December 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

Certified e-mails boost delivery, open rates and conversions, study says

E-mail marketers using certified e-mails drive profits 38% higher than others, says a study by Jupiter Research and vendor Goodmail.

Marketers using certified e-mail–-a process certifying that e-mail marketers conform to industry rules against sending unwanted messages--typically have more successful e-mail campaigns than those that do not, according to a new research report from Jupiter Research, a Forrester Research company.

The online study, commissioned by vendor Goodmail Systems, surveyed 202 e-mail marketers in October and November. Assuming a standard monthly e-mail volume of 2.8 million-–the monthly average for U.S. e-mail marketers, according to Jupiter-–the model showed that profitability from e-mail was 38% higher for retailers using certified e-mail than for those not using it. Higher conversion rate was one key factor in those results, with 68% of the e-mail marketers surveyed reporting conversion rates of 3% or higher, compared to only 40% of those that use non-certified e-mail.

Jupiter calculated the higher profitability of retailers using certified e-mail by developing a model that compared average e-mail campaign performance, based on metrics such as conversion and open rate, to the average cost of producing e-mail campaigns.

“In these especially difficult economic times, marketers must focus on reaping the most out of every dollar they spend,” says Peter Horan, CEO of Goodmail Systems. “The new report highlights that e-mail certification helps marketers make more money from their e-mail campaigns.”

E-mail is eligible for certification from vendors such as Goodmail when the sender of the e-mail can demonstrate it meets certain standards such as not phishing or spamming consumers.

The study also found that users of e-mail certification tend to employ more sophisticated marketing tactics. For example, they were more likely to include four or more images in their e-mail templates than marketers not using certified e-mail, and they were more likely to use list segmentation and dynamically generated content in their e-mail campaigns.

Additionally, 53% of the e-mail marketers surveyed cited lack of trust as a result of “increased spam and e-mail phishing attacks” and 45% of respondents cited “further e-mail and image blocking” as top challenges during the next 12 months. 40% cited worry about the poor economic environment.

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