Econsultancy’s fifth annual Email Marketing Industry Census highlights the top 3 areas of focus for email marketing in 2011.

1 Segmentation (32% of respondents)

As an email list gets bigger and more diverse, it gets harder to develop content that is compelling to all. By segmenting the list it’s possible to vary the content e.g. some might be more interested in product A, others in product B. This will help avoid the problem of sending a customer an email marketing a product they already have (see First Direct email example).

Interestingly, 76% of respondents do some basic segmentation and 49% of respondents believe that lack of segmentation is one of the main barriers to effective email marketing.

2 Delivering relevant communications (29%)
Delivering relevant email communications is a major factor in engaging readers and delivering effective results.

Using event-triggered dynamic content can help ensure communications are relevant. The event could be time based e.g. 2 weeks before subscription renewal date or x weeks after purchase or on an anniversary. Alternatively, the trigger could be behavioural e.g. based on web browsing or email click throughs or purchase of product X.

Integrating the customer database with other marketing (web & non-web) activities is a key requirement to maximise relevance.

3 List / data quality (26%)
List / data quality is the biggest factor impacting on deliverability. Use of email opt-ins, regular list cleansing and a clear unsubscribe policy will help minimise complaints and unsubscribes.

With 72% of companies saying email marketing’s ROI is good or excellent (second behind SEO’s 73%) there is still scope to improve email marketing effectiveness

Research source: Econsultancy