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SilverPop-Trust-Relevance-Email-Marketing-July2014Consumers only have 4-5 brands that they always open emails from, details Silverpop [download page] in a study based on a survey of close to 4,000 consumers in the US, UK and Germany. With respondents averaging online purchases from only 3 brands every 3 months, it’s especially important for brands to break through the clutter and establish a relationship with consumers. According to the study, trust and relevance are the two key factors consumers consider when they receive email correspondence from brands.

In other words, brands are most likely to have success with consumers if they are trusted by them and send emails that are relevant to their interests:

  • 71% of respondents reported being more likely to make a purchase if an emails was tailored to their likes and preferences;
  • 64% of respondents (including 70% in the US) would open an email simply because they trusted the brand;
  • 58% of respondents would not open an email if they thought it irrelevant to them or their needs; and
  • 40% would not open an email if the subject line wasn’t relevant to them.

Aside from those two key issues, the oft-cited issue of email frequency also makes an appearance, with one-third of respondents saying that they would not open emails from brands if they received too much correspondence from them.

How important is it for brands to get it right? Three-quarters of respondents said that a brand’s email approach has stopped them from buying from the brand.

The study’s findings regarding relevance and brand familiarity largely support results from past research (and new research from the IAB concerning the success of in-feed sponsored content). A Responsys study released earlier this year found, for example, that US adults were most likely to have “broken up” with a brand due to its having continuously sent irrelevant content on multiple channels. An earlier study from Janrain indicated that almost all consumers had received information or promotions not relevant to them, with 9 in 10 developing an unfavorable attitude to the company in response or taking some kind of action to limit the messaging. (Email marketers, to be fair, are quite cognizant of the importance of relevant messaging.)

Meanwhile, multiple pieces of research (such as this one and this one) have found sender familiarity to be the key driver of email opens.

The Silverpop study also emphasizes the power of email, finding that 17% of respondents (and 21% in the US) claim to purchase directly from a brand email once a month. Moreover, just 1 in 7 don’t see email as an important facet of the communications they received from their favorite brands, and two-thirds don’t want to receive any information via any other channel. Email’s influence certainly doesn’t seem to be under-appreciated: a recent Gigaom Research survey of US digital marketers found them rating email as their most effective digital tactic, while an earlier Econsultancy study of email marketers around the world revealed that email was the channel to which they attributed the highest ROI.

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