The hope of saving money remains consumers’ top incentive for subscribing to emails from brands, as confirmed by new research by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Significantly fewer consumers are subscribing to branded emails, with those signed up to receiving emails from 11 or more brands down from 43% in 2013 to 34% in 2013. This leaves marketers with the challenge of ensuring that their email content strategy best suits the motivations of subscribers, and the value of subscribing is comprehensively communicated. With a view to effective communication, a Subject Line Analysis Report (2013) by Adestra reveals that including the terms “% off” may be more successful than using the terms “half price” or “save”.

The DMA recommends testing alternative subject lines, such as “50% off” vs. “half price”, to assess their efficacy in convincing consumers to click. A useful technique for this purpose is online testing via pay-per-click ads on search engines.

The report also signals the demerits of incorporating too many money-off campaigns within email marketing strategies, as this can lead to changes in the behaviour of full-price customers who eventually become avid discount seekers, and compromises long-term profitability for a short-term enhancement in sales. Moreover, increasing the frequency of discounts and offers mitigates the urgency effect of more time-restricted offers, such as flash sales.

As per the DMA’s research, other forms of popular content includes product news and user guides, which have the benefit of creating stronger brand relationships and compete in a different category of emails to those containing money-off bargains. Consumers consider online retailers to be performing better within the email marketing space compared to 2012, and rated Tesco and Argos as the finest brands within the online retail category.

Although desktops/laptops are the primary device for email, 57% of respondents access their email on their mobile phones. In light of the aforementioned impact of discount-related content and subject lines, the DMA advises brands to optimise landing pages and support other mobile activities such as social sharing to ensure the out-of-email experience remains seamless and positive.

With respect to this year’s Email Tracking Report, James Bunting, chair of the DMA’s Email Marketing Council Benchmarking Hub and Managing Director at Communicator, observed:

“… Marketers are continuing to do a good job of making their emails valuable. But what’s interesting is that it also points to changing trends that marketers need to react to. For example, there’s a move towards consumers actually reading email on mobile devices.  The challenge for marketers is going to be to facilitate the next natural step: interaction with emails and purchasing.”

View the Email tracking study 2013 findings as an infographic below .

Email-tracking-report-2013-infographic copy

Muniba Tariq

Muniba Tariq