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How email marketing leads to real engagement

There's a growing sentiment in marketing these days that "inbound" strategies are the ones that work best. In other words, the best leads for your company are the people who actively sought it out in the first place. If someone comes knocking on your door because they picked up the phone to call you, or they found your website first, they're more likely to become a paying customer.

The idea these days is that no one likes being cold-called - or cold-emailed, for that matter. But what's strange is that despite this pervading theory in marketing circles, there's a lot of data out there that contradicts it. According to the numbers, direct email marketing is still a major piece of the puzzle, as it's something that consumers still respond well to, even with the additional channels available to them today.

That means all businesses that collect people's email addresses need to stay vigilant when it comes to contact data quality.

Why emails still matter
According to Ask Your Target Market, the number of people subscribing to emails from their favorite brands hasn't dropped off amid all the clamoring for more mobile apps and social networks. Email is still going strong.

AYTM recently conducted a survey which found that 35 percent of people today "currently subscribe to many different email newsletters for their favorite brands or businesses." These numbers have held steady for years, and in 2014, they still aren't going anywhere.

The poll also revealed that emails still do a lot to drive engagement. Among consumers polled by AYTM, 80 percent said they use email newsletters to keep up with current coupons and discounts, and 48 percent say they're looking for new products or services. Interesting content, general corporate information and "I just like the brand" were also common reasons. In any event, emails are still relevant.

Taking steps to enhance data
That being the case, it's important that companies keep a close, watchful eye on all that contact information they're collecting from consumers. These are tricky times - there are plenty of ways to interact with a customer online without ever getting an email address. Take Twitter, for example. If someone tweets at you a few times, that doesn't necessarily make them easy to track down.

That's why companies are turning to data enhancement solutions, which can help them flesh out their collections of consumer information and fill in the gaps they might otherwise struggle with. Email marketing is still relevant, but complete and accurate data is imperative for making it work.