Even as consumers  complain about being overwhelmed by unwanted e-mails, marketers plan to continue using this form of promotion. According to Experian Marketing Services, e-mail marketing will still play an important role in most marketers’ media mix. But shoppers are becoming more savvy about which e-mails they will open, so marketers are trying new methods to induce potential customers to take that all-important first step in a making a purchase.

Consumer behavior with respect to e-mail promotions occurs as follows:

  • E-mails that contain promotions or coupons are usually opened: 53% of online adults
  • E-mails that contain promotions or coupons are usually forwarded: 30% of online adults
  • The industries with the highest rate of e-mail referred traffic were shopping and classifieds: 9%
  • The industry will the lowest rate of e-mail referred traffic was automotive

To get consumers to open an e-mail, marketers turn again and again to a short list of favorite words placed in the subject line. These include:

  • You/your 20.9%
  • Free 12.4%
  • % off 9.4%
  • $ 9.2%
  • Ship 9.1%
  • Off 8.8%

Experian analysts also note that few marketers are using the terms free and ship in the subject line because more consumers expect to get free shipping these days. The same analysts also remind readers that marketers are not only looking to acquire new customers with e-mail campaigns. At least 85% of these businesses also expect to retain customers and hope e-mail prompted sales from these customers will generate growth.

[Source: The 2010 digital marketer, Experian Marketing Services, 2010]