Brand recall is more important for email marketing open rates than the subject line’s content but only just, with both factors growing in importance in the eyes of consumers since the pandemic hit.
According to the DMA’s ‘Consumer Email Tracker 2021’ report, supported by Validity, 70% of consumers believe email is still the best channel brands can use across the customer journey.
The research delves into consumers’ perceptions, preferences and dislikes when it comes to email and quizzed asked over 2,000 consumers about the emails they receive from brands and how they choose to interact with them.
Nearly seven in ten (68%) said brand recall is key to whether they open an email, compared to 55% in 2019, while 59% said the subject line was more important, up from 48%.
This year’s study also reveals emails’ role as the most popular place to save important information sent by brands, as around half of consumers (48%) currently use their inbox in this way.
The importance of email relevance has also increased in the past year (55%) to become the leading reason consumers like brand emails. This even surpassed discounts and offers (53%), although these remain the main drivers behind people signing up to receive emails from a brand (48%) in the first place.
While clicking on the link remains the single most likely action from reading an email (29%), consumers are almost as likely to engage with the brand indirectly or via another channel (26%) as they are to click.
Given the option to manage the communications they receive from brands, most would like to reduce email frequency (36%), only receive specific messages (32%) and choose to receive more personalised emails (24%) – although a third would simply rather unsubscribe (31%).
The main driver for unsubscribing is receiving too many emails (56%), followed by information no longer being relevant (38%), not remembering having signed-up (34%) and not recognising the brand (34%). A bad customer experience (19%) and negative stories about a brand (11%) can also act as deterrents.
DMA Email Council deputy chair Guy Hanson, who is vice-president of customer engagement at Validity International, said: “This report provides a great reminder that email marketing is part of a much bigger ecosystem, and the way subscribers engage with their emails reflects this. A clear indication is seen in reasons for unsubscribing, where around a fifth of responders cite negative experiences outside of the email programme – a poor in-store experience or negative publicity, for example.”
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