E-mail usage borders on overbearing, studies say

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Several recent studies are reporting that the gap is growing between e-mail marketers' use of their medium and consumers' propensity to respond to it.

A new report from Forrester Research, Break Free From Bad Email, estimated that poor e-mail marketing practices can diminish customer value by increasing customer attrition and decreasing annual customer value.

Julie Katz, a Forrester analyst and primary author of the report, suggested that due to the cheap and immediate benefits of e-mail, many marketers were overusing the medium and neglecting to segment the recipient lists. The study worked through a hypothetical model estimating potential revenue loss of $1.5 million over two years.

Couple this with Internet service providers' increasing use of the spam button scores to block inbox deliverability as noted in Lyris Inc.'s recent ISP Deliverability Study and the danger of annoying consumers grows.

“With the spam button, ISPs have given recipients increased control over what messages they wish to receive and this feedback is used to gauge a sender's reputation and future delivery,” Stefan Pollard, author of the report, explained in a statement.

The study found that nearly one out of every five permission-based e-mail messages sent to US-based ISPs lands in the junk mail folder.

The reports question the prevalence and uptake of best practices in the industry. In addition, e-mail marketing agency eROI reported in a recent study that only 30% of marketers use confirmed, or double, opt-in for e-mail list management. The report also found that when consumers opt out of e-mail lists, 30% of marketers fail to remove their names from other systems that share the same lists.

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