Don’t be afraid of e-mail!
Shared by Another Idea from HEILBrice Thursday, March 19, 2009

There’s a study out today from Merkle that is fascinating.

It says that right after e-mails from family and friends, people spend the most time on opt-in e-mails from companies (permission e-mail)! Shocker.
It really supports what we always say about brands. When people invite you into their lives, either via their TV sets or their desktops or their mail boxes, they actually want communication from you. Not too much of it mind you–the number two reason for opt-out is too high of frequency, but if you can remain relevant and interesting to someone, you can certainly keep their attention.

Here’s the rub: People are becoming more and more cautious about signing up for e-mail blasts. They are buried with communication and can’t keep up. So they certainly don’t want to opt in to a company that is sending two or three e-mails every day during the holidays! (Are you listening Neiman-Marcus? Hello Auto Sport?)
That means your invitation should be honest and offered with humility and an understanding of the imposition that you’re potentially becoming.

Also, it’s smart to use your analytics to determine where an e-mail might be appropriate. We have one client who’s site gets a significant bump every Sunday, the day their weekly ad breaks. This speaks to the fact that the Sunday newspaper is becoming less and less of a factor for most customers and rather than take the paper or go out and get it, they’re just as like to go on-line and hit their favorite stores to see what’s new. Knowing that they’re visiting that day gives us an incredible opportunity to expand the relationship, via an e-mail offer or even tailored offers.
I would love to hear where others are having success in opt-in.

Here are some key points from the Merkle Study:

Time spent with permission email has stabilized since the gains seen last year. 59% of all email users spend twenty minutes or more with permission email weekly, with just over one- quarter spending an hour or more weekly

Permission email accounts for about a quarter of all time spent with email, second only to its primary function of communicating with friends and family

Just over half of all permission email recipients have added at least one company to their address book, and do so for 25% of the companies sending them email

There is an inverse relationship between the email types that are most valued and the quantities consumers receive

The biggest reasons subscribers choose to opt-out of permission email continue to be lack of relevance (cited by 75%), followed closely by sending too frequently (73%)

Slightly over half of respondents said that they were less willing to sign-up for email communications when compared to just a few years ago – showing that they are exercising caution.