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Doing What Is Right Actually Pays Off

"Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it."
~ David Starr Jordan, The Philosophy of Despair

Any reasonably responsible email marketer knows that he or she should, at the bare minimum, follow CAN-SPAM regulations when sending email marketing messages. But, as it turns out, following this and other best practices does pay off in the long run. MarketingSherpa recently published a report called "Email Performance Since 2001," tracing the relationship between email marketing best practices and email success. In one form or another, MarketingSherpa has asked the basic question about how well email marketing has performed since their first survey in 2001.

This chart highlights performance trends when following Best Practices and when Deviating From Best Practices. The Y Axis shows the efficiency of the email marketing endeavor. The X Axis displays the year.

Doing What Is Right Actually Pays Off in Email Marketing
What it all means:

  • In 2001, it was easier to get opt-ins than it is now. “Relevance” wasn’t our ad nauseum catchword yet, and simply throwing up an email capture form on a website would yield names.
  • Over time, we see that as email matured, inboxes filled up and other media worked their way into business and personal life. Given the competition for attention, email has held up remarkably well, especially given its yearly obituary at the hands of the latest, greatest marketing tactic.
  • In 2004 we see where deviating from best practices really began to negatively affect the bottom line. At this point, it was no longer a walk in the park to acquire and retain subscribers; marketers found that they had to provide value, think about relevance and pay careful attention to their email programs to see continued success.
  • Every year since 2004 the success gap has grown between those who follow best practices and those who don’t. Those who fit MarketingSherpa’s ‘best practices’ model (a definition which evolved over the years based on tracked metrics) report stable or improving impact for email, while those still batching and blasting are seeing diminishing returns.
There are numerous best practices in email. This report underscores the value in maintaining these best practices and keeping up with the latest trends in email marketing.

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