What We (Don't) Know about Email's Value

Although every email marketer covets a large file, most of us don’t know enough about the size, quality and engagement levels of our subscriber base. A recently released survey Return Path helped field and analyze through the Email Experience Council (eec) highlights a pretty wide gap in email marketing optimization, indicates a lack of understanding or resources around defining the value of an email address, and establishes a clear need for best practices around email valuation and list growth.

Readers of this blog can get the report for a 30% discount off the $39 purchase price when you use the code rtsc during checkout. (Members of the eec can download the survey free.)

Even without clearly defined guidelines for how much a marketer can pay to acquire a new subscriber (or how to optimize for higher ROI of the file), many marketers in this survey claim that building a large file is important to them. Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy. Most marketers surveyed are only doing organic website capture to build their file and despite the proven success of other list growth strategies, most do not take advantage of them.

The fact that most marketers do not have active programs for growing and engaging their subscriber base isn’t exactly news – Return Path’s survey of CMOs last year showed the same thing. I say this is just another recipe for opportunity: We know that consumers and business professionals love email. The opportunity for marketers is to provide something relevant to keep them opening, clicking and responding.

If email marketers could show with some confidence the value of new subscribers – and the value of active vs. inactive subscribers – they would be able to make a case for resources and strategic approaches that create worthwhile subscriber experiences and drive new revenue. Standards around email list valuation are a priority for the industry (and this eec Roundtable which Return Path helps lead) in 2007. If you’d like to join us in our work, please email me at [email protected].

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