A recent survey of email usage in 2012 offered some interesting conclusions about our current use of the format and where it is likely headed. If nothing else, it confirmed that email marketing is still one of the strongest forms of business-to-business marketing out there.

Immediately noticeable in the survey was the incredibly high open and non-bounce rate of emails. Just as you can easily throw a leaflet in the bin, it has long been a concern that emails are just as easily (if not more so) discarded, yet, on average, it is predicted that around 23% of all emails are being opened while an average of 5% are actually being clicked on. Not big numbers, but when put in context and, bearing in mind a click rate of 3% is considered good on Google Adwords, they’re mightily positive.

We all know that mobile adoption has gone through the roof. Most smartphones are connected to an email account of some form, making it easier than it ever has been for users to regularly check emails. The survey discovered that, while the lion’s share of the open rates are still attributed to the desktop computer, a fifth of emails are opened on a mobile device. Crucially, this means smartphones, not tablets, with the latter only accounting for 7% of the opens. These are figures which are growing incredibly quickly, however.

Coupons and special offers continue to be fantastic ways to immediately engage subscribers. It is therefore no wonder that the financial services industry (in particular credit card companies) enjoy the highest open and click through rates.

But where is email headed? The most important thing to bear in mind is that email marketing is not a standalone tactic, like any form of marketing. It needs to be integrated into the rest of your campaigns in order to ensure that conversion rates are as high as possible.

As 2013 moves on apace, we’ll see yet more integration between email and social media, mobile marketing and traditional display advertising. By combining these varied marketing channels, marketers will be able to greatly increase the amount of data they collate about their customer base including demographic data, transactional and usage data.

Email marketing is doubtless being powered by consumers’ significant uptake of IT and that shows no signs of abating…

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Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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