Email… as marketers we love it. It’s inexpensive, trackable and provides a decent return on investment. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, every dollar spent on email marketing in 2008 generated $45.06. This is slightly down from previous years, but the ROI on email will continue to outpace that of other marketing vehicles for the foreseeable future. MarketingSherpa has been studying email trends for a long time focusing on the relationship between email practices and success. They recently posted this chart highlighting email trends from 2001 through the present. Here’s how I read this:• In 2001 and into 2002, opt-ins were relatively easy to get. Providing relevant content was not a primary focus and companies could get email addresses simply by including an email capture field on their web site. • Between 2002 and 2004, the efficacy of email has fallen off fairly dramatically, That can be attributed to over-flowing inboxes, new media, and the general maturation of email. • By 2004, it’s clear that it’s no longer easy to obtain subscribers. Good marketers are finding they need to add value and be relevant to their audience and actively monitor their email campaigns in order to ensure positive results. Marketers that adhere to the old practice of batch and blast see diminishing returns. So how do you add value and be relevant to your audience? My immediate thought is the content that you provide. Content is the key. It can make the difference between getting click throughs and being filtered as spam. Here are a few articles by Ardath Albee of Marketing Interactions to get you thinking about your marketing content:The Payoff for B2B Content Marketing is Movement Why Buyers Need Education Content Also, see this earlier post on this blog – Content — Why is it Important to Marketing and How to Get it? Read up and then take a good look at your email marketing content. See of there is a way to bring more value and be more relevant to your audience.