A new study from Eloqua suggests that email campaigns are growing in both B2B and B2C firms across industries, and the study offers some insight on best practices to maximize the power of marketing messages.

In the midst of social search developments, many brands forget the power of simple email marketing campaigns. A new study from Eloqua, entitled How Do You Stack Up? Automation Trends, Benchmarks & Best Practices, suggests that email campaigns are growing in both B2B and B2C firms across industries, and the study offers some insight on best practices to maximize the power of marketing messages.

According to the study, email marketing budgets are on the rise among businesses in various fields. One-third of B2B small businesses increased their email marketing spend in the first half of 2010 over the first half of 2009, as did nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of B2C SMBs. Perhaps most dramatically, B2B and B2C enterprise firms increased their email spend by 69 percent and 179 percent, respectively, year-over-year during the first half of 2010.

Eloqua compared email marketing leaders to laggards and offered some best practice tips for brands looking to build their email campaigns this year. One of the best practices Eloqua advised based on the study was to keep messages short. Directness was one of the leading characteristics of best-in-class email campaigns.

Also, the most successful email marketing campaigns had a lead-nurturing cycle in place. Eloqua says that automating nurturing emails drove 21 percent increases in qualified leads generated for corporations and 49 percent increases for SMBs. Lead nurturing messages should be tailored and delivered to prospects during their journey through the buying cycle. This begins with introductory messages that require customers to give them data, followed by educational messages about products and services. Then, messages should encourage recipients to make purchases.

With these tips in mind, marketers may find they're also able to effectively reach on-the-go consumers. The Pew Internet and American Life Project says that more than one-third (34 percent) of smartphone users check their email via mobile devices. This could be a profitable demographic – as Brafton recently reported, mobile shoppers are expected to spend $119 billion in 2015.  

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.