Finding money in the budget for e-mail marketing

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An Oct. 1 JupiterResearch report, which was sponsored by StrongMail Systems, found that, among other things, e-mail marketers may not be getting the financial support they need when it comes to their campaigns. If you look at a company’s overall e-mail spending, such things as transactional messaging, customer service and corporate e-mail take precedence over straight e-mail marketing, according to the report.

While you might think there’s little you can do to ensure your cut of the e-mail spending pie, that’s not so, said David Daniels, research director at JupiterResearch. Here are four action items that may help you boost your department’s 2008 budget.

  1. Compare the value of e-mail subscribers to nonsubscribers. If you have the ability to look at customer lists by different variables, pull a report that compares customers who have provided e-mail addresses with those who haven’t. The results, said Daniels, are probably striking. “For most organizations, the e-mail subscribers are going to be more valuable than the customers who don’t provide their e-mail addresses,” he said. Your relationship with e-mail-accessible customers is probably going to be deeper; you’re communicating with them regularly and they know who you are. E-mail also gives them access to more information and offers, which may make them more likely to purchase from you again.
  2. Stress the importance of acting now. The handheld market set records over the past two years, with sales topping the 20.5 million unit mark this year. People are working more and they’re more mobile, which means they are more frequently accessing their e-mails away from their PCs. It also means that unless you’ve already caught your prospect’s eye, your e-mails may be instantly deleted. “Use this information from the market to underscore how time-constrained people are. BlackBerry units, Treos and social marketing are cutting into the time people have to communicate,” Daniels said. “You need to explain to your CFO that if you don’t get your house in shape soon, that window is closing. You need to build relationships now or you might not get the chance to later.”
  3. Prove that there’s more to e-mail marketing than meets the eye. Unless your company sells low-ticket, tangible items, you’re probably not seeing a direct ROI for your e-mail marketing. But that doesn’t mean that the message you send today doesn’t affect your bottom line tomorrow. Ask your in-bound call center and salespeople to include a quick question in their sales script: Where did you hear about our company and offer? That way you can continue tracking your e-mail marketing reach even after your messages have been deleted, Daniels said.
  4. Make a plan to move to the next level. E-mail marketing is wonderful, but targeted e-mail marketing—which takes more time, manpower and money—is incredible, Daniels said. “The ROI on targeted e-mail is four to 10 times as high, depending on the type of campaign,” he said. “Look at this value, and communicate the fact that when you double down and slice up lists, you’re going to get results.”
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