Even in the age of Facebook and Twitter, e-mail can still be a powerful way to market a business, according to a new study by ExactTarget.
It seems consumers have simply grown accustomed to receiving offers by e-mail. While 28 percent of buyers look to Facebook to find deals, 56 percent of consumers look for these in their e-mail inboxes, ExactTarget reports. The average consumer receives 44 e-mails every day, and about a quarter of these are permission-based messages from businesses. While it might seem like so many e-mails would turn shoppers off, the effect is just the opposite, the report notes.
"Consumers are familiar with the technology, are comfortable using it, and know exactly what to expect," the study reports. "They've also grown accustomed to using e-mail as a way of engaging with brands."
I want to receive what's interesting and relevant to me, not information for another group
About 93 percent of Americans subscribe to at least one "permission-based commercial e-mail," the report notes. Some survey respondents like the privacy that e-mail affords. Others enjoy its flexibility, which allows them to read messages at their convenience. Still others like the record-keeping nature of e-mails. But above all, the study finds, shoppers are drawn to the exclusivity of e-mails, and the ability to find deals you won't get anywhere else.
"Becoming a subscriber is like becoming a member of an exclusive club," Exact Target reports. About 67 percent of survey respondents said they gave their e-mail address to a company to receive special promotions.
However, businesses or sellers who use e-mail campaigns to reach customers must ensure the messages are tailored to their audience by providing personalized messages that give readers relevant information. Those who don't adhere to this could face a backlash, ExactTarget notes. In fact, 41 percent of Internet users "threatened to stop buying from companies that sent irrelevant messages," according to the study.
"I want to receive what's interesting and relevant to me, not information for another group," says one survey respondent. "I'm not interested in those non-relevant messages, and they make me much more likely to delete [the sender] as a contact."
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.