Why do consumers prefer email marketing over other channels?

Email marketing stats 2015The results of a November poll conducted by software developer Message Systems provided more credence to the school of thought that email marketing continues to hold its own in an age of social media and mobility. Moreover, the findings suggested this trend is set to continue in 2015.

Upon being asked which form of communication they liked brands to use when sharing information about promotions and deals, 50 percent of the 500 survey respondents who said they were on board with receiving notifications named email as their No. 1 channel.

In fact, email proved to be the most popular by a long shot, beating out text (18 percent), direct mail (14 percent), social media (11 percent) and push notifications (7 percent). So why does email dominate our communication preferences?

Control and routine

Nowadays, most people check their email at least once every 24 hours (many much more frequently than that). They access their accounts whenever they feel like it and have total control over when to open individual messages. These decisions are rooted in convenience and how interested they are in the content of particular emails. What’s more, they don’t have to read emails at all if they don’t want to, as they have the power to send unread messages to the trash bin.

Consumers can even control what messages are allowed to reach them. Thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, consumers can unsubscribe from any and all email marketing lists on which they don’t wish to be included. So, what does this mean for the promotional messages that do appear in their inboxes? Simply put, they probably contain information that recipients actually care about, which means consumers’ level of frustration with this type of marketing outreach is likely lower compared to that associated with other channels. As a result, it stands to reason that they’ll be more receptive to whatever a company is promoting.

Improving email marketing

“Today, [consumers] have higher expectations for personalized, relevant content and instant results,” Barbara Burlington, vice president of corporate communications at Message Systems, wrote in a post on the company’s blog. “As companies evolve their customer-facing processes of marketing, customer service, sales and user engagement, it’s important for them to integrate email in a way that matches or exceeds those expectations, or they’ll risk falling behind.”

Direct Marketing News took a look at email marketing trends that are hot – and those that are not – as companies work on their promotional strategies for 2015.

  • The “batch-and-blast” approach is decidedly not hot, nor has it ever been. Segmenting messaging based on demographic preferences is likely to drive much better results.
  • If your email content isn’t personalized, you fall back on static rather than dynamic messaging or you don’t include the formatting flexibility that will allow email to be viewed on devices of different types and sizes, you can expect your outreach efforts to garner a lukewarm response at best.
  • Subject lines can pique recipients’ attention or encourage them to scroll on by. Best practices include using fewer than 40 characters and avoiding spammy language.
  • Predictive analytics is no longer regarded as a nice plus. Rather, it’s becoming an important component of email marketing strategies. Companies can use the data they collect from past campaigns to optimize their future outreach efforts.

How much of a role does email outreach play in your small or medium-sized business’ marketing mix? What, if anything, will you alter in your approach to email-based promotion in 2015?

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