In light of significant budget reductions in the latter half of 2023, a recent study indicates that email remains the dominant channel for brand communications.

A new study conducted by Exclaimer, a leading email signature management software provider, has unveiled that 68% of marketers have seen their budgets decrease by a minimum of 5% in the second half of 2023. In collaboration with Censuswide, Exclaimer surveyed over 100 senior and mid-level marketers along with 1,000 consumers across the United States to gain insights into how marketing professionals are allocating their budgets and what consumers expect from brands.

Consumer Preferences Lean Towards Email

As 2024 approaches, the data suggests that marketers are keen on delving into organic social media (75%), influencer marketing (74%), and email signatures (59%) to engage their target demographics. Interestingly, despite the growing interest in social media strategies, consumers have shown a clear preference for email as their primary communication channel with brands. A significant 52% of consumers favour emails, with only 15% opting for text messaging. This highlights the importance for marketers to align their strategies with consumer preferences, suggesting that the more popular social media might not be the most effective way to engage with their audience.

Investment Priorities and the Power of Email Signatures

While there’s a noticeable inclination towards social and influencer marketing strategies, the primary channel for investment remains email marketing, capturing 78% of the budget allocation. This is followed by social media at 66% and SEO/content marketing at 56%. The study also emphasises the significance of the content within the email, including the concluding signature. A whopping 89% of marketers have contemplated using email signatures as a promotional tool, with 68% already incorporating them. This aligns with consumer sentiments, as 58% believe that a professional, branded email signature enhances their trust in a business email.

Metrics and ROI in the Spotlight

Given the prevalent budget cuts, showcasing a return on investment (ROI) has never been more crucial. Encouragingly, 62% of the surveyed marketing leaders are optimistic about generating at least 16% of their revenue through email signatures alone. Furthermore, 91% anticipate these signatures to be a source of lead generation for the remainder of the year. The study also reveals that consistent branded signatures positively influence email engagement rates, with 94% of marketers endorsing this view. Additionally, 40% of marketers aspire to derive 20% or more of their revenue from email signatures. When evaluating success metrics, conversion and click-through rates stand out as the most valued by marketing executives.

Maximising Engagement with Email Signatures

Despite the evident benefits of email signatures, 32% of marketers have yet to adopt them. With the majority experiencing budget constraints, it’s vital to optimise the available resources. For those yet to harness the potential of email signatures, the study offers several insights:

  • Signature Content Matters: Ensure your email signature is professionally branded, encompassing contact details, promotional content, and links to social media.
  • Prioritise Contact Information: A significant 70% of consumers express frustration when an email signature lacks contact details, which can diminish their interest.
  • Subscription Links Aren’t Crucial: Only 25% of consumers expressed a desire for subscription links in a brand’s email signature.
  • Consider Demographic Differences: Younger consumers (aged 18-34) value branded signatures and social media/website links more than their older counterparts.

Concluding the findings, Exclaimer’s Chief Marketing Officer, Carol Howley, emphasised the importance of understanding audience preferences. She stated, “Our research shows that email signatures are a powerful channel that consumers really relate to. By implementing email signatures into an email marketing strategy, marketers can boost their audience engagement, making the most of the channel they connect with. After all, it’s about working smarter, not harder.”

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