Posted March 28, 2007 1:44 pm by with 7 comments

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If you’re doing email marketing, you really need to get it right. You need to start off on the right foot: around 80% of recipients will mark an email as spam based on subject line and sender alone, according to a survey conducted by the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. Trevor Hughes, executive director of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition, told ClickZ:

We found that four out of five folks are deleting or reporting messages as spam before even opening them. Consumers are tyrannical; they are brutal editors of their inbox. If your from and subject line is not showing who you are and the message is legit, you will never even be previewed.

Dave Lewis, co-chair of the receiver relations committee for the ESPC and Market Development Vice President for StrongMail, offers advice on how to overcome that tendency: “If you’ve got a brand that the consumer knows, you’d best make sure that the brand is highly visible in the send address and subject line so you don’t end up in the spam button.”

Another interesting finding of the study:

The ESPC originally assumed that large numbers of recipients were using the “report as spam” button to unsubscribe to legitimate marketers. However, that was the case for only 20 percent of messages studied, said Hughes. Regardless, he believes the survey is a call for greater tools to be made to consumers.

Those tools included “report as fraud” (80% of those surveyed were interested) and “unsubscribe” (90%) buttons in email clients in addition to the “report as spam” button. The survey also found that 80% of users trust unsubscribe links, even when the sender isn’t familiar to them. Hm…

See also the ESPC’s press release, with more details of the study.

  • I think I’m one of those tyrannical consumers. I often delete and flag messages without ever opening them…but I like to think I’m usually accurate?

  • Jordan McCollum

    According to the study, you’re right 80% of the time.

  • I am a big fan of offering a universal “unsubscribe” mechanism. I think that by only offering people the option of either reading the email or labeling it as spam just doesn’t do email marketers justice.

    If people are on-board as it seems from these statistics, then I think this should be a big focus of the email providers going forward.

  • Is e-mail marketing really worth it though?.. i don’t ever read the mails I get that aren’t people that i know.. but maybe I’m just part of the select few?

  • Oh yes, email marketing IS worth it.

    Many of my clients see 15% or more of their sales coming out of their email efforts. Plus is serves many other functions such as branding, customer segmentation, customer feedback, etc.

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  • Email marketing is definitely worth it, and I am on loads of mailing lists, many of which I still read daily.

    You just have to pick and choose which lists to join that give some valuable information along with the sales pitches.

    Valuable information also includes how they do the sales pitches themselves. You won’t get email marketing right unless you study those that are successful at it.