July 16, 2010, 3:12 PM

Effective e-mail marketing is becoming more global, social and mobile

Forrester report reflects the changing nature of e-mail campaigns.

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E-mail marketers should get better at reaching non-U.S. audiences, find ways to measure how e-mails can influence long-term customer loyalty and embrace the use of testimonials, images and videos, says a new report from Forrester Research Inc.

“The New E-mail Marketing Review” provides criteria interactive marketers can use to measure the strength of their e-mail campaigns. The report, which is an update of methodology offered in a 2007 report, reflects the rapidly evolving nature of e-mail marketing campaigns and suggests best practices for capturing consumer interest.

The report offers quantitative scales to gauge its e-mail marketing strategy. For instance, having a defined e-mail marketing strategy with specific responsibilities for various employees earns the highest possible score, while having an informal strategy that lacks documentation or is not enforced is at the low end of the scale.

As part of the revision, Forrester increased its focus on globalization. For instance, an e-mail program that fully complies with local market e-mail regulations, can support at least 15 languages besides English, and which is coordinated by what the report calls a “master global contact strategy” would earn the maximum points, while a campaign that merely sends e-mails in several languages would earn fewer points.  

Social media also has assumed more importance for e-mail marketing. The scorecard takes into account whether an e-mail message contains user-generated content and how easily consumers can share the messages with others. For instance, a campaign would receive the maximum score only if it offers multiple ways to share the message, and does so above the fold.

The scorecard also encourages e-mail marketers to go beyond tracking bounce, open, click-through and delivery rates. Marketers should also measure how well e-mail campaigns engage customers, and find ways to measure the loyalty and profitability of long-time e-mail subscribers.

The report also acknowledges the growing role of mobile commerce. Marketers would score higher for campaigns that enable consumers to preview e-mails—headers, for example—in a mobile format, or for e-mails that have formats that allow for easy viewing on mobile devices. A campaign with no such options would earn the lowest score.

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