Research released earlier this year suggested that improving email list quality is a bigger goal that increasing list size. But a new study from Clutch suggests that while email remains hugely popular with consumers, email marketers are having a tough time growing their audiences.
Clutch surveyed 303 email marketers (69% B2C) from companies with at least 100 employees, asking them to identify which of several challenges are among their top 3 issues. While none stood out far above the rest, the most commonly-cited primary challenge was subscriber list growth. Moreover, tallying up incidences of challenges being placed in the top 3 resulted in subscriber list growth ranked second overall among all challenges, behind only targeting and segmentation.
While list segmentation is considered very effective for increasing engagement rates, it is one of the more difficult tactics available, per survey research from Ascend2. The Clutch analysts note that list segmentation and targeting is difficult as it depends on data collection and processing; study results indicate that contact data quality is the biggest obstacle to email marketing success today.
Returning to list growth, the Clutch survey shows that opt-in forms on company websites (61%), social media (60%) and online purchases (58%) are the main ways by which email marketers capture email addresses to build their lists. More than 4 in 10 noted that they use paid online ads, while more than one-quarter rent or pay for lists. (Emails to house lists perform much better than to prospect lists, per DMA research.)
Finally, the survey notes that subscriber list growth is the most commonly tracked email marketing metric, while brand building is the top goal for these respondents.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 303 respondents who describe themselves as either expert, advanced, or intermediate email marketers. These respondents work at companies with more than 100 employees, with 47% representing companies with more than 500 employees. 31% work for B2B companies and 69% work for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.