Brand and Subject Lines Fuel Email Opens; Clutter Drives Users Away

March 28, 2012

cmb-reasons-opening-email-march2012.jpgDeveloping strong relationships with consumers and writing strong subject lines appear to be the best ways to ensure email opens, according to [download page] March 2012 survey results from Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) and Constant Contact. When respondents were asked what makes them open an email from a business or nonprofit, the organization the email is from (64%) and the subject line (47%) were far more popular than other factors such as liking the offer (26%) or the first few lines of the body of the email (14%). At the same time, getting too many emails from an organization (45%) was the second-most common reason for deciding not to open emails, behind not being interested (61%).

Offers Inspire Likes and Subscribes

cmb-email-facebook-opt-in-reasons-march2012.jpgAlthough liking an offer was not a top factor given for opening emails, consumers are motivated by discounts and special offers. In fact, those with email accounts said that receiving discounts and special offers (58%) was the top reason for subscribing to emails from businesses or non-profits, while those with Facebook accounts also said this was the leading reason for liking a Facebook page (41%). Similarly, specific promotions drive opt-ins for both email subscribers (39%) and Facebook members (28%), slightly more important to both groups than being a customer or supporter of the business (37% and 28%, respectively).

According to a survey released in December 2011 by AYTM Market Research, 80% of consumers say that coupons, promotions, and discounts are their most preferred type of content to receive from brands, ahead of brand news (8%), answers to questions (5%), how-to’s (5%), and interviews (2%).

Over-Communication Has Opposite Effect

Consumers appear to be quite clear on one topic: too many emails and notifications have an undesirable effect. When the CMB respondents were asked why they unsubscribe from an email list, too many emails topped the list of reasons given by those who have subscribed to an email list, cited by 69%. The same reason sat atop the list among Facebook likers, at 42%. An equal concern given by Facebook likers was the information no longer being relevant to them, which was the second-most important reason among email list subscribers (56%).

Results from an Upstream survey conducted by YouGov and released in February 2012 also shows overload being a major turn-off: data from that survey indicates that two-thirds of US and UK consumers would unsubscribe from a brand’s promotions if they thought the messages they were receiving were too frequent.

Other Findings:

  • One-quarter of email list subscribers and 28% of Facebook likers responding to the CMB survey said they are more likely to opt-in to a local business than a national business. The majority reported having no preference (58% and 61%, respectively).
  • Although laptops or desktops were the primary device used to access email for 84% of respondents, two-thirds of two-thirds of those under 30 use their smartphones or cell phones to access their email.
  • Laptops or desktops (82%) are also the primary device used to access Facebook. More than half of those under 30 use their smartphones or cell phones to access the social network some of the time.

About the Data: The CMB survey was conducted through the CMB Consumer Pulse and supported by Constant Contact. Data was collected from 1,481 consumers aged over 18 in the US through an online questionnaire fielded in Q4 2011.

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