What do consumers really want from their email?

In the media today, ether email marketing is associated with spam, and journalists complain that there is too much email flooding our inboxes, or they say that email is dead and will soon be replaced by social media. It’s all part of the “Fear and Loathing in Email Marketing”, that Dela Quist of Alchemy Worx is setting out to combat. Actually, what the DMA Email Tracking 2012 report shows is that consumers value the emails they receive from brands, and that customers are signing up to emails in greater numbers.I chaired the event last week, and can share some of the insights that came out of the report and the subsequent discussions.

43% consumers are now signed up to receive emails from 10 or more brands, but inboxes are not as crowded as you think – 40% of subscribers still only get less than 3 emails from brands a day, and 63% get no more than 6 a day. Presenting the report, Paul Seabrook, from FastMap, however urged marketers to ensure that they have a value proposition for their subscribers – over 50% of consumers give their secondary email address when subscribing, so by making it clear what the benefit of the emails will be, consumers are more likely to engage with the address that they actively use.

Email Consumer Tracking Study

It was not surprising to learn that they key reason to sign up for email was for offers – with 55% citing money off emails as their favourite ones, but what was also interesting to note was that offers like free delivery were no longer perceived to have such a high value. The report also found that people signed up to receive emails as they “liked the brand” (40%) or because they were “a regular customer “(42%), hence the need for brands to ensure they also provide value-adds like advance notification of new products, to develop the client relationship.

Paul also impressed up on the audience the need to look at wider attribution for impact of emails, not just direct purchases through clicks. The study showed that people take several other actions as a direct result of receiving an email, like visiting a store (27%), or going directly to a brand’s mobile app (32% of mobile opens).

Speaking next, Dela Quist from Alchemy Worx, stressed the importance of email as a mechanism to build brand visibility. He also urged the audience to focus on growing their database. “Who has a target for conversions of website visitors to sign ups?” he asked. The “shocking” answer was almost nobody. He reconfirmed the value of building your email list with a simple truth – “Driving traffic to your site is harder and more costly via search than it is via email”.

But what about social media? What did the study add to the email vs social debate? Well, in terms of social sharing, there was a small increase from 12% to 22%, of people who regularly share email content with their networks. The “social” talk at the event, however, was much more controversial (and entertaining). “Why do we keep talking about social? said Dela “It’s back to that Fear and Loathing in Email marketing again? Why would I want to grow my fans and followers on a social network for other brands to be able to target them? Preaching to the converted, of course, we were forced to agree.

So, email is still the best, most-cost effective way to drive business and foster our client relationships, and the DMA email tracking study, shows that customers still want even more.

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Fiona Robson

About Fiona Robson

.As MD of Rocketseed, Fiona is a strong advocate for maximising the marketing and data opportunities from email media, as well as from email marketing. Email media is about transforming regular employee email into a marketing platform & gaining business insights through email analytics. Fiona has over 15 years’ experience in sales & marketing plus ecommerce roles, and speaks regularly at seminars and industry events.