Customer acquisition via email marketing has magnified since 2009. According to Custora’s report “E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot” the channel grew from 0.88% of customers acquired in 2009 to 6.84% in 2013.
Between 2011 and 2012, the numbers doubled from 2.64% to 5.34%, according to the report.
Jack Sturn, senior vice president of 4Cite, said email marketing has grown since 2009 because of its low cost.
He said the cost of putting a catalog in a mailbox is 50 cents, while sending an email at a penny or two makes the channel both cost effective and improves the chance of sale.
Sturn said email marketing has grown since marketers are investing more in the digital space. There is an intense focus on multichannel marketing.
“[Marketers] are finding email marketing to be profitable as far as ROI,” said Sturn.
According to Quinn Jalli, senior vice president of digital marketing services for Epsilon, what marketers are doing right to facilitate this growth is appreciating the different levels of consumer engagement.
He said with email we are fortunate to have open and click tracking. Historically marketers weren’t very good at processing and differentiating the data they had. They have now gotten better at doing so.
According to Jalli, acquisition emails, however, have significantly lower open and click rates. Marketers struggle with deliverability making it harder to be profitable.
Sturn said email is trickier than direct mail when it comes to customer engagement. With email there is the challenge of getting the customer to open the email and then leading them to purchase.
“Now consumers are reading emails on the smartphone and there isn’t guaranteed conversion,” said Sturn.
Sturn said having emails read on the various mobile devices consumers are using and moving them to make a purchase is the next battle. He added that while smartphone use is on the rise, it is not to say personal computer use is on the decline.
According to Jalli, while email marketers have used social media and optimized email for mobile as ways to be innovative, the biggest challenge in the last four years is marketing specifically to an individual consumer.
“As an industry we are still not doing as well as we can,” said Jalli.
According to Sturn, marketers are focused on optimizing for the mobile device. Aside from optimization, timing of when to send the email is important.
“While targeting someone while they are reading their email, we are seeing open rates exceed 35%,” said Sturn.