10 Trends That Will Make or Break Your Email ROI in 2010: Part 1
Takeaway notes from an AMA webinar. By Aliza Bornstein, copywriter, Melissa Data
Here are the first five trends in this AMA sponsored
Web cast presented by J.D. Peterson of Lyris Inc.
In 2009, email marketers faced extreme challenges,
arguably the worst of any year, on any recent
record. The unsteady economy resulted in buyers who
put a hold on spending decisions, delayed purchases
(or purchased less), and expected lower pricing out
of their vendors.
As a result, everyone saw longer sales cycles, less
frequent purchases, fewer dollars spent per sale,
and found it harder to reach revenue goals. Unmet
financial goals resulted in resource scarcity
(people; money; time; bandwidth; etc.) and this was
seen across the board in every industry.
There is hope! Companies can grow in 2010 using
email and other online marketing mediums. The key is
to know what the various marketing trends are and to
have a few essential tools ready to make them work
for you. And that’s really what this webinar is
about, it’s about helping you navigate to better
results and bigger successes in 2010.
Trend #1: Email is the cornerstone to other
online marketing programs
Email marketing alone isn’t exactly a hot new trend.
The important takeaway is that email has been, and
will continue to be, the cornerstone of the online
marketing world. Of all the trends to watch, this
will be one that many people will miss, simply
because it seems so obvious. One reason email is the
cornerstone is because it’s the one method of online
marketing that pretty much everyone uses.
How does the concept of the cornerstone work? Since
email is the highest performing online marketing
tool at many companies, there is an interest in
using other online marketing tools to drive email
campaigns—and vice versa. Email marketing is a low
cost way to expand results. You can use social
marketing to extend your email campaigns between the
send dates, or maybe search marketing to build your
opt-in list. After completing these tasks, you’ve
extended the potential impact of those various
The bottom line is email marketing is not going away
and email marketers should plan on shoring up and
continuing to use this medium to expand in 2010 and
Trend #2: Email automation as an essential
Email automation is one of the ways that smart
marketers are combating that challenge of email
deliverability, and that’s why it’s an important
trend for 2010. 88 percent of email marketers are
already sending automatic emails based off triggers,
or planning on it in some fashion. That’s a huge
chunk in the marketing community right there.
There’s a good reason for that high percentage: it
really does work!
Why is this automation on the rise? Automation is a
great use of resources. Once you set up a program,
it’s very easy to maintain it. You essentially
create something once and then deploy that highly
relevant content to thousands and thousands of
people, over and over again, but with very little
additional investment on your part, once you get the
program up and running. Since these types of
messages are more compelling and targeted to your
audience, they convert at higher rates. So together,
this results in much increased ROI for your company.
Most importantly in the end (the payoff!), automated
email programs can generate anywhere from a 30 to a
70 percent open rate (depending on the type of
content and the type of industry). And that’s far
beyond the industry norm of 10 to 20 percent for
standard, non-automated emails.
In 2010, it will be important for email marketers to
automate some or all of their emails as resources
allow. At a minimum, establishing a welcome program
is recommended. Welcome programs are a great way to
make new subscribers and customers feel good about
your company right off the bat. It reinforces the
promise you made to them when they subscribed, and
it’s a very smart way to start the new relationship.
Depending on the preferences your subscribers
provided when they opted in, you can then poll these
new subscribers into nurture campaigns.
Nurture or trigger programs are an effective way to
make special offers to relevant content in your
subscriber base. Depending on the type of people
that comprise your list, you can use nurture or
trigger programs to convert prospects to customers,
or to retain and upsell existing customers.
Trend #3: Web analytics = Email enhancer
Use Web analytics as a tool to enhance email by
informing and allowing you to make better email
marketing decisions. For many marketers to feel
underwater due to a lack of resources, this whole
topic of Web analytics can sometimes feel like an
unattainable luxury. The truth is, many email
service providers are now integrating Web analytics
right into their systems. This makes it easier for
email marketers to access, understand, and use Web
analytics to their advantage.
They’re able to use this data to assess the
effectiveness of email programs, and in particular,
to answer the question all email marketers are
after, which is “what happened after they clicked?
They clicked through on my email and then what
happened?” Based on getting that data, you can then
make adjustments and improvements with greater
confidence and agility.
As a result, analytics are enabling email marketers
to move up that value chain. They’re able to make
data-driven decisions and actions, and better manage
their marketing programs from a strategic, holistic
point of view.
So, how does this work? Email, along with things
like PPC (social or mobile), generally use a
campaign to drive visitors to your site. There, you
might have landing pages housed or people arrive at
your corporate Web site through some other medium.
What you can do then is follow that particular
campaign traffic on their path through your site to
see where they went, what they’re interested in, and
then, ultimately, if they convert.
With those analytics in hand, you can then alter
your messaging and the site path to increase
conversions and really drive people to where you
want them to go. That makes for a winning closed
The integration of Web analytics with email
marketing results in more profitable campaigns and
higher customer retention rates—is something we all
want, no matter what industry or line of business
Trend #4: Social media entwined with email
Social media is obviously hot; we’re hearing about
it everywhere on a daily basis. Despite rumors to
the contrary, it’s actually great news for email
marketing. Marketers are extremely happy with the
influence social media has had already on email
marketing. According to Marketing Sherpa, 81 percent
of marketers believe that social media does extend
the reach of email content to new markets, and 78
percent think it enhances brand reputation or
Social media shouldn’t be seen as a replacement to
email marketing, but instead a complement or
enhancer. The fact is, email itself is social. When
people want to share something on the Internet with
others, 78 percent of them do so by emailing a link.
There’s a lot that email marketers can do to
leverage this trend optimally in 2010.
How does social media benefit email?
• It expands the reach in between the email sent.
All this improves results and ROI! The following are
a few quick tips to take advantage of the social
• It grows your opt-in list virally.
• It increases response exponentially.
• It establishes online reputation and trust, which
improves email deliverability.
• Establish your company on a relevant social site.
Trend #5: Get mobile!
• Link across programs.
• Contribute to an existing blog and get others to
contribute to yours.
• Automatic post and share.
That thing we call “the phone” isn’t just being used
as a voice mechanism anymore. According to ABI
research, mobile marketing revenues are expected to
reach $24 billion by 2013, which is a huge jump from
$1.8 billion in 2007.
With mobile, you can expand your reach beyond your
standard email opt-in list, and also develop mobile
opt-in lists to reach new targets and expand your
overall subscriber base. A bigger pool of qualified,
engaged prospects equals more revenue prospects.
Mobile also allows you to extend your campaigns
virally. Mobile (like social media) is another
vehicle for information sharing, forwarding, adding
comments, and so on. All this ultimately leads to
nice bottom line results.
Here are a few simple ways to weave mobile marketing
into the mix in 2010:
• Offer mobile-only incentives for opting into SMS
or email alerts.
• Ask prospects to text for a free guide and
encourage email opt-in.
• Deliver your email content via mobile to expand
Check back for the last five trends in next week’s
---Source: American Marketing
Association webinar on Jan. 12, 2010 (www.marketingpower.com).
J.D. Peterson in the VP, Product, for Lyris Inc.
Email him questions at
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