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What Customers Love (and Hate) About Marketing Emails

Email continues to reign supreme as the method that shoppers prefer to receive messages from marketers. That’s according to the results of a recent survey conducted by email platform Message Systems. Some 500 people responded to the poll on Google Consumer Surveys. Len Shneyder, director of industry relations for Message Systems, takes a closer look at some of those findings—stats that show shoppers prefer email communications from brands over any other type of message. The poll also revealed when consumers are likely to develop a poor opinion of a brand. Coupled with Shneyder’s lucid Q&A, below you’ll find illustrations of the more poignant results from this recent poll. Simply put, the feedback reveals what shoppers love—and even hate—about email marketing messages from brands.

About 50% of this survey’s respondents say that they don’t want to receive any notifications from marketers. How can marketers get past the apparent skepticism of email marketing messages?
Relevancy. The litmus test I’d use is this: Would you want to read it? If not, then why would you assume someone else would? Make sure the communication is valuable, timely, and contextual. Start small; test different cadences. For example, two times a week versus three times. Ask people to return and update preferences, and then act on those preferences. Crawl, walk, and then run across the finish line.

Will we see email communication from marketers rev up, slow down, or stay the same next year?
That depends on what you mean by rev up. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that in the next few years we’ll see another Facebook- or Twitter-like company crop up; and here’s the important thing to remember: whether social or mobile, all of these companies rely on email as the common denominator for establishing accounts and customer identity. 

How effective will email marketing be in 2015?
Email will continue to be incredibly effective; I can’t ever remember seeing a drop in email’s ROI. It remains, based on all the analyst projections, estimates, and metrics, the most important outbound digital messaging channel. And mobile devices ensure that email is part of our routine, our daily life. Everyone carries one or more inboxes in their pocket.

Out of all the channels listed to receive marketing messages, email was the clear favorite. Why do you think that is?
I’m guessing it’s a combination of a few factors: it’s been around the longest; there are more people using email than any other channel; it spans devices and platforms; it’s passive, i.e. you don’t necessarily have to download an app; it’s visually engaging; we’re used to it; and so often, you can’t really buy or make a transaction without it. Email is the primary vehicle; it’s at the heart of everything we do.

How can marketers make email messages more personal in the New Year?

As I said before, relevancy. If you’ve done your homework, segmented your audience, and can exercise restraint and creativity, you should succeed. Being more personal starts with knowing who you’re emailing, leveraging predictive analytics, and delivering messages to the inbox. The latter is really key because, let’s face it, if the email doesn’t hit the inbox then all your efforts are essentially wasted.

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