According to The E-Consultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Industry Census 2008 digital marketers are spending too much time on manual in-house tasks administering and producing email campaigns and not enough time on optimisation and targeting that will make massive improvements to their ROI.
Ignoring the hidden costs of email marketing is wasting significant amounts of time and money of every campaign so Adestra is urging email marketers to track their time spent to help identify possible savings and improved efficiencies.
Research undertaken by E-consultancy shows one of the major conclusions is that marketers are actually held back by how they are doing their email marketing. Many marketers have fallen into the trap of spending time doing campaign production and using inefficient processes that take up significant amounts of time- indeed, 48% say that disconnected systems and technologies were one of their main barriers to improvements.
The in-house marketing team spends a total of 19 hours on average on each campaign – equivalent to a cost of £800, or £41,600 per year for a weekly newsletter.
In a typical campaign there are seven steps:
1. Planning: determining the when, what, who and why of the campaign.
2. Design: developing the creative and writing the copy.
3. Data: carrying out selections, de-dupes and any merging.
4. Optimisation: testing the campaign to ensure it displays effectively in different email systems and that the email will be delivered past spam filters.
5. Sending: entering the campaign in your email broadcast tool.
6. Reporting: gathering and interpreting individual campaign results.
7. Refinement: taking the learnings from the campaign and applying it elsewhere.
But not all of these tasks provide equal pay back. For example, spending time on refinement and optimisation rather than sending activity will mean campaigns have a better chance of over performing.
Focusing time and effort on the tasks that make the largest impact is one of the key opportunities in email marketing. The top 3 ways to improve campaign performance are: Optimisation, Targeting and Personalisation. Having time to implement a testing program is key to finding what works best for your company.
There are a number of steps to undertake to save time:
· Invest in a simple user interface - Choose an easy to use interface, and consider changing if your present tool is not to your liking.
· Back office automation - Ask your email partner to conduct an audit of your work flow.
· Templates -Consider if a library of templates is appropriate
· Campaign Automation - Review your schedule for campaigns that could be automated.
· Outsourcing simple tasks - Review your processes, can you outsource?
Spending that time on more profitable activity
If time can be released to be spent on more productive tasks that achieve an increased ROI, then this would mean incremental revenue. One way to achieve this could be outsourcing campaign design and management to your ESP.
Hollie Williams, Adestra client strategy consultant says emarketers are forgetting the hidden costs, "like how they’re spending their time on email marketing. Clearly they’re having trouble prioritising key tasks to boost ROI – extremely important in a recession.”
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