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All brands carry out email marketing in some shape or form, though some are obviously more advanced than others.

For brands seeking to move things to the next level, Econsultancy and Pure360 have produced a new report outlining what needs to be done to bridge the gap between poor or ordinary email marketing and best-in-class email marketing.

Bridging the Gap in Email Marketing is based on interviews with digital marketing professionals across a range of businesses, exploring the challenges and opportunities for marketers who are committed to taking their use of email to the next level.

It includes a discussion of four areas that businesses should focus on in order to maximise their chances of success.

Download the full report for detailed information on optimising your email marketing, or read on for a summary of four key talking points...

Good data is key

Good quality data is fundamental to all digital channels, and email is no different.

This requires a strong CRM system to bring together customer data from across different departments, alongside new initiatives that glean further information from new technologies.

According to Brian Streich from StubHub:

Going up a level is about data, or the lack of it. It’s a two-pronged problem: you have a lot of data but you always need more and then, how do you use it? That’s when you need the support of the ESP to manage the campaign and provide the analytics.

Customer databases must be kept clean and up-to-date so that marketers can begin implementing email personalisation.

At it’s most basic level this allows brands to ensure that people only receive relevant offers, but more advanced marketers can decide whether they want to tailor the entire customer experience based on the user’s demographics and previous behaviour.

There is however a debate over how far email marketers should go in terms of personalising content.

The report also discusses data’s role in automation. Executives agreed that automation was desirable as it allowed companies to send not only large volumes of segmented, relevant email but also to be responsive to events and send time-sensitive communications.

Data integration remains a hurdle

Respondents frequently cited data integration as a barrier to improving their email marketing.

This is because organisations find it difficult to secure the required resources to prepare and implement more effective data integration.

Companies need to dive into this challenge because it not only makes email smarter and more responsive but has knock-on effects across the whole business as product also becomes more relevant.

Mobile optimisation is essential and effective

Mobile email has long been a popular topic on the Econsultancy blog and our new report shows that ‘mobile first’ is increasingly the watchword for email marketers in response to shifting consumer behaviours.

One respondent reported a 120% jump in conversions after introducing a responsive email template, though it’s often the case that non-optimised landing pages and websites create a fragmented customer journey.

Many marketers have interim strategies in place to help keep customers engaged in the mobile channel until a more permanent solution can be implemented.

Simplicity is at the heart of successful B2B email

While second only to the web as an acquisition tool, B2B executives also see email as a major player in retention.

However in general B2B struggles with fewer resources than B2C, and this is most apparent when it comes to delivering segmented, relevant email campaigns.

B2B marketers also face the challenge of having a far longer sales cycle, where it’s estimated that small businesses will download seven assets before engaging in the sales process. This rises to nine for medium businesses.

Simplicity is key to countering these issues and B2B email marketers often feel they can increase relevance simply by being more selective about content and limiting calls to action to one per mail.

They also engage in a range of different activities, including overall brand-building emails, managing offers to areas of the database previously not considered and post-purchase service activity.

For further discussion on these points, download the new Bridging the Gap in Email Marketing Report.

David Moth

Published 17 June, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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