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Blog Post | Jul 09, 2024

Consumer Attitudes About Emails Are Changing. Should Your Marketing Change, Too?

Consumers' attitudes about email are changing, which means your marketing may need to change, too.

Topics: Direct Mail, Email Marketing

Emails are an important, cost-effective part of any modern marketing mix. Email is a top-performing tactic that can yield ROI of up to $36 for every dollar spent. Even if email is a staple in your marketing arsenal, it's always a good idea to look for new ideas to ensure your campaigns continue to perform.

New research sheds light on consumers' changing attitudes about email. In a fascinating study of about 1,000 people, digital expert Neil Patel took a deep dive into their habits and what motivated them (or didn't) to open and engage with marketing emails. We're here to give you the highlights and supplement this research with our expertise regarding the who, what, where, when, how (and how often), and why of email now.

Who's Checking Their Email and How Often
If you guessed "everyone," you're right. According to Patel's study, 60% of respondents say they check their emails once a day and almost 20% admit they check their emails multiple times an hour. However, you might be surprised to learn that Gen Z does not love emails: in a different study, more than 1/3 reported having over 1,000 unread emails in their inbox, citing email fatigue.

How Are They Checking It? 
Overwhelmingly, phones are the preferred device for 89% of respondents. Interestingly enough, another study found that even though people prefer checking their emails via smartphone, 23% will go back and look at the email again on their desktop computer.

The big takeaway is that your emails need to be optimized for mobile–which, in addition to featuring responsive design, means they should be short and sweet.

When Are Emails Being Read?
Given the above answer that many of us compulsively check our emails, there's no longer any one best time or even day of the week to send emails. However…

How Often You Send Emails Matters a Lot
Even though 'when' isn't critical, your cadence is. According to Campaign Monitor, you should send about two a week. For businesses engaged in e-commerce, the sweet spot is 10 – 19 emails a month, but anything more and the results tend to trail off: many consumers say that receiving too many emails from a brand is annoying.

Which Emails Are Most Wanted by Industry
Patel found that, by industry, consumers most wanted to receive emails from:
  • Retailers
  • Entertainment
  • Health and wellness
But Patel dug deeper and found that high-intent, or ready-purchase, buyers most wanted to receive emails from
  • Technology
  • Travel and hospitality (tied with health and wellness)
  • Retailers
If you're wondering why retailers appeared in both lists, it's probably because retailers—think grocers and big-box stores—constantly need to market to their audience, including sending special offers. If you fall into the second category, including limited-time offers, promotions, or discounts can get your audience to purchase more and sooner.

What to Say, and to Whom, to Get Your Emails Opened
In addition to considering the study, we pulled in some surprising data on what gets your email opened. The #1 factor determining whether your email is opened is who it's from! Nearly 45% of consumers say the sender's name is the most important thing, and emails from a personal name rather than a company have a better chance of getting opened.

Factors #2 and #3 are the email subject line and offer, so let's pivot back to Patel's study, which delved into the nitty-gritty of which messaging resonated with which audiences.

Younger customers (those in the 16-24-year-old bracket and 25-34-year-olds) were most motivated by subject lines that included a number, such as:
  • "Open for your 25% discount"
  • "Save 33% on all outdoor furnishings"
  • "6 essentials for summer safety"
On the other hand, customers over the age of 35 responded to offers of exclusivity:
  • "Your exclusive offer is included"
  • "We picked these deals just for you"
Why Even Great Emails May Not Be Enough
Even if your potential and existing customers open your emails, you'll be lucky to get their attention for 30 seconds. While that's certainly enough time to scan an email, it's not enough to build a lasting connection. It can take repeated interactions to drive sales, and in the case of more expensive items or B2B, it can take anywhere from 7 – 12 touches before someone commits to purchase. 

Combining emails with other tactics can help you produce results faster: each touch with other tactics, such as direct mail, brochures, or social media, amplifies and strengthens your message. If you'd like to learn more or get help developing and producing an integrated campaign that gets results, call us today!
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