Email Marketing Blocked and Flagged as Spam increases by 24%

When the world’s leading email certification and reputation monitoring company Return Path tell us that more marketing emails are being blocked and hitting the junk box now than previous years we should stand up and listen.

Inbox delivery rates have been steady at approximately 80% with around 1 in 5 emails hitting the junk folder. However; the research shows that a 6% drop in the back end of 2011 saw these figures change to 76.5%. That’s 1 in 4 emails finding their way in to the dreaded ‘File 13’.

Email Deliverability ChartBut is this a true reflection of current statistics or is it simply a ‘blip’ in the marketplace due to the downturn in the economy? In the UK, sales on the run up to Christmas 2011 were hit dramatically as people tried to save money wherever they could. Moral was low and family budgets were being tightened. It was only on the few days before Christmas that consumers decided to throw caution to the wind and go on a massive spending spree that made all the retailers smile once again.

Recession creates emotion, and emotion affects sales.

When we hit recession and businesses start to lose profits they need to find new ways of engaging with their customers. They turn to their marketing departments/agencies and say “What can we do to generate new business?” One of the answers is to either start up or ramp up their email marketing campaigns.

They look at the data they have collected over the past 5 years that they have done very little with and think “Hmm, we have 5000 people on our email list. Let’s do something with it. We’ll send them an email with 20% off!”

Suddenly there are 10s of 1000s of business all over the world sending out emails to people who have probably forgotten they subscribed to anything in the first place. Also we have to remember that as the amount of marketing increases, consumers, quite frankly, get pissed off because they’re worried about money and can’t afford to spend it an all these nice things that we repeatedly show them. Remember Jim Bowen on Bullseye? Take a look at what you could have won! As a result, spam reports increase and ISPs have to act.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not moaning about businesses here. I love email marketing and its part of my job. However, I think recipients should be educated to unsubscribe rather than report.

Although the Return Path report does a superb job in explaining these figures,  download it here. I would wait to see how they change as we move forward and away from recession before making any big changes in my marketing plan. The summer is fast approaching and this is a time when people are more receptive to marketing because of the good weather, holiday spirit, time off work etc.

Ultimately, the best way to see the impact of your email marketing campaigns is by looking at your statistics and make decisions based on those facts.

Educating our email subscribers

Now, I might cause a little upset here because I know we want to make it easy for people to subscribe to our emails. However, rather than simply having one input field and a submit button on the homepage to capture email addresses, perhaps having the customer visit a subscribe page would be a better option. This way we can explain the impacts that spam reporting has on our businesses.

Unless there is some massively expensive global TV and Radio ad that explains this, is it not the responsibility of professional marketers to educate our customers?

Perhaps at the top of every email we send it should read;

Can’t see this email? View it Online
You subscribed to this email on (date) with (email address)at (website)
Only report this if your sure it’s spam. You can simply unsubscribe below.
Otherwise please enjoy this email.

You get the drift here I’m sure.

Education has to start somewhere and in my opinion it starts with us, the marketers. So I want you to stop moaning about it and get MAD.

I want you to get up, I want you to get up right now and walk to your window. I want you to open it as wide as you can and shout at the top of your voice “I’m as Mad as Hell God damn it. My emails should be delivered, they have real value, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Damn, I’ve had a little too much caffeine this morning!

Director at Flabagast. Martin has over 10 years experience working in the digital marketing industry and has had the pleasure to work with some of the most well known household brands in the UK.

Posted in Blog, Email Marketing

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