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Report says fewer e-mails are opened by consumers

Many dealers are using e-mail as a marketing tool, and appropriately so. But as much as people love e-mail these days, there is evidence they’re cutting down on the number of e-mails they will actually click on.

So says a report in the current issue of emarketer.com. A study conducted earlier this month by MailerMailer indicates fewer consumers worldwide are opening marketing e-mails. The study found that the average marketing e-mail open rate fell to 13.2 percent in the first half of 2008, compared with 16.11 percent in the first half of 2007. Click-through rates also fell, from 3.18 percent in the first half of 2007 to 2.73 percent in the first half of this year.

The study revealed that some industries had higher open rates for their marketing e-mail than others. For example, banking/finance, religious/spiritual, government and telecommunications are having more success than others. While boating was not a study category, I suspect boating related e-mails may also do better than the study general figures because boating recipients may have a higher interest level.

Nevertheless, to get your e-mails opened at a better rate, several tips come from previous studies. For example, shorter subject lines perform better than long ones. Specifically, subject lines of less than 35 characters yielded an average open rate of 19.6 percent and a 3.1 percent average click rate. The open rate for e-mails with subject lines of more than 35 characters dipped to an average of 14.8 percent, and the average click rates went down to 1.9 percent. So, short is sweet.

Despite the possibility that our target audience may be shying away from opening obvious marketing e-mails, dealers should still highly value this form of marketing. It remains a cheap, fast way to stay in touch with your customers, and in today’s tough economy, staying in touch with customers can be critical to customer retention. Moreover, other studies have demonstrated e-mail definitely produces results, second only to paid searches when it comes to driving volume, according to a 2008 Radar Research survey.

In view of that, keep those e-mails going out to your customers. If you haven’t begun using e-mail as a marketing tool, it’s time. But make each e-mail as interesting, exciting and informative as possible, and you can expect many of your customers will actually look forward to opening them when they arrive.

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