2017 is already more than half over, so now is a good time to take stock of the email marketing landscape. What has changed, and what do these new developments mean for your business? After all, the better you understand the current state of spam, the better you can tailor your campaigns to avoid being incorrectly identified as unwanted marketing mail.
According to research quoted by B2B Marketing, 82% of marketers were prioritizing investment in email marketing during 2016. This is slightly ahead of websites (78%) and social media (71%) – SEO/PPC was a long way behind at 53%.
If marketers are serious about spending more on email, they need to be sure that their messages are reaching people’s inboxes. Unfortunately, this is proving to be incredibly difficult. According to Radicati, over 205 billion emails were sent every day in 2015, and they expect this to increase 3% every year until at least 2019.
On a more personal level, the average business user receives 76 ‘legitimate’ emails every day. Surprisingly Radicati predict this figure will grow only slightly, reaching 77 by 2019. When it comes to spam however, the picture is very different.
The Email Statistics Report, 2015-2019 found that in 2015 business people were receiving an average of 12 spam emails every day. This figure is expected to increase by an average of 11% year on year.
It is interesting to note that although spam detection systems are improving every year, the number of unwanted messages received every day will continue to rise – even if the rate does slow towards the end of this decade. Researchers have noticed that global spam volumes have declined by just over 10% in the past 18 months, suggesting that spammers are switching to alternative channels like social media and instant messaging to target a new audience.
One other important factor to consider is that for the purposes of their report, Radicati counted “graymail” towards the spam total. Graymail describes the newsletters and other opt-in messages that the recipient may once have signed up for, but which they no longer want to receive.
This should give marketers pause for thought about how they present their messaging to avoid becoming just another item of graymail that their prospect is not interested in. Unwanted messaging is annoying and does actually have a dollar value attached to it – one estimate suggested that every spam mail takes 16 seconds to deal with. Assuming that business users receive 14 emails every day this year, this adds up to approximately $475 per employee per year.
Where spam messaging is annoying and time consuming to manage, malware presents an even greater challenge. AV Test, the independent IT security institute has found that the amount of malware in circulation has increased by almost 600% between 2012 and 2016. Interestingly, incidences of new malware peaked in 2015, and have since fallen back to four-year low.
Obviously malware and spam are completely different problems, but for time-poor employees they both represent a costly and annoying drain on resources. The fear of being infected by malware also means that businesses are far more likely to increase the sensitivity of their mail filters, even if it means that important messages are not delivered from time to time.
Email remains one of the most effective modern marketing channels available which is why (as stated above) it will be a priority for investment this year. The DMA 2013 Statistical Fact Book famously claimed that email marketing has a typical ROI of 4300% - providing further incentive for marketers to stick with the channel and overcome the spam trap.
Aside from the obvious – avoiding spammy language, using disreputable mail servers, sending too many messages at once – email marketing success is defined by one key factor – relevance.
The most successful marketing messages, regardless of channel, are those that speak to targeted individuals about a real world problem they are facing. To address this issue, marketers need to be able to build a specialised persona that embodies their perfect customer, and write marketing emails that talk directly to them.
A good subject line tailored to the interests of your audience improves email effectiveness by 40%. And sending messages with subjects that are strongly relevant to your prospects increase effectiveness by 55%.
With that target audience defined, the final task is to identify the exact individuals who fit into the target demographic. And the best way to do this is with the assistance of a constantly updated contacts database.
The actual database used to power email campaigns is equally important. The more fresh and accurate your data is, the greater the chance of reaching your intended audience. And when your messages are delivered consistently, there is less likelihood of being classified as a spammer on account of a high number of hard bounces caused by outdated and non-existent email addresses.
Database accuracy actually boosts campaign performance by over a third – 38%. Similarly, a more accurate database that allows you to filter contacts on a more granular level to create truly relevant contact groups improves campaign effectiveness by 39%.
Designed to help your business avoid spam traps and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns, Global Database is updated on a daily basis to ensure records are as accurate as possible. Perfect for email campaigns, the platform also provides all the contact details you need for offline campaigns too, including direct mailings and telesales.
And more than a simple list of contact details, Global Database also provides additional information that can be used to identify individuals based on organisation size, industry sector and company turnover. To learn more about Global Database, and to arrange a free demo, please get in touch.