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What is the role of email for agencies and their clients?

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With email marketing ROI often quoted at £38 per £1 spent (DMA National Email Report) and 80% of agency marketers considering their return as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ (2016 Email Industry Census), it’s not surprising to see that the agency experts we recently interviewed place great importance on it.

Part of our new eGuide How agencies push innovation in email, we wanted to look into the perceived value of email to this marketing segment. With 17% of a brand’s total marketing budget being reserved for email, this channel plays a great part in the marketing mix of services that agencies offer and in the marketing mix of channels that their clients use. And with 23% of revenue being driven by email, it’s not surprising that it takes a prime spot (2016 Email Industry Census). You can read one of our recent posts on the strategies that agencies use.

“Email, specifically within the campaign side of things, is becoming increasingly important. If anything, it’s like our bread and butter.” – Matthew Slaymaker

What email brings to the table

An often overlooked part of marketing, testing (or more specifically the ease of testing) was one of the benefits highlighted in our interviews. Email offers a very special testing ground because the audience that you test your hypotheses on are already interested in and engaged with your brand, as opposed to website visitors who have mixed levels of interests and needs. This means you can more accurately identify which messages work best to attract engagement. Another important aspect is that you can also easily segment your audience if you have a specific message you want to test because you’re in control of who gets to see it.

If used in the right way, email can be an incredibly powerful channel for building a relationship with your customers through First-Person Marketing.

“Email is the main tool we utilise to help our clients retain their customers, increase the database lifetime value and build greater loyalty and engagement. It keeps the brand front of mind with the customer, showing them relevant products and information, launching new products, engaging with them and encouraging repeat purchases.” – Al Keck

It’s also about meeting consumer expectations. As we saw from the 2016 Consumer Study, checking emails is part of everyday life and the second most popular activity on a smartphone after making calls, with 86% of consumers across all age groups indicating so. 72.2% of all study respondents also chose it as their preferred channel for receiving brand communications, including teens!

Consumer study channel preference

But because checking email is a regular task on everyone’s agenda, marketers are competing for that attention across sectors, not just within their own industry. Relevance and timing are key to turn opens into conversions and Wyevale provide us with a great example of this.

Targeted messaging, design and audience help Wyevale beat ticket sales target

For their Halloween campaign, Wyevale Garden Centres had a specific audience in mind and they knew exactly how to appeal to them. With the help of more2, the company identified subscribers who are interested in children’s events either through a stated preference or through behaviour (e.g. clicking on children’s products in previous emails). It then created an animated email that would contrast with the general template design but would make the target audience immediately apparent. With the message on-point and the other First-Person Marketing elements working in sync, the marketing team actually beat the target of 57% ticket sales, reaching 60% with a single campaign.

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As you can see, a customer-centric approach to email marketing focused on testing, optimisation and sending personalised communications can help marketers build and sustain brand affinity and ultimately impact the bottom line. It’s no wonder that email has been called the workhorse of the marketing world and it’s working wonders for agencies too.

How agencies push innovation with email banner

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