What Business Professionals Really Want from Email

Posted by Stephanie Miller on

I was delighted to be asked to lead an email marketing session at the Marketing Profs B2B Forum earlier this month in Chicago (check out the sessions and some summaries here and on Paul Dunay’s blog).

The theme of the conference was right on point for most of us — “Driving Sales: What’s New, What Works and What Sticks.” When it comes to email, the only effective way to drive sales is to create great subscriber experiences. Look at your own inbox. When is the last time you got an email that was timely, easy to digest and relevant? (If you have, please let me know — I love to celebrate marketers who are doing this well!) If you’re like me, it’s rare. To help give some perspective, here are some subscriber view stats we shared in our panel – some are surprising and most are helpful when thinking about ways to engage with subscribers.

Consider these statistics in the context of your program and response rates. How do these numbers match your experiences with email? If these numbers make you think, “Wow, we are doing great by comparison!” then good for you. But if you find yourself thinking, “No way can that stat be true!” then it may be time to take a long look in the mirror. No stat will give you the complete picture, but if you program is far off these metrics, consider the true relevancy of the subscriber experience you are creating.

  • The increase in purchase value of email subscribers vs. non subscribers is 17%. That means, on average, the email subscriber bought 17% more! (source: Forrester Research)
  • B2B subscribers are twice as likely to consider email “spam” if it comes “too frequently.” That means you need to think about the cadence of your messages. What we marketers think is not too frequent might be measured differently by our subscribers. (source: MarketingSherpa)
  • It’s wonderful to see that most business professionals (87%) claim email has had some impact on their purchase decisions (source: Forrester Research )
  • 85% of business professionals sign up for email programs. This is not how many sign up for YOUR offer, but how many sign up for ANY offer. Still, that means the opportunity pool is high and the value of email as an information tool still intact. (source: Return Path)
  • The percentage of business people who regularly read business emails on their mobile devices (keyword “regularly”) was 37%, up from 30% just a year ago. (source: Exact Target)
  • The percentage of professionals who bother to unsubscribe from email they no longer want was 22%. Consider your unsubscribes to be only one-quarter of the real picture!! (source: Return Path)
  • For one program, only about 3% of email subscribers had read the privacy policy. Does that mean subscribers make assumptions about how you will treat their personal information? How do those assumptions square with your actual policies? It’s worth finding out. Start by asking your customer service folks if they’ve ever heard comments or feedback on this topic. (source: Citrix Online)

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