June 1, 2011, 1:10 PM

Marketing e-mail budgets will stay flat this year, says a new report

Retailers lag behind other businesses in cleaning up their e-mail lists.

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Half of all business-to-consumer businesses say they plan to keep their e-mail marketing budgets flat this year and 65% of business-to-business companies will do the same, according to a new study by Forrester Research Inc.

But that doesn’t mean they have lowered their expectations—43% of businesses still expect their e-mail marketing programs to become more effective over the next three years.

The report, “How U.S. Marketers Use E-mail,” also found that retailers lag behind most other industries when it comes to adopting what Forrester considers to be best practices.

Following are some of those best practices, along with the percentage of retailers and wholesalers that take carry out the activity:

  • Scrub the lists of consumers whose e-mail addresses have bounced, 17%
  • Clean the lists of consumers who haven’t opened or clicked on messages lately, 17%
  • Let consumers select what products and services they’re interested in when they register for the list, 6%

The report says it is important for merchants to actively sort through their e-mail lists.

“Clean lists drive better results,” wrote Shar VanBoskirk, Forrester vice president, principal analyst, in the report. She suggests merchants get more e-mail messages past spam filters by removing incomplete or incorrectly formatted e-mail addresses, monitoring bounces and separating non-responders from the master list to message them differently.

The report is based on a survey of 252 interactive marketing professionals conducted in December.

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