Feb 9, 2006

Holiday Email Marketing Survey Results from ReturnPath

ReturnpathsnippetReturnPath just published the results from their holiday email marketing survey. It’s a free download, so you should check it out. Here’s what we found most interesting:

"Geez, I know I opted in and all, but this is ridiculous!"
People got waaay more emails than they were expecting over the holidays, from companies they did business with in the past.

"Spam Button = Unsubscribe."
Many people clicked their "This is spam" button when they felt like they were getting overwhelmed with email. It’s not the quantity—it’s the quality of email you send. Personal story: I watched my father over the holidays getting tons and tons  (and tons!) of emails and phone calls from an online business he purchased from in the past. Poor guy. He bought presents for all his kids, and then as thanks, he got bombarded by the company with emails, calls, and snail mail. He was totally overwhelmed, and just started hitting "this is spam" for every email they sent.

"Who the %@!%$ are you, and how did you get my email?"
People frequently forget about opting in to your list. So if they get emails "out of the blue" from you, they report it as spam. Use double/confirmed opt-in to 1) set their expectations about your email frequency as soon as they opt-in, and 2) keep a record that they truly opted-in, so you can explain yourself to ISPs if they ask about any spam reports from their users. Double opt-in is so important these days, that we decided to use that method exclusively in MailChimp’s list management functionality.

"How does this help me?"
About half of the respondents felt that the emails they received (from companies they did business with) was "junk mail." Like we always say—if you don’t have something actually worth sending, don’t send. Hmm, time to shamelessly plug MailChimp’s "pay per email" system, which works great for marketers who don’t feel the need to send emails every single week.