Email Marketing Acceptance Improving

As I have been saying for some time, attitudes toward email marketing are improving. Part of the reason is that opting out is easy and email marketers are now respecting people’s time more, so commercial ‘spam’ has been reduced by legislation and market forces.

Forrester Research, one of the most prestigious and respected research organisations recently reported that consumers now delete fewer promotional email messages without reading them and are now more likely to forward such messages to others. This is quite a shift from the previous predisposition to  “click and delete”.

Attitudes To Email Marketing Are Changing

Not only have positive behaviours been reported, but negative behaviors toward email have also declined. Specifically according to the Forrester Report, consumers…

  • Delete 14% fewer messages WITHOUT reading: 59% of consumers say they delete most email messages without reading them, down from the 63% who said they did so in 2008 and the 73% who said so in 2006. This is not an insignificant finding in this day and age of information overload.
  • 50% More combine promotional and personal emails: Just 10% of consumers say they have a separate email account they use just for receiving promotional email advertising, down from the 15% who said they did in 2008. This is a quantum shift that in my own humble opinion (IMHO) confirms greater trust within email-based communications and relationships between companies and clients.
  • Forward To A Friend up 33%: 12% of consumers say they sometimes forward promotional email to others, up from the 10% and 9% who said so in 2008 and 2006 respectively. With the advent of increased social networking tendencies, this is not surprising. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
  • Purchasing predisposition remains more-or-less stable: The percentage of consumers who often buy things advertised via email has hovered at roughly 5% for the past four years fluctuating from 5 to 6 and 4 percent from 2006 to 2008 and 2010 respectively. Because the numbers are still so small, small changes are not necessary representative of a major shift either way. This is relatively-speaking good news. Many opponents to email marketing were sounding the death knell a long time ago. This reinforces the proponents with a no-so-fast defence. Time will tell how this evolves over the next two years.
  • Product information declines by more than 30%. Consumers tend to fluctuate about email’s value for product information from 22 to 27 and back down to 17% in 2006, 2008 and 2010 respectively. I would agree with Forrester’s supposition that the decrease is likely a result of a proliferation of alternative product information sources that were not as prevalent back in 2006, including blogs, social networks, and rating/review sites within niche (long tail) communities.

This all bodes well for those of us in digital marketing focused on real brick and mortar businesses that want to find fresh new leads to establish long-term business relationships founded on high integrity value creation.

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