Posted March 16, 2009 12:33 am by with 6 comments

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With Internet marketers putting the squeeze on budgets the search for the magic bullet to attract new emailcustomers continues. MediaPost gives some insight on a Merkle report that says that e-mail still is attractive to marketers but the perception from those on the receiving end may be changing as well.

The report talks about how inboxes are getting more and more cluttered with marketing messages. After looking over the findings it appears as if the direction that e-mail recipients are heading is toward having had enough of the practice. I know how I react to e-mails that I have opted – in to receive. I take a brief look at the subject line and if it is not something that can make me slow down for a second it’s deleted. Not to say that my behavior is normal but I suspect that the patience level on these techniques is waning.

Some findings to consider

  • Time spent with permission email has stabilized since the gains seen last year. 59% of all email users spend twenty minutes or more with permission email weekly, with just over one- quarter spending an hour or more weekly
  • 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%)
  • Slightly over half of respondents said that they were less willing to sign-up for email communications when compared to just a few years ago – showing that they are exercising caution

As with most studies those who want to support the use of e-mail as a marketing tool can find numbers to support their position. The other side of that equation is true as well. One thing that is nice is that the highest percentage of e-mail time is reserved for friends and family. Great for news for keeping up with the college crew but maybe it explains some productivity issues at the office as well.

The final piece of information most noteworthy to a subject near and dear to our hearts here at Marketing Pilgrim is about brand reputation. The report says that 30% of respondents have stopped doing business with a company based on their e-mail marketing practices. Ouch.

So what do you do? Even if you opt-in are you paying attention to the e-mails that come to you? Are you more or less tolerant of e-mail that falls outside of business or personal direct connections? We know about ad blindness but is e-mail blindness just as real?

  • Wow, that last statistics is quite startling but makes sense – if you don’t treat someone’s sign up with respect why would they trust your business?

    I react the same way to newsletters you do – check the headline and delete if not relevant – even though I still sign up to newsletters fairly easily.

    I’ve been tracking our RSS to email sign ups from our blog, and interestingly the number of ‘opens’ often doesn’t correlate with the posts that are more popular (traffic wise) on our blog – this often makes me think a different kind of reader wants information directly to their inbox.

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  • Companies would be wise to offer an RSS alternative to their email announcements–and they should make it easy to find.

    I’ve cut way back on my email subscriptions but if the sender has an RSS version, I tend to sign up for that instead. If they don’t, they likely lose my attention completely.

  • A couple years ago I started up a new email address just for my opt in newsletters, which I read from about an hour a week. Everything else is pretty much crap and gets deleted with only a millisecond glance at the headline. In this way I maybe read about 1 out of every 300 unsolicited emails I receive, but I really wish that all these email spammers who send me dozens of crap mails per day some days, they waste my time making me delete, I wish they’d stop.

    I have much more important work to do than sit around deleting email marketers jabs at my wallet.


  • You can actually make use of your opt-in e-mail list for lead tracking. But as suggested by your statistics, business owners should know when the best time to send e-mails is. E-mail marketing is one of the best methods of promoting a business, but it can also be the most difficult to do.

    Perry’s last blog post..A Call Tracking Service to Boost Your Sales and Improve Your Tracking Lead Performance

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