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SMBs Missing Email List-Building Opportunities

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Most small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) have mastered the basics of organic email list-building, making use of Web-based sign-up forms and even offering incentives to encourage subscriptions, but fewer than half use any type of email-to-social collaboration, limiting the potential of cross-channel marketing, according to a study by GetResponse.

Among SMBs, only 40% of surveyed email marketers say they provide sign-up forms on every Web page and only 41% recruit would-be subscribers via Facebook Pages. Moreover, only 44% collect subscribers from offline sources such as tradeshows.

Even so, 52% of email marketers in SMBs use their blog to recruit subscribers, while 54% offer incentives to encourage would-be subscribers.

Below, additional findings from The State of Email Marketing in SMBs, based on a survey of 600 email marketers, conducted by GetResponse.


Newsletter Optimization Practices

Regarding newsletter-optimization routines, most (70%) SMB email marketers realize the importance of regular mailings.

In addition, more than two-thirds (68%) say they provide compelling subject lines, 58% personalize newsletter recipients' messages, and 56% use follow-up cycles to keep subscribers engaged.


Only 39% of email marketers split-test their campaigns on any features, though 61% of email marketers conduct post-campaign analysis. 

Segmentation and List Hygiene

Few email marketers follow basic list hygiene practices: 38% remove inactive contacts, and only 36% try to re-engage inactive subscribers.

Meanwhile, 42% of email marketers make use of advanced segmentation strategies, implying that many companies are still sending batch-and-blast campaigns.  

Compliance Issues

However, most email marketers are diligent about legal compliance and subscription-based lead generation:

  • 71% provide unsubscribe links in their newsletters.
  • 72% use a confirmed opt-in subscription model.
  • 66% inform subscribers what the newsletters will include. 

Not surprisingly, following best practices pays off for small businesses:  

  • 62% report delivery rates at 95% for permission-based emails.
  • 69% report complaint rates of below 0.02%.
  • 68% report effective delivery to major inboxes.

Results by industry  

Companies in the publishing and tech sectors scored highest in having the most advanced email practices and the highest adoption of email best practices, the study found. Nonprofits were the lowest-ranking sector.

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 600 email marketers among SMBs (1 to 500 employees) worldwide, conducted by GetResponse, November 14-28, 2011. The full study explores SMBs by size and industry type. 


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  • by Justin Mastrangelo Tue Feb 7, 2012 via web

    Paper for offline signups? Really? It's 2012. What about text messaging or mobile web forms? This also works really well for list-building through traditional media.

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