The report, which you can access here, includes the opinions of 161 marketing leaders, ranging from directors to CMOs. Conducted by Act-On in alliance with research partner Ascend2, the survey gathered insight from a cross-section of respondents: 58% were from companies with 50 or fewer employees, while the majority (74%) represented B2B (business-to-business) organizations.
For the Cliffs Notes edition of the report, take a look at these top 10 takeaways that we assembled:
It’s All About Performance: “Increasing the conversion rate” of leads generated (58%) tops the list of objectives for email marketing strategies in the year ahead. “Improve Lead Generation” (55%) and “Increase email list size” (50%) round out top objectives.
Bigger Is Still Better: 68% of marketing leaders consider the growth of email lists “very important” to overall marketing success, while only 2% consider it “not important.”
Content Matters: The most challenging obstacle (48%) to email list growth success is “creating relevant content of value” to subscribers. The next highest obstacle (44%) is a “lack of email list growth expertise.”
Turn to the Experts: To overcome this lack of list growth expertise, marketers are outsourcing to email specialists, and 42% of marketing leaders outsource all or part of email list growth tactical execution.
Efforts Yield Desired Results – for Most: 72% of marketing leaders consider their email marketing strategy successful to some extent, while the remaining 28% are struggling to overcome challenging obstacles to success, rating their efforts “somewhat unsuccessful” or “very unsuccessful.”
Lists Continue to Grow in Size: 25% of marketing leaders say the attrition rate of email subscribers is greater than or equal to the rate of subscriber acquisition. However, 75% of email lists continue to grow.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts: Providing access to relevant content, website tools and other useful features of value to your audience, are the most effective tactics for acquiring subscribers and growing lists.
Biggest Hurdles: Marketing leaders say paid search campaigns and social media sharing are the most difficult tactics to execute. Difficulty is often defined by time, effort and expense required.
Success Doesn’t Have to Be Problematic: There is very little correlation between the effectiveness of an email list growth tactic and the difficulty required to execute it. The most effective tactics are content downloads (48%), website access (44%) and social media sharing (33%), while the most difficult tactics are paid search campaigns (42%), social media sharing (41%) and email forward to a friend 32%).
More Fields, More Quality: An important principle of conversion rate optimization is that fewer fields generate a greater number of less-qualified subscribers. More fields generate fewer, more-qualified subscribers. The most popular number of fields (61%) is between 2 to 4 fields. Only 3% of respondents go above 7 fields.
The report verifies that email remains a key weapon in the marketer’s arsenal to expand their reach, find new prospects and increase awareness of their company and products. After all, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email continues to offer the highest ROI out of all marketing channels. But while list quality and accuracy remain a necessity for success, it’s clear that email list growth should also be considered a top marketing priority.
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