This may seem counter-intuitive when people think of the sheer number of emails they’ve deleted without opening, but there are two things to consider.
First, when the all-commercial messages sent by email are considered together, the response rate is similar or better than the response rates for other forms of online advertising. A recent study from Benchmark Email found that when separated by industries, the average clickthrough rate (CTR) for each industry was between 2.2 percent and 4.8 percent. These response rates are comparable to the rates for display ads, social media marketing, etc.
A second, of the more the 90 percent of emails that aren’t clicked, a large portion of these messages are just utter junk. The average Internet user is savvy enough to avoid the worst email marketing messages, so this means the true CTR for well-produced email campaigns should be significantly higher. This was even hinted at by the authors of the Benchmark study. It was noted that the best performing companies with email marketing were significantly better than the worst.
2. Consumer perception
Business owners should continue to consider email marketing relevant because consumers consider email marketing to be important.
For example, Deloitte released a study in May that reported 65 percent of consumers say email coupons are important when grocery shopping online. Similarly, a 2013 study from Acxiom found that 73 percent of respondents preferred email to direct mail, text messages, or a combination of channels.
The Acxiom study also noted, “email has more influence on purchase decisions than direct mail, SMS messaging or social media, with emails containing discounts or information about relevant products or services ranking highest for influence on purchase decisions among our recipients.”
3. Decreased competition
Last month, Moz reported that demand for email marketing among marketers decreased by 12 percent in 2013. The fact that some marketers have already begun to pull back on email marketing means that there is more room for small business owners to make an impact with their target audience.
If a customer subscribed to the email list for a business and its competitor, and the latter stops sending specials through email (or sends even 12 percent less) there are more chances for the consumer to see and act on messages from the first business.
For business owners and marketers, the takeaway from all of this should be a resolution to continue email marketing, and to find a way to produce the kinds of messages that get opened, read, and clicked. As all of this new research shows, email marketing has a very good response rate when done well, because people still depend on email to help them with buying decisions. As more marketers sink money into other marketing channels, there are more openings for the businesses that stay the course.