Email is a critical outreach channel for most B2C and B2B marketers. While creating content is always a challenge, other tactics that can help email marketers achieve strong results—including segmenting and optimizing the email message—are also some of the most difficult to pull off.

Putting relevant content in front of the appropriate audience is key

Email remains a workhorse for marketers: It’s cheap and reasonably effective. According to an April 2013 Economist Intelligence Unit survey of US and UK web users, email ranked as among the top outreach channel at each stage of the purchase process, from introduction, to final pre-purchase assessment to post-purchase follow-up.

Ascend2 and Research Underwriters in June 2013 surveyed business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers worldwide to understand the nuances of how marketers are achieving their email objectives. The greatest percentage of marketers still felt challenged to create relevant and compelling content that will really draw in recipients. This ranked as the No. 1 challenge among B2B and B2C respondents to achieving their marketing objectives, but it was also considered the most effective tactic, cited by 71% of B2B marketers and 65% of B2C marketers. If marketers can create strong content, they believe it really does work at converting consumers.

Other tactics that are becoming critical to campaign success are those involving data on prospects. Segmenting the email database was cited as an effective tactic by the second greatest percentage of B2B marketers. For B2C marketers, segmentation ranked as the No. 3 tactic for achieving email marketing objectives, after testing and optimizing the email campaign.

Segmentation ranked as among the top three challenges for both B2B and B2C marketers, cited by 29% and 25%, respectively.

Other effective tactics cited by a substantial percentage of B2B and B2C respondents included integrating email with other tactics and personalizing email messaging.-emarketer

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