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Guest Column: What you need to know about e-marketing

11-September-2012
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Guest Column: What you need to know about e-marketing

Story: In recent years, e-marketing in India has seen unprecedented growth as an efficient distribution channel to reach out to consumers, offering a unique value generating proposition for all stakeholders. This is largely because of the high adoption of online and mobile technologies in India. Internet usage in India has almost tripled over the last three years and according to recent IAMAI reports, there are 150 million internet users and approximately 800 million mobile connections in the country.

In terms of numbers and percentage, email marketing has seen a remarkable boost amongst Indian marketers. They now see the importance of integrating email and social media campaigns today. More than 60 per cent of marketers believe integrating emails and social media is extremely important for achieving higher impact and e-marketing success.

Trends indicate an increase in the budgets allocated towards e-marketing. Social media initiatives are gaining momentum and email continues to be the most effective marketing channel. Social media and email marketing almost share same percentage of budget and emerge as the top two online marketing initiatives.

The top five industry verticals in India in terms of e-marketing investment are: retail and distribution (including online retail and e-commerce), media and entertainment, IT / ITES, services and consulting (including marketing agencies) and education. E-commerce is the fastest growing segment among these.

Spends on e-mail marketing by e-commerce segment has grown over 100 per cent this year. Evolution of new verticals such as daily deals has also led to a massive momentum in the email marketing spending in India in the last two years. The primary goal of Indian marketers is customer acquisition. This aligns with the growth factor of the Indian economy and the corporate sector. Brand awareness comes in as the second most important marketing goal. After Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) limited the number of SMSes that can be sent per day through a sim card, emails have emerged as the most preferred marketing tool for businesses.

In 2011, India marketers noticed an increase in their revenue impact by 20 per cent through e-marketing. A higher share of revenues generated by e-marketing over last year shows a greater acceptance of e-marketing channels and techniques. And accordingly, companies are increasing their budget towards email marketing to get better convertibles.

The core challenge faced by Indian marketers is how to customise client email and serve various genres of users at one time through one medium as most clients are marking the numbers of users they can achieve. They must realise, however, that the important factor to retain existing customers and for new customer acquisition is quality and not quantity of mails we send to consumers.

There are various factors that marketers have to keep in mind including personalisation, better email service provider, analytics of email sent to users, RoI on email campaigns, integration with social media, budget allocation, data integration (includes rich text formats) and user engagement through email.

Reaching the inbox (and not the junk/spam folder), increasing RoI and building subscribers list are seen to be the top three challenges. As an email service provider (ESP), we monitor and evaluate the frequency/volume of emails and content (rich media) which continue to be the two major factors impacting inbox delivery rates.

Working on precaution measure, ESPs are helping marketers reduce effects of inbox clutter. As a result, the methodology of behavioral targeting and segmentation helps marketers impact consumers better compared to the earlier format and processes of sending emails.

Email is the only channel where recipients raise their hand and request marketing content. Users give permission for marketers to contact them, and that relationship produces results. Moreover, email is one-on-one conversation. When you are reading an email, your sole attention goes to the email content and if the product proposition presented is really engaging and meets your specific requirements, it can generate immediate revenue to the marketer. Email is 100 per cent traceable too.

Email marketing is the best resource for both, start-ups and established companies, especially e-retail ventures. Everyday updates, announcements, change in patterns, reviews, newsletters and so many other factors make the foundation of such companies. Email marketing puts the ability to connect with potential and existing customers at the touch of a button. Despite this simplicity, deciding how to approach and manage the process of email marketing can still be a challenge for businesses looking to leverage the channel to communicate competently and achieve a high return on investment.

The writer is Co-Founder, iCubes

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