Commentary

Email Marketing The SMB Powerhouse

Email continues to be a powerhouse digital marketing channel, according to a recently-released WBR Digital whitepaper presented in conjunction with Emarsys, and reported by Marketing Charts. Based on a survey, conducted by eTail, of retail professionals at companies with less than $100 million in annual revenues, the study found that email marketing is the clear leader among all online activities for both acquisition and retention.

Retail SMB Top Customer Acquisition and Retention Channels (2016)

 

% of Respondents

Channel

Acquisition

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Retention

Email marketing

81%

80%

Organic search

62

36

Paid search

59

43

Social media

51

44

Retargeting

49

37

Affiliates

31

21

Referral marketing

21

18

Mobile marketing

16

8

Marketplaces

15

11

Comparison shopping engines

8

3

Source: Marketing Charts/WBR Digital/Emarsys, July 2016

In research from two years ago, says the report, US marketers also deemed email the most effective digital channel for awareness, acquisition, conversion and customer retention.

Search is also a strong performer, according to the Emarsys research. Among the 10 specific digital activities listed, organic and paid search ranked second and third in customer acquisition, with paid search third for retention and organic search fifth. While the issue of ROI continues to persist with respect to social media, retail SMBs do feel that it’s effective for them. Social media ranked fourth among all channels as a customer acquisition driver, and second in driving retention.

Email also benefits from being relatively easy to execute and relatively inexpensive, notes the report. In fact, asked to rank their marketing spend across six areas, just 20% of respondents to the survey said that email is where they spend the most. By comparison, almost three times more respondents (57%) pointed to search as their top spending channel.

Social media is a strong performer in acquisition and retention despite smaller budgets, concludes the report. Only 4% of respondents named it their top-spending area, although an additional 21% put it in their top 2. The analysts note that “while it is not a primary piece of a marketing strategy, it is a versatile complement to other channels and a key part of an omnichannel approach.”

The results are based on in-person and online surveys of 254 retail professionals from a variety of industries, including apparel, beauty, consumer electronics, hard and soft goods, home furnishings, books, music, and department stores. Survey participants included decision-makers and executives with responsibility for their firms’ marketing, e-commerce, sales, operations and strategies. 52% of companies represented are multi-channel, with 35% being pure-play online and the remaining 13% being other company types.

For additional information please visit Marketing Charts here.

 

 

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