Adam T. Sutton

Consumers More Careful with Email

The database marketing agency Merkle released their 2009 ‘View from the Inbox’ email marketing report last week. The survey, conducted on behalf of Merkle by Harris Interactive, surveyed 2,505 U.S. adults who check or send email at least once a week.

Judging from the report’s highlights, it looks like consumers are more skeptical and demanding of messages hitting the in-box. However, they’re willing to receive email from a slightly greater number of companies. The report is free if you share your email address.

Here are a few findings:

1. They will still subscribe – for the past six years consumers were willing to accept email from an average of nine companies. This latest report says that the number has increased to 10.

2. Some will white-list – 53% of consumers have added at least one company to their address books to ensure delivery.

3. Don’t spam the list – of subscribers who’ve opted out of a permission email, 75% say the emails lacked relevance, and 73% said they were too frequent.

4. Skepticism grows – slightly more than half of respondents said they’re less willing than a few years ago to sign up for email communications from companies.

5. Diminishing returns – an inverse relationship exists between the emails that are valued by customers and the quantities they receive. Transaction confirmations and account summaries are valued more than alerts and offers.

To summarize the five findings: you’ll have a much better chance of growing and keeping subscribers if you promise to send relevant information without too many mailings and come through on that promise.

The growing skepticism outlined in #4 is likely due to privacy concerns. Consumers are worried about what will happen to their email address after handing it over. They see so much spam that they don’t want to risk getting any more of it. For most ISPs in North America, Europe or Australasia, incoming email is 90% spam and 10% legitimate emails, according to the nonprofit Spamhaus.

If you’re interested in finding out more about consumers’ email privacy and security concerns, check out the session of Pam McHugh, President, Mintel Comperemedia, at MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit ’09 in Miami on March 16th. It will explain consumers’ concerns and how best to alleviate them. It might just get you white-listed.

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Email Marketing

  1. March 6th, 2009 at 18:04 | #1

    Interesting statistics! When done right, email marketing can be effective. I just posted “Through the Looking Glass: Email Marketing from Your Customer’s Viewpoint”: Eager to hear feedback.

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