July 31, 2009, 12:00 AM

Hitting the inbox with valuable e-mail

Marketers raise e-mail budgets and make better use of analytics to make sure recipients get messages that will produce clicks and sales.

Online marketers will spend about $1.2 billion on e-mail marketing this year, a figure that will steadily rise to more than $2 billion by 2014, Forrester Research Inc. projects. Most of these e-mails will continue to be for retaining customers, as marketers increase both their customer e-mail lists and their e-mailing frequency, Forrester says. Though far smaller in number, transactional e-mails will show the sharpest growth over the next several years, and with good reason. When asked which type of e-mail they find “most worth reading,” the largest group of respondents, 64%, cited transactional messages such as order confirmations, according to a report from Borrell Associates Inc. with data from Merkle Inc. In contrast, only 18% of consumers said they prefer to read promotional e-mails. Marketers, meanwhile, are stepping up their use of web analytics to better tie e-mail marketing messages to consumers’ shopping interests, reports Experian Information Solutions Inc. Marketers should also be aware of the growth in the use of social network messaging systems, which are starting to become intertwined with traditional e-mail, Forrester says.

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