Too many companies are getting email marketing wrong

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Jeff Nicholson
Jeff Nicholson

Not only are emails not being coordinated with each other, they are not being coordinated with other messaging across businesses—both inbound and outbound—further muddying the messages, the company's image and overall customer care. This situation is leading to greater levels of customer frustration and opt-out, limiting your brand's ability to interact on a one-to-one basis with individual customers.

Each consumer has his or her own pet peeves about email marketing messages, but according to recent independent research commissioned by Pitney Bowes, here are the top five reasons why consumers are frustrated by emails—and take action by opting-out:

1. Frequency. The greatest factor in your opt-out rates is the volume of communications that you're sending. Consumers are quite literally saying “less is more.”

2. Permission. Consumers commonly cited a perception that they did not request or sign up for such email communications.

3. Relevance. Regardless of how the marketer felt about a certain communication's appeal to the market segment, messages were not found to be relevant to the individual.

4. Timeliness. A purchase at one time of year is often mistaken for perpetual interest. Many stated that they only buy at a specific time of year.

5. Repetitiveness. Subsequent emails were deemed to be too similar to prior messages.

Additionally, the research indicated that even if recipients are not formally opting out, they are opting-out mentally, leading to lower open rates. Email marketing messages don't have to be annoying and don't have to risk being deleted right off the bat. Brands should consider these turn-offs and essentially do the exact opposite.

When pondering whether or not to send a certain piece of communication, it's critical to consider the effects one too many emails could have on the longer term dialogue between a business and the customer. 

In effect, every irrelevant message your business sends decreases the probability that a relevant message will be acted upon. Marketers can rise to this challenge by offering options for customers to manage the frequency or the type of content the customer can receive. By governing communication frequency and relevancy around individual customer preferences, organizations can make a dramatic impact to consumer ad fatigue and opt out, increasing the opportunity to drive greater customer lifetime value.

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