Something for the Little Guys

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Epsilon: Gmail Tabs jolt marketers' plans.
Epsilon: Gmail Tabs jolt marketers' plans.

Without extensive resources, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have a tougher time sending targeted messaging to their customers than their large enterprise counterparts. This might be changing: Email services provider AWeber stated it expects 85% of SMBs to increase use of email in 2013. It's a transition recognized by Amit Khanna, president of small and medium business at business data and marketing solutions provider Infogroup. “Over the years we've seen a lot of people that are used to doing typically postcard mailings or direct mail [start using email],” he says.

Because of this shifting landscape, Infogroup subsidiary InfoUSA has increased targetability of its business email lists by adding additional organization-specific categories, including executive title, type of business, geography, size of business by sales volume, number of employees, and website address.

The way that SMBs handle email marketing has changed, says Amit Khanna. “What [SMBs] couldn't do before is have a really extensive database of emails,” he says. Adding business-related categories called firmographics is meant to empower SMBs to improve the targeting of their email messaging.

“What's really happening here is [the firmographic categories] allow [SMBs] that don't have the marketing background and experience to get word out to customers,” Khanna explains. This should allow SMBs to become much faster and decisive with their marketing initiatives. “The way the world is changing is its becoming more ‘I want it now'—more digital, and [there the need for] a faster response time for the market,” Khanna adds.

The ability to drill down to specific business customers should also give SMBs somewhat of an advantage, as there's little debate that personalization and targeting have tangible benefits for email marketers. The 2013 Digital Marketer Benchmark and Trend Report from Experian Marketing Services found that triggered emails with personalized subject lines generate a 29.2% open rate while those that weren't personalized had a 23.3% open rate.

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