monitor customer’s social media behaviour and dedicate time to learning about technology trends still on the rise. The future is never certain but strategic and innovative email marketing today is what will pay off later. Simple numbers reinforce this advice: Forrester finds email marketing listed as a high priority by 88% of retailers who are using it largely to retain customers, by 71% who plan to send segmented emails to customers based on purchase data and preferences, and by 55% who plan to gather customer feedback.

As we head into 2015, budgets may still be tight but we expect investment in email and multi-channel marketing to grow as marketers continue to focus on top revenue-generating tactics to keep business on course. The high ROI promise of email marketing affords ample opportunity to seize this moment and, when tides shift, marketers will be ready to invest in the next generation of email and interactive channels just around the corner.

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