The newly released annual look at the digital world from online and mobile measurement firm comScore makes it quite clear that retailers better be ...
Silverpop’s review of 175 retailers suggests it would take most retailers only slight adjustments to their e-mail marketing programs to leap ahead of the competition.
A new study of e-mail marketing practices by e-mail services provider Silverpop suggests that most marketers would need to make only a few changes to leap ahead of competitors. The project reviewed the registration procedures, marketing messages and opt-out practices of 175 retailers such as Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, CompUSA and others.
The study sponsors the capture of an e-mail address as a critical way to begin or maintain a dialogue with customers. Yet a surprisingly large percentage of companies reviewed didn’t place a prominent call to action seeking registration on the home page, and those that did in many cases didn’t promote the value proposition of signing up to visitors. 23% of the companies failed to include e-mail registration request on their home page. One-quarter didn’t offer any explanation of benefits. When companies did state a value proposition for registering, 45% offered notice of sales and promotions, 14% offered news, and 11% offered a catalog or other direct mail piece. Only 2% offered incentives such as a sweepstakes of discount.
The study found that the collection of basic customer profile information is now commonplace, suggesting that it`s a good time for retailers who only go so far as to collect e-mail addresses to beef up their registration process so as to improve effort at targeted marketing. 37% of the companies reviewed asked only for an e-mail address, while 39% asked registrants to complete a short profile that included a request for a postal address. 25% of the retailers also asked for phone numbers and demographic information.
Giving e-mail registrants a choice of what kid of material they’d like to receive also improves targeted marketing, and it can reduce opt-outs, but only a small percentage, -- just over 20% -- offered a choice of message type or content. The study also found that eight out of 10 retailers reviewed use opt-in registration, noting that retailers still using opt-out practices constitute “a small and increasingly unpopular minority.”
Confirmation messages, the study noted, are an e-mail recipient’s first exposure to a retailer’s e-mail marketing practices, but they’re often an afterthought in developing communications. Only 43% of companies studied send a registration confirmation message. Of those, eight of 10 sent confirmations the same day, and 76% displayed product or brand names in their messages. But only 22% asked to be added to recipients` address books, and only 25% of the messages were addressed to the recipient by name.
“By making a few small changes, such as consistent use of brand and simple personalization retailers can provide a more positive kickoff to their relationship with their new recipients,” according to the study report.