SMBs Missing Email to Social Collaboration

According to The State of Email Marketing in SMBs, by GetResponse, most small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) have mastered the basics of organic email list-building, making use of Web-based sign-up forms and even offering incentives to encourage subscriptions, but fewer than half use any type of email-to-social collaboration, limiting the potential of cross-channel marketing.

Based on data collected in the Email Marketing Success Tester, designed to test the email marketing level and know-how of email marketers from all over the world to provide them with some insights on what could still be improved, at least half of the respondents know and apply them in their email marketing. However, the differences in results for particular questions demonstrate that some practices are quite popular and others often overlooked.

Among SMBs, only 40% of surveyed email marketers say they provide sign-up forms on every Web page and only 41% recruit would-be subscribers via Facebook Pages. Moreover, only 44% collect subscribers from offline sources such as tradeshows.

List Building Strategies and Sign-Up Optimization


% of Respondents Using

Use sign-up forms to grow list


Confirm emails to new subscriber


Newsletter signup in blog


Have web form on every page


Facebook with signup form


Collect contacts at trade shows w/signup forms


Tell subscribers specifically what they will receive


Web form on home page above the fold


Use incentives to encourage subscriptions


Source: State of Email Marketing in SMBs, GetResponse, January 2012

Quite a large group indicates that they have high deliverability (62%), low complaint ratio (69%) and effective delivery to major client inboxes (68%).

As far as newsletter optimization routines are concerned, there are no major surprises: most respondents realize the importance of regular mailings (70%), personalization (58%), compelling subject line (68%), and stats analysis (61%). But that’s it. The more advanced techniques are often neglected: not many marketers split test, segment their list, or use follow-up cycles.

Newsletter Optimization


% of Respondents Using

Split messages on any feature


Clear, recognizable, branded FROM field


Include pre-headers


Include sharing icons


Personalize email with subscriber specific information


Follow –up engagement cycles


Analyze stats on newsletters sent


Source: State of Email Marketing in SMBs, GetResponse, January 2012

The report notes, though, the weak implementation of social media integrations, especially given the buzz it creates in the context of email marketing. Only 50% of the researched marketers use any type of email-to-social collaboration. This means that, even if their brand is present on various social networks, cross-channel marketing is practically non-existent.

Few email marketers follow basic list hygiene practices, says the report. Only 42% of all groups make use of advanced segmentation strategies, which means that the era of a blast email definitely isn’t over yet. It seem that the benefits of having high-quality, engaged contacts are still overlooked, as most respondents neither remove inactive contacts (38%), nor try to re-engage them (36%). Even worse, opines the report, they don’t fully realize the dangers of having lists corrupted with bad addresses, as only 53% use email marketing systems that automatically handle bounces and complaints.

The majority of respondents are diligent about legal compliance and subscription-based lead generation: 

  • 79% use sign-up forms to grow lists 
  • 71% provide unsubscribe links in their newsletters 
  • 72% use a confirmed opt-in subscription model 
  • 66% inform subscribers what the newsletters will include

Not surprisingly, following best practices pays off for small businesses:  

  • 62% report delivery rates at 95% for permission-based emails.
  • 69% report complaint rates of below 0.02%.
  • 68% report effective delivery to major inboxes.

Total scores grow with the business unit size: for micro-businesses (1-10 employees) the general email marketing performance is around 53%. Small businesses seem to do better: in 11-250 sector the average results fluctuate around 64%. Medium-size companies (251-500 employees) reach the level of 73% and for large businesses (500+) the average score was 74%.

Results by Business Size


Email Marketing Performance









Source: State of Email Marketing in SMBs, GetResponse, January 2012

Concluding a portion of the report, before reviewing the detailed findings by industry, the writer summarizes the impacts of business size on success of Email marketing:

The discrepancies in results might point to differences in approach and marketing potential of the particular groups. Know-how, budget capacity, and implementation of marketing strategies are definitely better for large companies. They have the means to invest in staff and their know-how, invest in campaigns, and to develop email marketing as a separate department.

Small companies need to fuel many channels simultaneously and can’t afford to pay attention only to one particular medium. They often don’t outsource email marketing, and their office staff members normally multi-task, which might result in prioritizing other responsibilities. Natural limitations also imply fewer development opportunities: fewer investments in new marketing strategies, technologies and staff education, thus less expertise.

At the same time, the marketing impact and reach of such companies does not require more immediate investments; thus initiatives are always postponed due to other priorities.

For significantly more data, charts and graphs in the PDF file please visit GetResponse here. Read more in summary form from MarketingProfs here.




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