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Looking back on a good year

January 18, 2011

At the start of the New Year, we take a look back at some of our email marketing highlights of 2010 and introduce our most popular Visionary newsletter articles of the year. 2010 turned out to be a good year for email, with the much prophesised death of email continuing to be delayed, despite continuous proclamations that social media would lead to its demise.

Our most popular Extravision article of 2010 was Ready, Steady, Email, which featured lots of valuable email tactics to try in 2011 and achieved a high 23% click through rate. Runner up was our 10 Step Guide to generating a fantastic response, which enjoyed an 18% click through rate. In this article, we gave you 10 key ingredients to ensure a successful email campaign.

Social buzz

Last year there was lots of buzz about social, with marketers finally realising, that an effective social strategy is more than just putting a ‘share on Twitter’ link in an email. Facebook joined forces with email, by “launching” new email features that group messages by sender rather than conversation or date. Although, we haven’t seen very much materialise as yet; perhaps integration will intensify in 2011.

Data wake-up call

It was also the year that many marketers woke up to the harsh reality, that simply buying bulk data and blasting out emails was not a good option, due to an increase in consumer intolerance to badly targeted email campaigns. Marketers began to manage and collect appropriate email and website data, at sign-up and in preference centres. This year, it will be interesting to see new and more creative data capture techniques and we will undoubtedly also see email marketers working hand in hand with SEO professionals, to see how search traffic can be used to drive data capture.

Useful insight

In September, Extravision were pleased to sponsor The DMA Email Marketing Council’s 2010 National Client Email report, which provided a fascinating insight into the progress the email marketing sector is making. As the findings of the report testified, the medium continues to evolve through refining techniques and inspired innovations. Most impressively, companies are continuing to up their investment in the channel. Nearly 90 per cent of the companies polled for the survey reported that they regard email marketing as being important to their business. More than half stated that they expect to increase their email marketing budget over the next 12 months, with 48 percent saying they will be doing so by cutting back on expenditure on direct mail.

Innovation

In 2010 we saw major changes to the inbox with Microsoft and Yahoo changing the way people can see their inbox, thanks to filters which show only emails from your friends and family. Google went further and released their Priority Inbox feature, which aimed to learn which emails are important to you and promote them to the top of your inbox accordingly. It was also a year when major ISPs continued to increase their automation of spam filters and reputation.
The growth of mobile and smartphones has been momentous and continues to grow, with no-one able to accurately predict the impact on email, due to the speed of the change.

Going interactive

Email has really held its own, partially due to business’s adoption of this channel for communications and marketing and because it remains universally popular across all age groups. And it is still a fundamental in the interactive marketing tool kit. While its tried and true best practices haven’t changed dramatically in the past few years, interactive is changing how email marketers think about their users, content and strategy. Marketers have developed blogs, online communities, widgets, and Twitter feeds, among other social media applications and have improved their use of multichannel metrics.

Learning curve

We’re still learning how to best use social media, and the long-term value is not yet clear, though a rosy future seems likely. The DMA email survey interestingly highlighted that 73% of organisations are integrating email marketing with social media and/or networks. However, responses indicate the value of such integration is in email driving social success, rather than social driving email sign-ups.

Marketers will also have to stop seeing a website as a static site, but as a more dynamic vehicle, and email will have to grow, adapt and change to fit in with this. With budgets being slashed due to the economic downturn, marketers are increasing their focus on email marketing because of its relative cost-effectiveness compared to other direct marketing channels. The medium is also highly flexible and very accountable, so its appeal increases when budgets are reduced.

The future is bright

The 2010 DMA survey predicted that 31% of organisations will use an ESP over the coming 12 months, based on deliverability, reputation, customer service, product functionality and product robustness, with price dropping in relative importance.

With this in mind, the Extravision team remain confident that they will see more and more businesses focusing on email and are all looking forward to the wider digital journey.
 

If you need any more information, please call 0161 817 2929 or email [email protected]

Posted by Jenni Malley
Topical email


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