Thursday, March 19, 2015

Which is Better, Email or Social Media?

AdWeek ran a recent post questioning whether email has lost ground to social networks, instant messaging, and mobile-messaging apps.  Evidence from recent market research says that social media is additive to email as a means of reaching and engaging with potential customers.  And, email is still significantly more effective at acquiring customers than social media, according to McKinsey & Company research. 

Email marketing not only continues to play a significant role in the B2B marketing mix, our expectations of it continue to grow.  With effective email marketing, and the advent of integrated CRM and marketing automation tools, marketers can build a brand following, improve open rates, increase reader engagement, and move them along to become customers and enthusiastic recommenders of a product or service.

Email is an integral touch point in the customer relationship for the majority of marketers.  In the Salesforce marketing cloud 2015 State of Marketing survey, 73% agree that email marketing is core to their business. Sixty percent of marketers in the 2015 survey said that email is a critical enabler of products and services, vs. 42% of marketers who held that sentiment in 2014.  The growing importance of email may be in part due to its convenience.  Rampant growth in the use of smartphones – offering essentially an inbox in your pocket – has made email ubiquitous.
Sending email marketing messages to a qualified target that 1) the message is opened and read, and 2) moves the reader to take action is the essential first step.  The fundamentals – message, timing, and audience targeting - still apply.  For a refresher, read Dr. Leslie Garrett’s recent article, Cornerstones of an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Once your email program is running, establish processes for performance measurement and continuous improvement. Author and business process improvement expert James Harrington said “If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” 

As practitioners marketers are continuing to learn and use metrics to track email success.  The top three metrics used to track email marketing success, named by the 5,000+ Salesforce survey respondents are click-through rates (47%), conversion rates (43%), and click-to-open rates (38%).  With some relatively simple email testing, you can identify the subject lines and offers that are of greatest interest to your audience.  Strengthening the message and offer will increase open and click-through rates.

Email Marketing Trends in 2015 and beyond: Personalization and Segmentation
Just as we have become accustomed to tracking email metrics, we face new opportunities in the personalization and segmentation of emails. eMarketer predicts that 2015 will be the year for “smart use of data”.  Marketing is increasingly shifting from art to science, with the growing availability of tools to support data-driven decisions. Watch future blog posts here on the new automation tools to support lead scoring, audience segmentation and personalization in email marketing.  May your open rates double in 2015!

Poste by Megan Miller, Edge Legal Marketing