Nearly 80% of you will never read this message

With everything from social networking to mobile messaging grabbing the marketing spotlight, less attention is being paid to email as a means of connecting with customers and building business. Even though more than eight in ten of business use email marketing more than 160 commercial emails are launched each year, are any of them doing it well? Even when they are professionally designed and executed, how many of these little packets of gold ever make it to their destination, and how many of those get results?

Future Brandlab experiments will take a look at ways of making sure your messages reach their targets, but for now lets just look at why they miss.

A quick breakdown of the numbers shows gives you an overview of where the blocks are.

1. No addresses/Bad addresses
A study by ReturnPath showed just over 80% of emails reached in-boxes in North America in the second half of 2009. Of those that failed, 16.3% never reached the intended in-box, due to bad or inactive addresses. 10,000 messages become 8,370.

2. SPAM
The same report showed that 3.5% of these legitimate opt-in emails get blocked by SPAM filters. Business addresses quite often have additional protection from SPAM, and can increase filtering rates as much as 5%.

Note that the study was primary established email marketers using reliable above-board servers. Using (or having) any email server on even one of the major blacklists can boost that number 72% blocked.

The common belief is that the words or images used in the message sets off spam filters, but increasingly it is the reputation of the serving sender that sets off the filter. This is not an invitation to start using spam terms (free weight loss, guaranteed!) but a warning to protect your (and your mail server’s) reputation. 8,370 messages becomes 8,020.

3. Ignored email
A report for the 4th quarter of 2009 for “business products and services” showed emails were ignored by 78.4% of recipients. Consumer products on average faired slightly poorer. 8,020 messages becomes 1,732.

The best tool in overcoming this is a strong subject line. You’ve only got about 60 characters to grab someone’s attention and convince them to embrace your message. False irritating or overused subject lines can almost a guarantee a trip to the trash can.

4. Opened but Unmoved
Recent statistics on the DoubleClick network showed a 4.3% click-through rate for emails. That means more than 95% of the emails sent are unsuccessful at getting your prospect to visit your website. 2,005 becomes 430.

There are ways around each of the risk areas and methods to maximize your success. Our technicians are dissecting these areas individually and we look forward to sharing our findings with you. If you have observed interesting results in your email experiments or would like us to look into something particular, please let us know. We are relentless in our pursuit of science.


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