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Respect, Relevance Key to Email Success
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By Stephanie Miller

News Flash: Consumers want your email, will open your email, and will buy from you via email – if you build a relationship and keep that relationship relevant. Easier said than done, though, for most marketers, according to a recent survey conducted by Return Path that showed that few companies provide consumers with what they expect from email.

Our Second Annual Holiday Email Survey showed that consumers responded to email during the holiday season primarily when they had an ongoing positive experience with the sender and had received value from the email program in the past. More than 60 percent of consumers opened email from senders they knew and trusted, and a whopping 47.7 percent actually looked for the emails that they had enjoyed in the past.

That feels like a bar that even the smallest company with the most limited resources can meet: Take the time to understand your subscribers’ interests and motivations and tailor your email program to them. Make it less about you and your products, and more about what’s meaningful to subscribers.

Unfortunately, few companies take the time to do that. Our survey also showed that most consumers feel like less and less of the email they get is relevant or wanted. What an opportunity for your program to break through! Many marketers feel protected by the fact that some subscribers respond some of the time. This strategy leaves a lot on the table. Taking even a few small steps to create targeted, relevant email can earn long-term benefits and ROI.

If you want an email program that contributes to your bottom line, pay attention to the following basic reminders – as reported by consumers themselves – and try some of these response-driving tactics:

Give your customers what they want. Tailor your creative and offers to the things your customers asked for when they gave you their email addresses in the first place. If you tell them you’ll send offers, send offers. If you promise great content, deliver on it. Make that creative and message the best it can be – not just during the holidays, but all year long.

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Stephanie Miller is VP Strategic Services at Return Path.
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