Email marketing success rates could be so much better

E-mail as a direct marketing channel is on the up. Companies concerned about their environmental footprint are switching their resources to a mode of communication where existing and prospective customers are increasingly receptive, the inbox.

Russell Parsons

Recent research by Experian Marketing Services found email volumes increased 5.4 per cent year on year in 2012 driven by double digit increases in email volume by brands in the travel, consumer goods and publishing industries.

Not only are they using it more, there is also evidence companies are getting more from email than ever before. Separate research by Marketing Week’s sister title econsultancy found that of the 1,300 marketers it polled earlier this year, 66 per cent rated return on investment as “good” or “excellent”

Despite the healthy report card the same research found there is residual frustration marketers are missing several tricks. Concerns centred on an inability to exploit the opportunities mobile offers email marketers and a failure to fully optimise.

It is, of course, right and proper that marketers should continually strive for excellence particularly in a relatively new channel where people are still finding their feet.

The remedy to their ire could be within their reach. To date, the theory goes that consumers are more receptive to emails during business hours when minds are focussed and the rhythm of life will not interrupted by brands intruding and daring to market their products and services.

The Experian research referenced above goes some way to disproving this theory, however. But for Tuesday, response rates were highest at weekends when volumes were at their lowest. Furthermore, response rates were at their highest in the evenings from 8pm and midnight.

Response times and rates, of course, do not necessarily correlate with when emails are sent – recipients could just be mentally filing messages to deal with later. The results of the survey should, however, provide plenty of food for thought.

With email volumes rising, from brands and otherwise, there is an ever evolving need to adapt strategy to try and get your brand’s messages heard. With the increased use of mobile internet and proliferation of smartphones, adapting the timing of your messages might be best way to deal with the frustration you could do better.

Readers' comments (3)

  • My apologies, but I have to challenge your opening premise, that "Companies concerned about their environmental footprint are switching their resources to [email] and the inbox"

    I've never met an email marketer who says they are working in the channel because of 'green concerns'. Indeed, I have only ever met marketers who would operate in any channel, irrespective of the environmental impact, if it provides profitable ROI. And the fact is email, saved from the worst types of abuse by opt-in laws, continues to provide that. If it didn't, they'd get out, simple as that.

    If I may grind a particular axe of mine, the whole green debate is a fabrication promoted by direct mailers to try to repair their tarnished image.

    Quite simply, marketing move to email looking for better ROI, saving trees is just the varnish.

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  • I totally agree. The move to email is driven by cost savings.

    However marketers need to be aware that there is still a real need for direct mail for certain types of communications. Email may be cheaper to deliver but it is also perceived as less valuable by the receiver and therefore is more easily ignored.

    Fine when your target audience know and trust your brand but not great for building trust.

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  • I don't think it's a cost thing. Designing and building an email that looks great across a variety of devices, isn't cheap. It's the delivery that's cheap.

    Hard copy direct communications are wasteful, and not as easy to track.

    Email delivers measurable results.

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