August 18, 2009

New Chart: Trend Analysis: Email Performance Since 2001

SUMMARY: We’ve been studying email trends for a long time, and this chart goes back to the beginning, tracing the relationship between email practice and email success. In one form or another, we’ve asked the basic question about how well email was performing since our first survey in 2001. This chart highlights some trends and key takeaways.

Email Works Best When You Do Too

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The Takeaways:
-> In 2001, it was still easy to get opt-ins. "Relevance" wasn’t our ad nauseum catchword yet, and simply throwing up an email capture field would yield names. We saw a peak in the bursting bubble year of 2002. Then (as now) marketers were looking for low cost ways of reaching their target markets, retaining customers and hitting their quarterly goals.

-> Over time, we see that efficacy fell off the high. Email matured, inboxes filled up and other media worked their way into business and personal life. Given the competition for attention, email has held up remarkably well, especially given its yearly obituary at the hands of the latest, greatest tactic.

-> In 2004 we see our two groups begin to really diverge. At this point it’s no longer a walk in the park to get new subscribers; marketers are finding that they have to provide value, think about relevance and pay attention to their email programs to see continued increase in its impact.

-> Every year the gap grows, as those who fit our ‘best practices’ model (a definition which evolved over the years based on tracked metrics) report stable or improving impact for email, while those still batching and blasting see diminishing returns.

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