Posted July 9, 2009 3:02 pm by with 5 comments

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Email GeneralI have to admit that any story about e-mail marketing and an increase in open rates is a bit baffling. Why? I know how I handle e-mail these days. A quick scan and if the sender or subject doesn’t ring a bell I have developed the Internet equivalent of a quick trigger finger – check the box then flush it with the rest of the e-mail I have no time for. I realize that I don’t represent everyone by any stretch but the amount of e-mail coming down the pike on a daily basis is daunting. As for anything unfortunate enough to hit my spam folder? No hope there. I rarely peruse it and usually just send it packing.

So ClickZ is reporting on a new study by Epsilon who is a, you guessed it, e-mail marketing provider shows that marketing e-mail open rates have gone up recently.

The “Epsilon Q1 2009 Email Trends and Benchmarks” report found open rates hit 22.1 percent in the first quarter, up 11.2 percent from the rate of 19.9 percent the researchers found in Q1 2008. The study was compiled from 6 billion e-mails sent to more than 200 clients by Epsilon in January, February and March, and it combines data from both the company’s proprietary platforms, DREAM and DREAMmail.

In addition, deliverability is up slightly in Q1 ’09 over Q1 ’08 (94.1 to 93.4 % respectively) and the open rates have gone up in 12 of the 16 measured industries year over year. Doing well is financial services with 31% open rate and doing not so well is retail apparel at 14.3%.

Critical components of successful e-mail marketing are content, timing and frequency, list hygiene and list growth. Company sources also see “savvy use by marketing departments of transactional and trigger-based messaging such as purchase confirmations, statement-ready alerts, and flight confirmation letters to deliver marketing content.”

The next bit of data I find somewhat hard to believe involves purchases that are attributed to e-mails.

Another recent Epsilon study found that 59 percent of Asia Pacific consumers made offline purchases as a result of e-mails. That figure was 53 percent for North Americans and 37 percent for Europeans, said Epsilon. “Sophisticated marketers are incorporating triggers, transactions, preferences, segmentation and other advanced analytics to produce more successful campaigns,” the report said.

For you e-mail marketing pros out there do these numbers sound on target? Am I just one of those folks that probably won’t be reached by e-mail while the rest of the world is waiting with bated breath for the next sales pitch in their inbox? Do tell.

  • Yeah i totally agree with you..

  • Dimitry

    Thank you Frank for information. I completely agree with you. On my mind the most important part of email is the subject, I usually don’t read the body if I don’t like the subject…

    – Email Marketing eBook

  • Email still brings great results when the right messages reach people who WANT to be reached at the right time.

    Maybe this means companies are doing a better job of giving people content they want? Still, I didn’t expect numbers to go up though…

    Jason Peck’s last blog post..TruFan – Platform for Local Fan Communities

  • Ya, its like some emails are too long to be read through completely. Seeing the length of such emails forces me to think 10 times before actually starting to read it! It is very important to convey the purpose of the email in the first few lines itself – a very known fact but as Frank mentioned “still open to improvement”.

  • I think the open rates are improving because marketers are coming up with better subject headings to give readers a reason to open the mail. Instead of a standard ad, I’ve seen a lot more creative subject headings that have even gotten me, a chronic deleter, to open some emails.