Publishers Struggle With eMail Marketing

by , November 27, 2014

According to the 2014 Publishers Survey Report from Lyris, engaging audiences with targeted and personalized email content is proven to create new revenue opportunities for publishers, but many are still struggling with even the basics of email marketing and digital messaging. To better understand the industry’s challenges and under-used opportunities, Lyris sponsored a survey in partnership with FOLIO, a multi-channel resource for the magazine and online media industry.

Publishers are using a variety of tactics to keep their subscribers engaged, says the report. Newsletters are the most-used tactic, followed by event promotions and subscription renewals. The top two tactics that have proven very successful in ecommerce verticals are the least-used tactics for publishers: welcome programs and behavioral website triggers.

But publishers are over-relying on traditional engagement tactics like newsletters and trailing in the adoption of more interactive engagement programs based on subscribers’ past and current behaviors, which have been shown to increase revenue and loyalty multiple fold, says the report.

Publishers are over-relying on traditional engagement tactics like newsletters and trailing in the adoption of more interactive engagement programs based on subscribers’ past and current behaviors, which have been shown to increase revenue and loyalty multiple fold.

Marketing Tactics Currently Utilized To Keep Subscribers Engaged (% Of Respondents)
Tactic

We Do This

Planning This

Newsletters

88%

7%

Subscription sales / acquisition

65%

7%

Promotional offers

72%

4%

Subscription renewals

74%

17%

News alerts

63%

11%

Welcome programs

32%

15%

Distribute press releases

58%

7%

Behavioral website triggers(e.g. subscriber/browser abandonment)

26%

15%

Event promotions

75%

10%

Source: Lyris/Folio, November 2014

Newsletters and event promotions remain the top two tactics in terms of planned growth, followed by subscriptions sales/acquisition, subscription renewals, and behavioral website triggers.

By largely neglecting tactics for engagement based on behavioral website triggers – which have long proven themselves as a must-have among digital marketers in other industries – publishers are leaving the field wide open for more digital marketing-savvy competitors to steal their show.

Marketing Tactics Planned On Growing The Most In The Next 12 Months 
Tactic

% of Respondents

Newsletters

55%

Event promotions

43%

Subscription sales / acquisition

34%

Distribute press releases

20%

Promotional offers

27%

Subscription renewals

32%

News alerts

20%

Welcome programs

20%

Behavioral website triggers

31

Source: Lyris/Folio, November 2014

The top pain point for email messaging is list growth, followed by dynamic content and personalization, list maintenance, and mobile optimization.

Outside of dynamic content, the findings indicate that traditional marketing issues continue to impede progress. List growth and maintenance, for example, are the most important factors in successful email messaging. No matter how good the promotion or creative, without a good list, response will not be satisfactory.

Key Email Marketing Pain Points
Pain Point

% of Respondents

List growth

54%

Dynamic content and personalization

42

List maintenance

41

Mobile optimization

33

Analytics

33

Segmentation

30

Content automation(reduce time spent creating messages)

29

Design and copywriting

26

Deliverability

26

Data integration

26

Real-time message retargeting

21

In-house expertise

20

Messaging automation(reduce time spent sending messages)

79

Source: Lyris/Folio, November 2014

Just over one-third of respondents say their emails are fully mobile optimized. Another third are part of the way there and plan to complete the process in the next 12 months. Two smaller groups indicate that they haven’t started yet and aren’t sure where to begin, or haven’t started yet but plan to in the next year.

Mobile optimization is gaining traction for publishers, but too slowly. This is surprising given the explosive adoption of mobile devices, expected to reach 8 billion subscriptions in 2016, and the fact that as much as 65% of email is now viewed first on mobile.

Mobile Optimization (Percent of Respondents)

  • Emails are fully mobile-optimized            34%
  • Emails partially mobile-optimized (complete in the next 12 months)             31%
  • Emails not mobile-optimized (begin in the next 12 months)             19%
  • Emails not mobile-optimized (not sure where to start)             16

Source: Lyris/Folio, November 2014

 

79% of respondents don’t have a strategy in place to engage with inactive subscribers, leaving a significant revenue opportunity untapped.

Re-engagement programs are proven to yield big results in terms of return on investment. They also help senders protect their domain reputations by recapturing the attention of inactive subscribers and reminding them of the benefits of receiving their emails, says the report.

The implications for publishers is that technology by itself is not a subscriber engagement strategy. The challenges of integrating traditional and digital marketing, along with managing and optimizing audience relationships, call for a strategic approach to communications, concludes the report. However, tailored digital messaging to subscribers via the channels they prefer and that leverages best practices often remains out of reach for publishers who lack the required expertise and bandwidth.

77% of respondents say they integrate their email messaging with social, followed by blogs (35.80%), CRM (30.86%), and public relations (30.25%).

The stated use of social media integration seems high, opines the report, and suggests that respondents may simply be adding social media icons to their emails rather than having a fully-developed integration strategy. Social can be a very effective tool for gaining new subscribers, yet list building was called out as the top pain point for the majority of respondents. Linking these two efforts can produce significant results.

The survey was conducted over a two-week period via email and a Web-based form. There were 182 respondents from all sectors of the publishing industry including B2B, consumer, association, and city and regional. The respondent user of email is reported as:

Emails Sent Per Month
Number Sent

% of Respondents

Less than 250,000

46.88%

250,000 – 1,000,000

20.63%

1,000,000 – 3,000,000

13.13%

3,000,000 – 5,000,000

2.50%

Over 5,000,000

3.75%

Source: Lyris/Folio, November 2014

 

New Email Subscribers Acquired Each Month
Subscribers

% of Respondents

Less than 10,000

82.50%

10,000 – 100,000

13.13%

100,000 – 250,000

2.50%

250,000 – 500,000

0.63%

More than 500,000

1.25%

Source: Lyris/Folio, November 2014

 

Number Of Publications/Media Properties Using Email
Publications

% of Respondents

1

18.42%

2 – 5

37.50%

6 – 10

15.79%

11 – 20

9.87%

More than 20

18.42%

Source: Lyris/Folio, November 2014

For additional information, please visit Lyras here.

 

 

 
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