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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

email marketing surprises

Email marketing has surprised me of late.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had the fortune to work on and develop some class-leading CRM programmes in my time but I figure that if you want to be the best, you adopt best practices. And for me, double opt-in is the way to go. I remember spending several meetings and design iterations later to re-word and re-art direct positive opt ins for digital communications for Diageo to be ahead of the curve and live best practice, not just tip a hat to it.

So I was somewhat taken aback to read in eROI’s Cradle To Grave report (there’s no direct link, click on quarterly studies and download the report) that only 30.69% of US companies are using double opt-in. That’s tantamount to spamming if you don’t use that method.

And worse, 59.4% of those companies don’t pass an unsubscribe to other parts of their company when they get one. Two yellows equals a red card! So if you’re a consumer, basically a friend could get you signed up, you receive emails, you unsubscribe and you get them from another part of the same organisation. Aaargh. That’s just not joined up thinking and hardly going to endear your consumers to your brand.

Closer to home in the UK, econsultancy report that one in three companies flout spamming laws with only financial services boasting 100% compliance with email rules.

When you consider that European consumers receive over 250 emails per week (35 average per day) is it any wonder that 38% use spam filters, over half of promotion emails get deleted without reading and more people are concerned by clicking on ads in emails than on banners? The top two reasons people unsubscribe are irrelevant content and overly frequent emails.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. We just need to up our game and practise what we preach. Don’t let the standards slip and do it the right way. Because if we get it right, consumers do love email.

Consider this information released by eMarketer today. 67% of US adult internet users prefer companies to contact them by email than any other method. And in 5 years time, 67% will still prefer email to any other communication.

Remember, email is a conversation too.

Nicholas Gill

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