Attention-grabbing headlines aside, email is not dead yet. It’s true that text messaging, instant messaging and social networking provide an alternative means of communication to email for many.
Web-based email usage is actually declining, in fact, according to some recent data from comScore. However, most of that is due to the increase in mobile email usage. Smartphones have made email-on-the-go not only accessible but even convenient and practical.
Still, email is a top-performing marketing channel. A survey by Foresee Results examining the top 40 retailers over the 2010 holiday season found that 19 percent of respondents* visited a retailer’s website because of a promotional email. Compare that with just 8 percent who said the same about a search result. According to the study,
“Only about 5 percent of online holiday shoppers report being primarily influenced to visit top retailer sites by social media channels…”
But while email still drives traffic, conversions and brand loyalty, it is no doubt an evolving industry that demands attention from Web professionals.
Mobile email presents challenges, in the form of smaller screens and even smaller attention spans from busy users. Advertising within emails has become common, opening new channels for promotion. Email targeting capabilities are more advanced than ever. Even multimedia is making its way to email. In other words, email is no longer simply a message. Increasingly email is becoming a full interactive environment in itself, which is trackable, optimizable and directly attributable to a company’s bottom line.
All of this means that it is more important than ever to realize the full value in an email service provider (ESP). Today’s Web professionals need more than a platform, they need a partner. Website Magazine’s Top 50 Email Service Providers is here to help your business find that partner. You might think that all ESPs are the same. They are not. When evaluating potential providers be sure to ask plenty of questions – including how deliverability is optimized, targeting options and analytics capabilities. And one element in particular that should never be overlooked (but often is) is ease of use.
ABOUT THIS RANKED DATA
Ranks are calculated using a proprietary method that focuses on average daily unique visits and page views over a specified period of time, as reported by multiple data sources. The website with the highest combination of factors is ranked in the first position. Conducting research, making formal comparisons and talking to existing clients and users before making any purchase decision is always recommended.