Why Getting Email Marketing Right is so ImportantFebruary 24th, 2009 by Chris Herrick
I often feel that email is the neglected step child of retail marketing. We’ve all seen the news articles and blog posts that tout sexier marketing trends like Twitter and mobile marketing. Many retailers have already jumped on the social media and company blog bandwagon and will spend months planning and implementing these changes on their website. Yet, I so often run into marketers that are willing to throw together a weekly sales email in an hour and blast the same message to their entire customer list. Why? Well, my guess is they are underestimating the “response” they get from email. Catalogers are quick to argue that offline communications drive online purchases, but how is online communication driving offline sales?
I’m sure you won’t find it surprising to hear that a recent survey by Epsilon tried to answer that particular question. The results: they found that 50% of American consumers say that email increases their likelihood to buy both online and offline, and more importantly, if you look only at multichannel retail, a full 67% of consumers say that an email caused them to buy products through the company’s offline channels. That’s 2 out of every 3 - which I find totally amazing, but not altogether surprising. When you think about it, most of us spend more time in our Inboxes and Blackberries than talking to our spouses, so it’s not unexpected that we tend to remember or give more credence to whatever finds the most time in front of our eyes. Additionally, the Epsilon survey showed that:
- 57% of consumers feel they have a more positive impression of companies when they receive email from them.
- 40% said that simply receiving email has a positive impact on their likelihood to make a future purchase a company.
- 71% remember email communications when making purchases at the sending company’s web site.
- 50% said they’re more likely to buy products from companies who send them email, whether their purchases are online or at a place of business.
Alright, so clearly email is important, more so than perhaps previously thought, but should that make a difference in your weekly email blast? Absolutely. As my colleague Matt pointed out in yesterday’s post about retailers need to embrace product recommendations, the email marketing world is becoming increasingly murky and there is a considerable need to stand out from your competitors. Interestingly enough, many marketers already know the number one way to increase conversion and open rates: relevancy - in fact, nearly 9 out of 10 marketers said relevancy was the most important factor for email conversions during a 2007 survey. Why is it than that the majority of marketers still blast one broad message to all of their customers? I’m not sure, but perhaps they’re just not aware that an inexpensive, easy-to-use recommendation engine exists out there that can meet their needs without breaking their budgets.
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