Atlanta, Oct. 4, 2005 -- Inboxes are littered with emails, and recipients generally only give messages a cursory glance before deciding whether to read or delete the message. Given the challenge of online selling, it's surprising to see some retailers implementing campaign practices that are less than optimal.
Analysts at Silverpop, an email service provider, spent the spring and summer pouring over emails from 175 major retailers. The findings are included in Silverpop's "2005 Retail Email Marketing Study."
"There were a few, and thankfully a very few, companies that implemented practices generally considered to be less that optimal," said Elaine O'Gorman, vice president of strategy for Silverpop. "For example, most marketers are well aware of the importance of strong branding. But not all of the emails reviewed in the study employed fairly basic branding practices."
Where you place key elements of a promotional message can mean the difference between success and failure. Silverpop's Retail Email Study found that while most campaigns utilized best practices to attract attention, a surprising percentage of marketers could do much more to improve messaging and creative.
For example, clear and consistent branding is important, O'Gorman said. It starts with the "from" field, where a brand name can go a long way to ensuring a message is opened. Yet eight percent of the emails reviewed in Silverpop's study showed an email address in the "from" field instead of text showing the company's name. Worse yet, nine percent of the emails studied didn't position the company logo in a prominent, above-the-fold position. A few even buried the logo at the bottom.
"Sometimes you see email designs and you just have to think the retailer is using the same art department that creates its print ads to design emails," O'Gorman said. "Logos at the bottom right hand corner of a print ad can work. That position in an email, requiring the recipient to scroll down, is not conducive to solid branding."
Consistent layout designs can also reinforce branding. The Silverpop study found most retailers (43 percent) used a postcard style format, while 17 percent added columns or rows below a single pane of images, and 14 percent used a long column of product photos and text. Surprisingly, of the companies that sent more than one email during the course of a month, 56 percent changed formats.
"While there's a tremendous amount of science and technology powering the deliver of sophisticated, targeted emails, the creative elements of persuasive campaigns are ultimately what separates average return of investments from highly successful email campaigns," O'Gorman said.
To receive a copy of Silverpop's "2005 Retail Email Marketing Study," visit www.silverpop.com.
Silverpop is a leading provider of permission-based email marketing solutions, strategy and services, with offices throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom. Ranked as having the highest business value and richest feature set by JupiterResearch in 2004, Silverpop was also acknowledged by Forrester Research as a "strong performer" that "stands out with an interface that is quite easy to use while providing strong functionality." Silverpop helps companies cultivate and maintain long-term strategic relationships with customers and partners by maximizing the potential of email as a relationship tool. Its flexible service model allows marketers to choose from full service or a hosted email platform and easily move between the two, making it an ideal solution for any stage of an email program. Silverpop provides email marketing to industry leading companies including The Bombay Company, British Sky Broadcasting, Weather.com and more. Best practices and white papers are available at www.silverpop.com.