There’s a new survey by Lyris & FOLIO saying that publishers are really struggling to get the most out of their email campaigns. However, according to other recent studies, email marketing has the upper hand for new customer acquisition and companies still outline email marketing as one of their best channels for return on investment. Watch this Daily Brown Bag to learn how email marketing helps businesses increase customer engagement and sales, and discover how creating customized, targeted email campaigns are the key to success!

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Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we’re going to be talking about some of the new email marketing stats. I’m Chad Hill, and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hey, good afternoon, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. We’re covering email marketing again. This is a frequent topic here, Chad, and we tell our customers all the time that email marketing is alive and well. A lot of people don’t want to hear it or just don’t understand it. It really is an important part of the well-rounded, diversified online marketing strategy; it’s how you can keep your audience and your customers engaged, and it definitely will increase sales. We have a lot of good statistics here that we gotta plow through, trying to make the case once again that you should give this a second look.

First off, we know that 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based market communication via email. That’s a whopping number, 77% -- a very high percentage. If you’re still not convinced, according to Experian, the average return on investment per every dollar (every one dollar spent) in email marketing, Chad, is over $44. I know we’ve cited that statistic numerous times here in the Brown Bag as well as in the webinars, but it’s really hard to soak that in. Forty-four dollars back for every dollar spent is an incredible return on investment.

EConsultancy’s recent survey -- this was in 2014, this year -- email marketing industry census revealed that companies attribute 23% of their sales to email marketing, so that starts to justify that dollar-spent-$44-returned because 23% of their sales are coming from email marketing. Companies still rank email marketing as one of their best channels for return on investment. Again, citing this study from this year, 68% rated it as “good” or “excellent.” According to McKinsey & Company, email marketing has the upper hand for new customer acquisition and is almost 40% more successful than social media. Again, I’m going to repeat that stat, Chad, because it’s almost unbelievable. Email, according to McKinsey, is almost 40% more successful than social media.

You can see the setup here that we’re getting into. Why are we still talking about this? Why are people having trouble with it? Well, people do have trouble with this. According to the company Lyris, they have a survey out, also from 2014, saying that publishers are really struggling to get the most out of their email marketing campaigns. Here’s a quote from their CMO, saying, “Publishers are well-known for having a deep understanding of their audiences. However, the survey findings reveal that they have yet to apply these experiences to email marketing.” So what is the deal, Chad, with email marketing?

It’s a really interesting one. I was actually talking to a copywriter the other day about the creative side of email marketing and writing the right copy and then the technology. This guy, who is an expert in this field, really had very little understanding of the data, which is what the survey actually shows here. Forty percent of the respondents in the survey said that they don’t analyze the behaviors of their subscribers. Only 30% said that they personalize emails. It’s a huge area for growth. Seventy-nine percent said they don’t really have a strategy for engaging inactive subscribers, so if someone unsubscribes, that’s sort of out of sight, out of mind. They don’t try to re-engage or find ways to get them back into a more appropriate segment or list. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said that their emails are not even fully optimized for mobile, and we know, Adam, again from some of these stats in the Brown Bag, that the number of usage on email on mobile devices is skyrocketing. It’s nearing 50%.

What we do know is that the companies also responded how they are using email. Eighty-eight percent say they use it for newsletters, 75% said for event promotions, 74% for subscription renewals, and 72% for promotional offers. Of those groups, the plan for this next year is that most people are going to be investing more in newsletters and more in event promotion, in terms of how they’re going to tailor their email marketing strategies.

There are also some really interesting facts coming out of this survey about the top frustrations with email in general besides not analyzing the data. Fifty-four percent said it’s really hard to grow the subscriber list, 42% said that getting into this dynamic content personalization based on the data you know about someone is really hard to do, 41% said list maintenance, 33% said mobile optimization, and 33% said analytics. Pretty much everything -- except for writing content -- people are having trouble with. So very, very interesting here.

We wanted to leave everybody with the idea that customized, targeted email marketing campaigns really are the key to success… figuring out how to both analyze that information and then sit down and think about the strategy in how you want to use that data and how you want to customize your content program. They’re not easy things to do, but I think what we’re hearing here in this data that’s been supported many, many times, is that it’s worth the while. Getting it right really can have a material impact on your business.

Yeah, very interesting, Chad. Again, we’re talking about email marketing. People don’t find this to be a sexy topic. They want to talk about social media, they want to talk about SEO, they want to talk about pay-per-click. All of those are more interesting to most of the audience. We certainly find that in our reseller community over email, but these data are speaking to us loud and clear and, you’re right, they’re saying that half of people have a real hard time growing and maintaining that list, and they’re saying that understanding the data and how to segment is very difficult. I guess, if there is a silver lining here, it’s that if you can be that guy that figures out how to make it easy for your client, there is a return on investment here that rivals the numbers we see from PPC and SEO, so it’s worth the investment and it’s a good place to go. I’m sure we’ll be covering this again, Chad, as email marketing seems to be the one that just never dies.

That’s our Brown Bag for today. We really appreciate you coming, and we ask, as always, that you subscribe or reach out to us with a comment. We’d love to hear from you.