E-Mail Leads in Business Communication

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SAN FRANCISCO -- E-mail is the communication vehicle of choice.


That was the message Robin Lebo delivered Saturday during her presentation -- "E-Mail Marketing for Direct Marketers: What's Working, What's Not and Why!" -- at the Direct Marketing Association show here.


"It's almost become a necessity since nobody wants to talk on the phone anymore," said Lebo, president of Lebo Direct LLC, Charlottesville, VA, a direct marketing and Internet consultancy. "It's already better than direct mail."


She offered numerous statistics, including:


· The number of e-mail boxes worldwide is 435 million.


· More than 72 percent of the U.S. population is online, with 93 percent of those checking e-mail from home and 85 percent checking from work.


· As a primary communications vehicle for business, e-mail is preferred by 48.5 percent of respondents compared with 39 percent for telephone and 3.5 percent for regular mail.


Comparing e-mail and direct mail, she said campaign development is eight to nine weeks "on a good day with the right people" for direct mail, versus 48 hours for e-mail. E-mail costs about 1/16 of direct mail.


The pitfalls of spam were also addressed.


"Ask a list broker if a list is opt in. Better yet, ask if it's double opt in," she said. "Spam is becoming a real problem for legitimate direct marketers. Seventy-five percent of my e-mail is spam. It's going to be a legal hassle for all of us."


Other statistics presented included:


· Only 14 percent of consumers want to receive information from companies that they do not have a relationship with.


· More than 30 percent of e-mails are deleted because the reader doesn't recognize the sender.


· Users of personalization have skyrocketed from 23 percent to 47 percent in the past two years.


· 87 percent of those surveyed are annoyed when a site asks for the same information more than once.


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