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New Chart: Biggest Challenges Facing Email Marketing in 2011

Email marketing is tied to inbound marketing: inbound brings in the leads, email nurtures them and sends them back to the website or landing page which, in turn, offers valuable content that helps convert the lead into a sale.

This lead generating and nurturing cycle relies on every piece of the marketing puzzle working to its fullest. That’s why every inbound marketer needs to understand the challenges that go with email marketing and what works best in order to leverage it effectively. Let’s start with the biggest challenge to email marketing effectiveness.

MarketingSherpa Email Data

According to MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report , the #1 challenge to email marketing effectiveness is targeting your prospects and customers with highly relevant content.

  What’s interesting about these findings is that the one thing a company can control is the relevance of its content.

The issue is that the more targeted your email campaigns, the more content is required.  According to MarketingSherpa, a reason for this challenge is that “ developing a sufficient amount of content is a time-intensive process that many marketers do not have the resources to produce.

Key to creating relevant content in email is to make sure your email messages:

  • Provide an offer that is connected to the initial request
  • Offer content that fits the needs of the recipient
  • Are sent at the right time and with the right frequency

To accomplish these tactics, you need a well segmented database so that you can better target your customers and prospects with relevant email messages - content, offers, as well as timing.

Like landing pages which need to be tested and tweaked to improve conversions, email should also be tested for open, click-through, and conversion rates.

Things to test include:

  • Subject line
  • Headlines
  • Calls-to-action
  • Offers
  • HTML vs. Text
  • Length of copy

One of the reasons relevant content is so critical is that the minute an email recipient starts to feel like your emails are no longer relevant, they’ll stop reading them. You don’t get too many second chances these days.

What I find helpful is to read as many case studies as I can, to find out what’s working in the real world. At MarketingSherpa’s upcoming Email Summit 2011 , there are a number of sessions that deal directly with crafting effective email messages, as well as a session from HubSpot’s Mike Volpe on how to integrate your inbound marketing with your email marketing.

In my next post on email marketing, I will be talking about the most effective email marketing objectives for 2011.


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