Ninety-five percent of email subscribers sign up for discounts: Email Evolution Conference

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Ninety-five percent of consumers sign up for commercial emails in order to receive discounts, said Ryan Phelan, VP of strategic services at email marketing company, BlueHornet. One-third of consumers unsubscribe from commercial emails because the promotions lack relevancy and one-third unsubscribe because of the over-frequency with which the emails are sent, he said, citing a BlueHornet study of approximately 1,000 consumers.

Speaking alongside Shar VanBoskirk, Forrester Research VP and principal analyst, at the Direct Marketing Association's Email Evolution Conference in Hollywood, Fla., Phelan said marketers must begin to think of consumers as people and not as a list of millions.

“We are so focused on getting emails out the door, we blast consumers,” he said. “We're more focused on quantity than quality.”

The biggest mistake marketers make when sending email, VanBoskirk said, is sending static messages that don't cause consumers to interact with the brand.

“Email was the first social medium,” she said. “It was the first place we understood the interaction between marketers and consumers. It was the first way people could share content and pass information among communities. The fundamental nature of email is interactive. Many marketers miss that. They're not setting up an interactive conversation.”

Phelan said he stresses to clients that while consumers may overwhelmingly crave email discounts, “emails are not just about discounts. You have to have a relevant conversation with your consumer. Email is not [about] what you deem necessary but what your consumers want to receive. If consumers want relevant content, you've got to be smart enough to do it."

However, VanBoskirk also noted that email has increased in consumer acceptance over the last five years and that more people sign up for emails now than they ever have. She cited a 2010 Forrester Research study that revealed 37% of consumers trust email, a higher percentage than any other medium.

The Forrester study also revealed that only 49% of consumers said they receive too many email offers, a decrease of 28 percentage points compared with 2006, she said. Fifty-nine percent said they delete most email ads, a decrease of 14 percentage points compared with 2006.

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