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Ascend2 Email Marketing Priorities Jan2020When it comes to goals for email marketing strategies in 2020, two of the key priorities marketers hope to achieve are to increase sales revenue (59%) and to boost the number of leads generated (49%). But these are only two factors in marketers’ quest to make email marketing more effective, according to the latest report [download page] from Ascend2.

Here are 3 key takeaways from the report.

1. Marketers Are More Focused on Improving Engagement Than Boosting List Size, But It’s Not Easy

Increasing sales revenue and generating more leads aren’t the only goals marketers are looking to accomplish with this year’s email marketing strategy. About two-fifths (39%) say they will work on improving email engagement, which makes sense given increasing competition for attention in the inbox. Moreover, it appears that more marketers will be focused on engaging their current subscribers as opposed to adding to their email list, with only 21% of respondents saying increasing their email list size is a key goal for the year.

This isn’t to say that respondents think that improving engagement will be simple. Indeed, 45% say it is also a challenging barrier to the success of their email marketing strategy – making it the biggest obstacle cited in the survey. This challenge is nothing new to marketers as increasing email engagement has been a challenge they have faced for several years.

2. Almost 1 in 3 Marketers Say That Email’s Effectiveness is Declining

Last year Ascend2 found that email marketing campaigns were considered less effective than other tactics such as social media marketing, content marketing and search engine optimization. When respondents of this most recent survey were asked to what extent effectiveness is changing for email marketing, slightly fewer than one-third said that effectiveness is actually decreasing, either marginally (24%) or significantly (7%).

Other data from DemandMetric and Return Path from Validity has found that more than two-fifths (43%) of marketers believe their email effectiveness remained unchanged last year, with only 28% seeing a slight improvement. Combined with that result, the relatively large number of marketers who report a decrease in effectiveness in this latest survey is significant as the majority of marketers still consider email to be one of their most important marketing channels.

3. Marketers Focus More on Response Rates Than Conversions

When looking at the metrics used to measure the health of their email programs, respondents emphasized click-through-rate (CTR, 55%) and open rate (48%) first among all. This is understandable considering marketers’ wish to increase engagement, especially at a time when open rates and CTR are declining.

That being said, with the majority of respondents setting increasing sales revenue as a key priority this year, it is somewhat surprising that fewer (43%) say that one of the most effective metrics used to measure their email marketing strategy’s success is post-email conversions.

Other Findings

  • Better content (66%) and more personalization (65%) are considered the best tactics for improving the effectiveness of email programs.
  • Relatively few marketers feel they can improve effectiveness with more video and animation (22%) and more testing (12%).
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of marketers plan to continue their investment in email marketing either moderately or significantly, while 16% say they have no plans to invest at all.
  • About half (49%) of organizations use a combination of outsourced and in-house resources to implement their email strategy, with more than one-third (37%) saying they keep it all in-house.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Ascend2 surveyed 287 marketing professionals across B2B (37%), B2C (43%) and B2B/B2C equally (20%) sectors during the week of December 9, 2019.

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