Nearly two-thirds (65%) of B2C and B2B marketers agree that email is either the most or one of the most important marketing channels available. Return Path’s new report [download page] also reveals that the majority (80%) of marketers surveyed believe that email’s effectiveness is improving or, at least, remaining steady.
Even with a high rate of effectiveness, marketers still must deal with inactive email subscribers. But more than half (56%) of respondents said they do not actively try to re-engage inactive subscribers. Of the 44% who do create targeted campaigns for re-engagement, two-fifths (39%) find that free resource offers are effective, marking the highest rate of satisfaction of the 5 campaign types identified.
Customer testimonials and making subscribers aware of new products or services tie for the second-most effective re-targeting campaigns, with 37% reporting using them effectively. Coupons/discounts and surveys are also considered by more to be effective than ineffective, though the gap is narrower for surveys than for other types.
Factors Driving Improved Engagement
Pursuing increased engagement is one of the best ways to ward off inactive subscribers, and marketers are using a variety of tricks up their sleeve to keep their subscribers enthused. Personalization is one such strategy used by 4 in 5 of the survey participants. The largest share (42%) of the marketers surveyed used segment level personalization, about twice as many as are focused on a combination of segment-level and individual-level personalization (20%). The study did find that about one-fifth focus exclusively on individual-level personalization, which was found to generate better open rates, clicks and engagement.
Along with personalization, the majority (80%) of respondents said they perform list segmentation of some type as a way to increase engagement. Of those respondents, two-thirds (66%) reported that its impact on email deliverability was good (46%) or very good (20%).
List segmentation has proven effective in the past with reported higher open rates and unique opens. Most notably, however, is it resulted in 101% higher clicks than non-segmented email.
How lists are segmented differs depending on whether email marketers are targeting businesses or consumers. More than half (55%) of B2B marketers said they most often segmented their lists by job title, while 49% segmented by demographic.
The most popular form of segmentation for B2C marketers was a three-way tie (at 43% each) between demographic, acquisition source and type of account (i.e. primary or secondary). Purchase history was also used by more than one-third (36%) of B2C marketers.
Opt-In Inconclusive As A Strategy
One engagement approach listed in the report – that might be more driven by legislation – is an opt-in/permission strategy. With GDPR and other regulations restricting data, opt-in email is one method through which consent to market can be obtained. However, nearly half (48%) of respondents said they assumed permission to add a person to a list, while a very small percentage (2%) said they did not bother getting permission at all.
Of the other half of respondents who did use an opt-in strategy, the majority (79%) used a single opt-in strategy. But this might be more of a ‘tick in the box’ exercise than one that really moves the needle – the study found that there was no correlation between this opt-in email strategy and email effectiveness.
To read more, download the report here.
About the Data: The data for the report was comprised of survey responses from 221 respondents. The organization types represented are B2B (46%), B2C (12%), Mix of B2B and B2C (33%) and Non-profit (9%).