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Publishers Struggle with Email Marketing Basics

List growth, maintenance among the top email marketing challenges for publishers

December 3, 2014

Today’s digital consumers have forced publishers to move some of their marketing efforts away from print and toward online and mobile. However, September 2014 research from FOLIO:, sponsored by Lyris, found that publishers were still struggling with email marketing—a more “traditional” digital channel.

Email Marketing Challenges According to US Publishing Professionals, Sep 2014 (% of respondents)

US publishing professionals’ responses indicated that they were facing challenges with simple email marketing tactics including list growth and list maintenance. List growth was the most common hurdle, cited by the majority of respondents, while 41% had problems maintaining the lists they did have.

Publishers aren’t ignoring their list problems though—good news considering that without the right recipients, email marketers won’t see the success they desire, according to FOLIO:. When asked about their email marketing priorities for the next 12 months, list growth and improving list data and quality were the top two responses, cited by 60% and 58% of publishing professionals, respectively.

When running digital campaigns, marketers can’t forget mobile, another problem area for some publishers. One-third of respondents said that mobile optimization was a challenge, but once again, they planned to make an effort to fix this in the coming year. Fully 39% of respondents said that email optimization across all devices was a top priority—the third most popular response.

Extent to Which US Publishing Professionals Have Optimized Emails for Mobile, Sep 2014 (% of respondents)

The study found that publishing professionals were making strides toward mobile-optimized emails, albeit slowly. More than one-third of respondents said their emails were fully optimized for mobile. An additional 31% had started working on this and planned to complete mobile-optimized email efforts in the next 12 months. Still, the remaining 35% hadn’t started, and nearly half of respondents in this group weren’t even sure where to begin.

Experian Marketing Services found that email opens and clicks skewed heavily toward desktop for publishers. Out of the total emails sent by the source’s North American publishing clients in Q2 2014, 67% were opened on desktops, compared with 24% for mobile devices such as mobile phones and ereaders and 9% for tablets. Looking at clicks, 85% took place on desktops, 11% on mobile and just 4% on tablets.

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