E-mail's low cost and high ROI will drive e-mail marketing volumes upward. In fact, in the U.S. alone, volumes will reach 838 billion messages in 2013, according to a Forrester Research report published this summer titled "US Email Marketing Volume Forecast, 2008 To 2013."
In the report, Julie Katz points out the growth in e-mail messages will occur because of several factors, including:
- Small and medium-sized businesses are ramping up e-mail marketing. Small companies have been slower to adopt e-mail marketing, but they're now beginning to embrace it with gusto, according to the report.
- E-mail marketers are adopting more aggressive tactics. A battle for online dollars, especially in the retail sector, will spur e-mail marketers to increase the frequency with which they contact their subscribers, according to the report. Some high-end retailers have gone from sending two to three messages a week to e-mailing their subscriber bases daily.
- E-mail is getting cheaper. Although e-mail has been a historically inexpensive channel, it continues to get cheaper as marketers push e-mail service providers for volume discounts, the report points out. As a result, e-mail is an attractive option in rough economic times. During a slowing economy, marketers can succeed by focusing on retention rather than awareness — a perfect application for e-mail.
- Electronic messages are greener than paper mail. The report says pressure from consumers will drive direct marketers to substitute e-mail for regular mail because catalog and direct mail printing and delivery are so energy-intensive.
Consumer behavior will prompt shifts to new e-mail formats, the report adds. Promotional e-mail, for example, is building to a saturation point, the report notes. What's more, 77 percent of online consumers said they were annoyed with e-mail volume and have begun to lessen their use of e-mail in favor of other communication channels, such as social networks and text messages.
As a result, marketers will embrace other types of e-mail communication — such as triggered and transactional e-mails, which are more likely to be opened and read than other message types, according to the report.