December 21, 2010
How To

Email Trends 2010: Improve relevance, test emerging channels

SUMMARY: Another year has come and gone and email marketing remains a strong and reliable channel. Likewise, marketers have continued to improve their results. This week we look back on one year of email marketing articles to highlight three trends from 2010.

This piece includes links to nine of the year's best articles on segmentation, personalization, triggered messages and social integration.
by Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter

A key takeaway from last year's MarketingSherpa Email Summit was that 2010 would not be the year that killed email marketing, even witha list of villains that included recessionary budget cuts, younger consumers' habits, and social media.

Instead, the overwhelming majority of email marketers either increased budgets in 2010 or kept them flat. This trend continues into 2011 with 64% of email marketers increasing budgets, according to MarketingSherpa's 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

Although email accounts for a shrinking percentage of U.S. consumers' online time, it is still the third largest category, according to Nielsen. Email also dominates the U.S. mobile Web with 41.6% of all time spent.

Email is not leaving any time soon, and no one sees this more clearly than email marketers. They've spent the last year improving tactics and testing new ideas. With Email Summit 2011 just a few weeks away, we are taking a look back on one year of articles to highlight what marketers discovered.

Increase relevance: Segment and personalize

The top challenge to email marketing effectiveness is targeting recipients with highly relevant content, according to MarketingSherpa's 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. Two great ways to increase relevance -- segmenting your list and delivering valuable, personalized messages.

Below are three case studies from 2010 featuring email marketers who found ways to increase their emails' relevance to subscribers and ultimately increased performance.

'Mind Type' Segmenting Lifts Email Donations 42.5%: 6 Steps to Find Subscribers' Underlying Motivations

Personalized Audio/Video Flash App Grows List 10%: How an NHL Team Capitalized on Playoff Excitement

Email Tests: 100% to 400% improvement for website relaunch announcement

Trigger-based emails: automated and relevant

Emails automatically sent based on triggers can be more effective at increasing relevance than segmentation, according to MarketingSherpa's 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

Triggered emails are an important tool for email marketers. Here are newsletter pieces from 2010 on using and tweaking them to improve results:

MarketingSherpa Blog: Welcome Messages: Are You Making a Good First Impression on New Opt-ins?

Cross-sell in Confirmation Emails: 111% Higher Conversion Rate

New Opt-in Tactics and Welcome Series Deliver Big Lift in Subscribers, Engagement

Testing social media integration

Marketers tested social media marketing in all types of channels in 2010, including email. One lesson: adding social buttons to emails is an at least somewhat effective tactic to grow your email list, according to 62% of email marketers. Though only 10% said the tactic was "very effective," according to MarketingSherpa's 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

Here are three newsletter pieces from 2010 featuring email marketers testing and learning how this channel applies to their messages:

MarketingSherpa Blog: Making Social and Email Work Together

Email and Social Media Integration: 5 Strategies to Grow Audiences and Design Campaigns

Using Social Sharing to Achieve Specific Email Goals: 5 Insights

Useful links related to this article

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011: Las Vegas, Jan. 24-26

MarketingSherpa 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report

Nielsen: What Americans Do Online

Summit Wrap-Up Report: 7 Takeaways to Improve your Email Marketing in 2010

Email Marketing: Why should I help you?

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