From the MediaPost research blog:
The conclusion drawn in a new report from Merkle, “View from the Inbox,” 2009, is that Email continues to be a popular marketing communications channel in today’s challenging economic climate due to its low cost-per-contact and its ability to provide direct, measurable results. But, consumers’ attitudes and behavior regarding email continue to change.
As a result, inboxes are becoming more crowded with marketing messages and marketers are finding they must adapt to sustain gains made via their recent email marketing efforts. Permission-based, or “opt-in” email marketing, is seen as an important element in the unfolding strategies.
- Permission email accounts for about a quarter of all time spent with email, second only to its primary function of communicating with friends and family
- Just over half of all permission email recipients have added at least one company to their address book, and do so for 25% of the companies sending them email
- The biggest reasons subscribers choose to opt-out of permission email continue to be lack of relevance (cited by 75%), followed closely by sending too frequently (73%)
An inverse relationship exists between the emails that are valued by consumers pertaining directly to them such as transaction-related confirmations and account summaries and the quantities that they receive in which they are relatively less interested, such as news alerts and offers.
The main reasons subscribers choose to opt out of email programs, 75% say perceived irrelevance and 73% cite sending too frequently, are problems most commonly associated with promotional email because these can be the most intrusive.
The report concludes that the quality of a company’s email program influences brand perceptions, both negatively and positively, acknowledged by 59% of permission email recipients, while 30% of permission email recipients have stopped doing business with at least one company due to their poor email marketing practices.
So what does this mean? Something common sense already tells us but many marketers ignore:
Obey the following commandments for direct e-mail customer contact:
1. Only send messages to those who want them
2. Send interesting and informative content people will enjoy. Avoid schlock and hyberbole.
3. Don’t send emails to often, once a month is good. Once a week is bad.