Monday Catch-up: Spending, Testing and How to Grow Your Email List

Happy First Monday of Summer, marketers! Let’s kick off the week – and the summer – with some pertinent news and information from around the interwebs. Here we go:

Study: Email marketing spending to increase; lack of testing threatens ROI

“Email Marketing & Beyond: Global Market Benchmarks,” a recent GetResponse study of 2,500 digital marketers from a variety of industries representing both B2B and B2C markets, resulted in news reports detailing findings related to email marketing-related spending and testing.
At BizReport, Helen Leggatt reported that the study results indicate that spending on email marketing will continue to rise in 2017.

“Across all channels, email marketing was the one that marketers said would receive the highest boost in investment,” she writes. “More than half (58 percent) of marketers said they would increase email marketing budgets in 2017.”

The study found that email delivers a better ROI than any other channel — undoubtedly a major reason that marketers continue to invest in it.

And Jess Nelson, reporting on the study at Email Marketing Daily, writes about findings indicating that a majority of email marketers do not test or optimize their email marketing efforts – and suggests this lack of testing is costing them in terms of ROI.

“Fifty-one percent of respondents admitted they did not test or optimize their email marketing efforts at all, while 23% of respondents do not analyze any success metrics,” Nelson writes. “Of the 49 percent of digital marketers who do optimize their email marketing, 26% test subject lines and 14% test landing pages. Furthermore, 21% of marketers consider top-of the-funnel metrics like clicks and opens to be their most important success metric.”

“Email was still ranked as the best digital marketing channel for ROI according to GetResponse’s report, but marketers could see even greater returns if they implemented testing,” Nelson concludes.

The challenge of growing lists with content marketing

“Email is among the most powerful marketing channels available, but as brands work to grow their email lists, they’re finding that the most effective tactics can also be some of the most difficult to rely on,” writes Maria Minsker at eMarketer, reporting on a recent survey of marketing professionals conducted by the digital marketing research firm Ascend2.

“42% of respondents to the survey said content marketing is the most effective email list growth tactic, while 50% said it’s the toughest to execute,” she writes.

Minsker suggests the fact that content marketing requires a significant investment in time and personnel might be the root of the challenge. She cites data that shows that “43 percent of U.S. creative and marketing professionals surveyed said that having enough bandwidth to create content is the top content marketing challenge.”

Nevertheless: “Despite the obstacles associated with content marketing, marketers are by no means shying away from it—or other difficult tactics. Instead, they simply outsource them to agencies that specialize in these areas.”

Better planning key to reducing the stress of email marketing

“Email is a powerful medium,” writes Jose Cebrian at Marketing Land. “It has a unique combination of scale and speed. And because it is relatively low-cost on a per-piece or cost-per-thousand basis, it doesn’t get the planning and discipline that a channel like direct mail does, especially in the retail industry.”

That lack of planning and discipline, Cebrian suggests, can lead to email marketers feeling extremely stressed out. “Some people thrive on the excitement of the pace, while others find it difficult to navigate,” he writes.

In addition to suggesting that email marketers focus on planning, Cebrian offers several others stress-reduction tips, including using a workflow tool, automating wherever possible, and using content modules.

“To reduce the stress of everyday life, assess your program for areas to automate. Look at how design and copy can be put into flexible templates to speed the work of the creative team and reduce time coding and testing. With some or all of these in place, your team will be nimbler and better able to react to quick-turn campaigns,” Cebrian concludes.

More consumers directing marketing messages to separate account

New survey results indicate that consumers, especially younger ones, are “increasingly looking to separate marketing messages from their other emails by having them sent to a separate account,” writes Ian Barker at BetaNews.

The survey, which was conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, indicated that 36 percent of respondents are using separate accounts for marketing messages – but for millennials, the number is 58 percent.

Is that news for email marketers? Not necessarily, according to Barker.

“The findings show that those with separate marketing accounts check in more frequently for promotions compared to consumers who only use one primary account,” he writes. “Which suggests that consumers want promotions but don’t want to clog up their personal inboxes.”