Some people may think that email marketing is a tactic that has become dated and obsolete in the world of social media and increasingly intelligent spam filters. However, email marketing is still an important and vital part of any digital marketing plan and should be incorporated into a company’s strategy.
Why Organizations Should be Utilizing Email Marketing
- Email marketing is extremely measurable. Unlike some other forms of more traditional marketing, emails can be measured in terms of open rates, click through rates, etc. This also makes it easy to test and refine them to improve performance.
- Even with the popularity of social media, email is still the first and most frequently checked account by consumers on a daily basis.
- Compared to the 1-2% average response rate for direct mail, emails receive a much higher open rate at an average of 15-22%. 
- It has been reported that consumers prefer for companies to use this communication channel for their messaging about products and services.
- 58% of marketers planned to increase or maintain their email spend this year. This percentage is likely to increase in 2015. This shows that these companies are seeing results.
- Companies report that the main focus of their email efforts is to engage subscribers while also reporting that email marketing is their top driver of leads.
- 68% of marketers believe email is core to their business’ success and 49% of companies send more than 500,000 emails a year.
- About 42% of companies report that email marketing directly impacts their business performance and is a critical component of their success.
- In 2013, 60% of businesses report positive ROI from their email marketing efforts and believe it is essential to integrate email and social to see the best results.
- Compared to other more traditional marketing initiatives (such as trade show booths, print collateral, TV advertising and radio spots), email is a less expensive option that drives even better results. It really is a no brainer.
Now, don’t get too excited and jump right into email marketing. It takes experience and focus in order to generate positive results. You can’t send emails blindly with no strategic vision and hope to generate results.
Best Practices to Build a Successful Email Marketing Program
- Pay close attention to the subject lines of your emails. A potential or existing customer will not even get to the marketing message of your email if the subject line does not entice them to open it. Subject lines should:
- Be short and concise - 50 characters or less
- Use smart capitalization and eliminate the use of punctuation
- Be personalized when possible and/or appropriate
- Email recipient lists should be carefully segmented based on:
- Buyer persona
- Phase in the buyer’s journey
- Industry focus
- 41% of emails are opened on a mobile device. Every email that a company sends should be built in responsive design and tested on all devices prior to sending.
- Message should be personalized and fulfill the promise found in the subject line. Focus on the benefits of a product/service and not the features.
- All emails should come from a personal email address rather than a generic company email address. This email address should be used throughout an entire email campaign to generate trust with the recipients.
- Design should be brand focused with a consistent signature and footer that is found in every email message.
- Ensure that test emails are sent to an internal group of employees before sending the email to the entire list. This will allow for issues to be found and remedied before being seen by any customers or prospects.
- Always be improving by making testing and analyzing a priority.
- Keep bounces and unsubscribes to a minimum by:
- Mailing regularly to keep list clean
- Providing value in each email send
- Only emailing those that have opted in to receive your emails
- Sending one email a month and only delivering the requested information
- Open rates vary greatly due to a number of factors but overall the following open rates should be the goal:
- 15-20% open rate for B2C emails
- 22% open rate for B2B emails
- 11-13% open rate for prospecting lists 
It is important for both B2C and B2B companies to have a strong email marketing strategy in place. This is a marketing tactic that has proven successful and will continue to drive results for organizations if executed wisely.
Read another post by Jenn:
Content Creation Tips: How to Write for the Web
Image: WhatCounts Travel Email Webinar Logo by Christopher Penn via Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 GenericSources
 Vertical Response: Email Marketing Reporting Basics
 ExactTarget: 2014 State of Marketing Infographic
 ExactTarget Blog
 MecLabs 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report
 MarketingProfs Blog