Email marketing: marketers are driving in the slow lane

Email marketing: marketers are driving in the slow lane
Nigel Williams is managing director of Emailcenter UK Ltd, a leading independent email service provider, empowering marketing professionals with advanced email marketing software and services to deliver highly targeted, relevant and timely campaigns.

On any given day, it is estimated that 269 billion emails are sent. This number is expected to rise significantly, as corporate and domestic users continue to embrace this powerful communication channel.

From the birth of Hotmail in the ‘90’s, email marketing has grown exponentially in terms of size and sophistication. However, a recent report commissioned by Emailcenter and carried out by One Poll has revealed that although email marketing automation systems might be sophisticated, many marketers are at a loss as to how to use them to their full potential.

In particular the report has highlighted four types of email marketer; the plodder, the Porsche in the slow lane guy, the middle lane hogger and the bumper sticker guy:  

The plodder

Although marketers are renowned for being early adopters of tech, this habit doesn’t seem to have crossed over into the professional arena to the same extent. The majority seem happy to plod along in the middle lane of email marketing automation.

An astonishing 86% of marketers admit to using a basic, or ‘somewhat advanced’ system, with only 14% using an advanced system that allows their company to get into the fast lane of highly targeted, personalised email marketing.

The Porsche in the slow lane guy

Many marketers are not even getting the most out of the email system that they are using at present. Over half of marketers (52%) admit that, like driving a Porsche in the slow lane, they are only using up to half the potential of their existing email automation system.

The middle lane hogger

Marketers also seem to be unaware that they could make their email marketing lives much easier by changing lanes.  Even though a vast 88.8% of marketers find their existing e-mail marketing system time intensive or difficult to use and 97.2% said they would switch to a provider that saved them time – none had made the switch when surveyed!

The bumper sticker guy

Marketers know what it takes to make a big impact. However, the research has shown that many are guilty of not practising what they preach when it comes to email personalisation. The majority of marketers (60.4%) only open emails if they are tailored to their business interests, or if the e-mail has their name on it (63.6%). Yet interestingly, 64% of marketers have admitted that they use low levels, or no personalisation in their company email marketing campaigns!

How do marketers shift up a gear?

Based on the report it is evident that at present, many marketers are putting up with email marketing systems that they either can’t use easily, haven’t got time to learn, or that just don’t meet their growing business requirements. Many are driving in second gear when they could be driving in fifth. So how can they shift up a gear?

Invest in getting up close and personal

The importance of email personalisation was highlighted in the survey. A clear, concise subject email header was particularly important to female respondents, whereas using the recipients’ name was seen as key for those aged between 18 – 44.

Spending time wisely

Time seems to be an over-riding barrier to obtaining quality, highly personalised automated emails. With 58% of marketers saying that their email system is time intensive to use and 44% wanting a simple-to-use solution, it seems that investing a small amount of time in researching a solution that ticks the following boxes could be a sound, long-term marketing investment:

Good account management and service? Look for a service that provides everything from the same office, rather than working across departments

Real-Time Support? Look for a service with phone as well as online and e-mail chat support

Experience? Check the account handlers’ experience and if possible meet them prior to working with them, to see the value they can add

Integration? Scope out the future integration needs of the business to ensure the system can support future requirements

The Right Capabilities? Look at the type of emails to be sent and check which Email Service Provider is best suited to achieve this

Overall the findings are clear; it seems it is time for many marketers to take a long, hard look at their existing email provision and see if it is time to change things up a gear.

For more information on the survey results, visit the full report here.

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