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Email Trends to Look for in 2012

While perusing the Internet, I was surprised to see yet another article discussing the death of email.

Although this article seemed to be directed toward internal business activities and the focus of other platforms for internal communication, there’s an interesting scenario that exists: some companies are attempting to eliminate internal email communications while others are expanding external email communications.

According to new data from StrongMail, 60% of the 939 business owners surveyed said they plan on increasing their email budget for 2012. This number is higher than social media spend, which is expected to increase by 55% of business owners.

Out of all the possible email marketing program types, the three that marketers are expecting to focus on the most include social media channel growth, promotional campaigns and newsletter campaigns.

Integrating with social media was the top of this list, as promoting additional platforms for content gives publishers more ways to reach and build their audience.

Newsletters and email promotions

There’s no doubt that content marketing has taken over as a main method for building and retaining audiences online. StrongMail’s data shows that promotional and newsletter campaigns are the second and third most important email endeavors, and MarketingSherpa provides similar data in their recent Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

One highlight of the report is that 69% of the 2,730 organizations surveyed report that “delivering highly relevant content is a top objective for their organization’s email marketing processes in the next 12 months.”

According to the report, 30% of marketers are finding it difficult to create relevant content on a “consistent and predictable” basis, two we deem important as online publishers. Consumers want content and providing it daily helps fill that desire while allowing the brand to stay at the top of their audience’s mind.

Email activities of great importance

What email activities are the most important for your organization in 2012? For the respondents of StrongMail’s survey, increasing subscriber engagement topped the list. It was followed by “improving segmentation and targeting” and “growing our opt-in email list.”

The desire to increase engagement relates directly to the added attention of integrating with social media and providing relevant content. Social media helps more interaction take place and relevant content inherently persuades users to praise the content, disagree with it or add their own commentary to the conversation.

2012 challenges for email marketers

The accuracy of email subscriber data is one of the big challenges marketers face. Although valid email addresses are required by double opt-in marketers to get on an email list, is doesn’t mean the user is giving their preferred email address, or one that they check often.

Due to this, a percentage of email marketers’ database may be inaccurate, according to MarketingSherpa, “only 19% of marketers feel more than 90 percent their email marketing subscriber data is correct and current.”

Integrating with customer data, the lack of resources/staff and content management are the three most cited problems for email marketers in 2012, concluded StrongMail’s survey.

As publishers using email marketing, what are the problems you face? I’d love to hear your thoughts so we can create a dialogue that would hopefully prove to be helpful to your email marketing endeavors in 2012.

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