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BizReport : Email Marketing : August 19, 2010

Report: Brands still blasting email, ignoring customers

Turns out retail brands may be in a rut with email marketing. A new report indicates that retailers are, in some cases, ignoring consumers who return the favor by ignoring them. Not the best of ideas in a robust economy; a perhaps fatal mistake in a sagging economy.

by Kristina Knight

returnpath.jpgReturn Path is back with a follow-up to 2008's survey of ecommerce email practices. The results? Retailers continue to make the same mistakes. Researchers followed 40 retail brands who emailed 'inactive' consumers. Their findings? Retailers are averaging about 10 email messages to inactive consumers. Each month.

For the purposes of the study, 'inactive' means a consumer who doesn't open, click or make a purchase for more than 18 months.

"Sending email without regard to whether or not it's relevant for subscribers is not a winning strategy and there are costs associated with sending email to people who are unlikely to ever respond," writes Bonnie Malone, Director of Response Consulting.

The study further found:

• 5 out of 40 brands tried to 'win back' inactive subscribers through email
• Only 1 of the 5 sent a message asking the inactive consumer(s) if it was okay to continue mailing
• No brands gave consumers options to change their email preferences
• No brands customized 'win back' email messages

So, you have non-responsive consumers on your email mailing list. What do you do? According to Return Path, brands need to first try to win back the non-responders. Send a personalized message, including information about their last purchase, asking if it is okay to leave them on the list. Give the consumer's options: do they want fewer mailings? More targeted information? Ask for their feedback and make them an offer. If they respond, you're on the way to winning them back. If they don't respond, knock them off the list and move one.

Tags: ecommerce, email marketing, retail, Return Path

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