Confusion reigns over email marketing

People are getting confused over the benefits of email marketing according to a new report on “customer engagement“. The study shows that 45% of businesses say they have not done email marketing to any great degree because of budgetary concerns. Now, with the recession beginning to bite and budgets being attacked even further the same study shows that 41% of business are going to invest in email marketing BECAUSE of lack of budgets.

Pardon? Yes, you heard it right – businesses are not involved in email marketing because it costs too much and now that their budgets are being trimmed they are spending more on email marketing. Confused?

What this demonstrates is lack of understanding and lack of knowledge about the Internet. Some businesses clearly realise that the greatest return on investment of any Internet technology is from email marketing. However, some people in business clearly think that email is a waste of time. Indeed, we have seen recent reports that suggest people should do less email rather than more. I’ve just been on the breakfast show of City Talk Radio in Liverpool talking about this very subject.

You get one piece of research saying one thing and before you know it you get another study which says the opposite. It’s the same in all sorts of areas. Only yesterday a report came out saying that watching TV was bad for children; guess what, I’ve got a copy of a report that says TV is good for children.

Here’s the truth. Email marketing is good and email marketing is bad. Just as TV for one child is bad and for another is good, email marketing depends on individual circumstances. Instead of reading studies about Internet technologies and then getting confused by their opposing views, you need to test things in your own setting.

Far too many businesses fail to test things. They look at “case histories”, they study reports and they read all sorts of “stuff” and then delay decision making because they want more information as what they have read has been confusing. Whereas testing each technology in their particular circumstances would have yielded more useful information more quickly.

Instead of worrying about whether or not you should use some technology, such as email marketing, just get on with it, test it and then make your decision based on your results in your specific circumstances.

If you are Tesco and you send out three emails a week to more than 10m at a time, you don’t care that only 5% of people act on the messages because you will still make tons of dosh. But if you are a business with only ten clients, email marketing probably would not work as you would have a closer relationship with your customers. So, just because everyone else is doing email marketing doesn’t mean you have to – but you must test it, rather than believe me.

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