Marketers indicate they'll increase email spending, but also struggle to manage content creation.

Businesses engage in all types of marketing to reach audiences, and they test various strategies to discover which platforms their target audiences interact with most. While social media marketing and blogging have become essential practices for innovative organizations, email remains an invaluable component to successful lead generation and nurturing. Without email marketing campaigns, brands may lose a percentage of their audiences due to a lack of consistent and direct engagement.

Email Marketing Increase In SpendAccording to StrongMail’s “2013 Marketing Trends Survey,” 55.5 percent of respondents plan to increase email spending in 2013, compared to 51.8 percent who indicate they’ll funnel additional resources toward social media. Of marketers who noted that they would allocate time and money toward email marketing, 69.4 percent said they use the practice to build customer loyalty and improve retention rates.

However, brands that want recipients to open their emails and read messages must earn the trust of their target audiences. Consumers quickly delete and flag content that seems out of place or ingenious, so brands have to do a little courting to get past the first line of defense and into consumers’ inboxes. Perhaps images – both in the email template and as a type of content – could increase engagement with prospects and provide a well-rounded user experience.

A recent study conducted by both ClickZ and Efectyv Marketing, visual elements alter how users interact with email content. The report found that, while most email platforms turn off images in emails automatically, 55 percent of consumers stated that they turn the graphics feature back on so they can view all media attached to messages. The percentage even holds true after the report noted that 57 percent of consumers indicated they check their personal email accounts on their mobile devices. The survey suggests that email content paired with images provides more sustenance to recipients, and marketing messages can be more easily digested.

Brands may now understand that images and quality, custom content work well together through email, but according to StrongMail, 34.2 percent of marketers say content management remains their biggest challenge. Content marketing services can help businesses develop thorough outreach strategies that include visual content and branded copy. With email playing such a vital role in customer engagement and retention, investments in newsletter templates in conjunction with content creation strategies may be worthwhile in 2013.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.