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 »  Home  »  Email Marketing  »  How much money are you wasting on email marketing?

How much money are you wasting on email marketing?

Category:  Email Marketing

Trying to find a brand owner who doesn't extol the virtues of email marketing is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Trying to find one that is doing it effectively is an equally arduous task.

As most people recognise, email campaigns are one of the most cost effective ways of reaching customers, yet with over half of all emails not reaching recipients' inboxes, it has been estimated that marketers are losing £550m worth of sales.

But, according to The E-consultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Industry Census 2008, 60 per cent of marketers don't believe they need to improve email deliverability. So what is the solution for marketers clearly in need of a helping hand?

Email deliverability faces a number of challenges, from Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and Email Service Providers (ESPs) to poor data and overzealous spam filters, although the biggest challenge of all remains getting through to the humble consumer.

Denise Cox, newsletter specialist at Newsweaver, says: "ISPs are designed to keep consumers happy, therefore marketers have to send something that consumers want to receive. In order for an email to be successful it has to be targeted properly and the brand and ESP have to have a good reputation."

With ISPs controlling filters, a good reputation among the providers is vital but it means emails have to be sent to up-to-date and fresh addresses to ensure they get through the filters, says Cox.

Brand owners need to overhaul their lax approach to email marketing and realise the benefits of clean data, which is an essential part of the uphill struggle with deliverability. Cox comments: "Marketers must change their methods by practising email hygiene by using clean and suppressed lists. They also shouldn't send emails to addresses that have previously bounced back, as ISPs are watching for complaints and if they get enough complaints from one sender, they will stop future emails being dispatched."

While it seems some marketers clearly don't realise poor email deliverability will result in having a poor reputation among consumers and ISPs, attitudes are changing, albeit slowly. Kath Pay, marketing director at Ezemail, states: "Marketers need to understand that they have to work with ESPs and participate in communication. There is an education process in place about how to do email marketing better. Marketers are becoming more aware, an evolution is happening."

However, with 80 per cent of marketers having no idea how much sales revenue they are losing through poor deliverability, there is still a long way to go.

Targeting and testing are also essential to create successful email campaigns, as targeted emails will ensure recipients do not deem it as spam. However, the complexities of spam reach much further than emails about Viagra and breast enlargements, as consumers need to be educated about the expression.

Dela Quist, chief executive of Alchemy Worx, says: "Spam is a complicated issue and the use of the word is becoming generic and meaningless. It can be anything from phishing scams, to irresponsible marketers or accidental emails. However, if a consumer thinks an email is spam, regardless if it is or isn't, they will hit the spam button and the ISP will receive a complaint about the sender."

The solution is for marketers to behave responsibly and personalise their email campaigns so consumers know they are not being sent irrelevant communication, says Mike Weston, managing director, EMEA, at Silverpop.

"The secret is to ensure the people receiving the email are anticipating its arrival, so that it's relevant and of interest. Consumers are more in control of marketing messages and marketers have to accept that. It takes more work but it will take return on investment through the roof."

While marketers might still need convincing that email deliverability is of key importance, ESPs are citing the issue as their most important concern, according to the DMA (UK) national Email Marketing Benchmarking Report. It has cited delivery rates for the third quarter of 2007 at 87 per cent for acquisition and 88 per cent for retention.

Cox points out that marketers don't need to make email deliverability the be all and end all.

Yet, since email marketing remains extremely popular and a core part of people's everyday communication, it should be monitored as Paul Crabtree, marketing director at Adestra, considers: "If email marketers don't get this fundamental process right, there is no point spending any more of their budget on it - they may as well flush it away."

The Facts
Key Findings Source: National Email Benchmarking Survey Q3 2007

    * Mailing volumes have seen a sharp decline in July 2007; over 40 per cent of ESPs reported this decline was due to change in client volumes. However in the last part of the quarter volumes did start to pick up.
    * The average number of email addresses held dropped significantly this quarter.
    * When data was collected in December 2007 ESPs expectations for the next 12 months was positive.
    * A change in clients was ranked highly as to the reason for both lower volumes this quarter and predicted higher volumes for the next 12 months.
    * The average number of times an address is contacted per month has remained relatively stable, getting slightly closer to weekly contact.
    * Deliverability issues have been given as the most important concern for ESPs at the moment.
    * ESPs also ranked ensuring messages are relevant to protect a brands reputation as highly important.
    * Along with segmentation and targeting, ensuring that emails sentcontain relevant and uniquely available content will ensure better response rates overall.


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