To uncover the tactics retailers are using to engage customers, Silverpop® researchers reviewed the email marketing programs of top retailers in America, Australia and the United Kingdom. The findings reveal interesting similarities and some surprising differences.
Silverpop, an on-demand provider of an email marketing and marketing automation platform serving the needs of sophisticated, self-service B2C and B2B marketers, evaluated the following elements during the studies:
Whether a company offered an email program
• Location of opt-in;
• Choices offered to registrants;
• Percent of emails offering sales or discount incentives;
• Number of emails received during a 30-day period;
• Unsubscribe links leading to preference centers;
• Personalized subject lines.
Among the findings, Silverpop uncovered that in the United Kingdom, relevancy rules. Nearly half (46 percent) of the U.K. retailers reviewed allowed recipients to specify the types of emails they want to receive by offering choices during the opt-in process. In Australia and America, by comparison, only about one-third of retailers offered subscribers options. However, American retailers were more likely to appeal to subscribers' quest to find the best deals. Nearly nine of 10 (87 percent) of the U.S. Top 500 retailers included sales and special offers in their marketing emails. But, interestingly, only 58 percent of U.K. retailers and 56 percent of retailers in Australia distributed emails touting discounts.
"A crowded inbox can be a noisy place, so retailers need to keep their ears closely tuned in to what their subscribers are telling them about the types of messages they want to receive and when," said Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop. "By carefully listening and tailoring their messages, especially incentives and special offers, to each individual's specific interests, savvy marketers will ensure their messages rise above the growing din-becoming more than just welcomed, but actually helpful as online shoppers carefully consider purchase decisions."
Relevant messaging also plays a key role in list churn, with email recipients citing a lack of relevancy as the number one reason they unsubscribe from email programs, according to MarketingSherpa. Yet marketers are overlooking an opportunity to prevent subscribers from unnecessarily ending relationships by not offering an option to change their preferences as an alternative to completely unsubscribing. Among the regions reviewed, retailers in America were most likely to connect their opt-out link to a preference center, and yet only 40 percent of them did so. U.K. and Australian retailers presented this option even less frequently-28 percent and 22 percent of the time, respectively.
"Retailers around the world are missing out on such a tremendous opportunity to re-engage with subscribers," Nussey added. "By allowing recipients to make simple changes such as decreasing the frequency of emails, reconsidering the specific lists they want to subscribe to, or even just changing their email address, marketers can potentially save lists from shrinking unnecessarily and can even strengthen subscriber relationships in the process."
Email frequency is another challenge for many marketers. It can be difficult to determine how many emails are too many or-as the Silverpop studies found-not enough. The majority of American retailers distributed five to 10 messages during a 30-day period, while most retailers in the U.K. and Australia sent between one and four. But far too many retailers didn't send any emails within the first 30 days after opt in. One in five U.K. retailers failed to send any messages during the first month, while 14 percent of Australian and 15 percent of American retailers did not communicate with new email subscribers. Not sending any emails during the first month after registration can be just as harmful as sending too many.
Silverpop's on-demand digital marketing platform helps marketers succeed in turning prospects into customers-and customers into fans-through the creation, automation and delivery of relevant, multichannel digital messaging. Companies rely on the Silverpop Engage platform to create and manage sophisticated email marketing campaigns that reach millions of individuals-one at a time-engaging prospective customers and enhancing lifetime customer value and brand loyalty. Silverpop's marketing automation capabilities enable B2B marketers to efficiently manage leads and drive qualified sales opportunities through scoring and by nurturing campaigns that move prospects from interest to conversion. Silverpop's industry-leading thought capital, strategic counsel, service and support helps B2C and B2B customers with the precise level of training and advice needed to quickly improve campaign results and ROI. With offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, Silverpop's marketing technologies are used by industry-leading brands around the globe. Best practices and white papers are available at silverpop.com/.