With the internet marketing community increasingly turning its focus to social media channels (social content, in particular), email may seem like an outdated channel – "seem" being the operative word. […]

With the internet marketing community increasingly turning its focus to social media channels (social content, in particular), email may seem like an outdated channel – "seem" being the operative word. A new report from Aberdeen Group indicates that email is marketers' second-leading focus, and the channel delivers tangible results.

According to the report, Email Marketing: Customers Take it Personally, 60 percent of companies plan to increase their email marketing spend by at least 10 percent this year. Moreover, 83 percent of companies surveyed say that email is core to their overall marketing strategies.

Email was second only to the web (89 percent) as a recognized fundamental marketing channel. Perhaps surprisingly, social media was cited as an essential marketing channel by only 54 percent of companies.

The premium placed on email marketing campaigns is likely linked to results marketers associate with the channel. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents associate email with increased quantities of leads, and more than one-third (38 percent) believe email can drive revenue gain or growth. Plus, 37 percent of respondents say email boasts lower marketing costs than other channels.

Marketers who want to make the most of email campaigns should follow Aberdeen's tips for best-in-class strategies. These include regularly tracking and reporting on email campaign results, delivering personalized messages and offering unique promotions to high-value customers. Those who follow the best-in-class tips will likely see their efforts pay off.

Aberdeen says the best-in-class groups see 11 percent increases in click-through rates from mass email campaigns, and 21 percent year-over-year improvements in revenue generated from email campaigns.

In short, best-in-class practices demonstrate the value of creating relevant content for email and measuring results to inform future campaigns, which Brafton has reported is critical to email success. The development of new email filters makes engaging content especially vital.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.