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Another survey reveals that many companies are failing to follow email best practice, with 60% of firms missing a trick by not sending welcome messages to subscribers.

According to a new study by ReturnPath, 30% of these companies compounded the problem by failing to make contact with customers for more than a month after they signed up.

A welcome message sent soon after opting in can help to remind people why they signed up, and keep your company's name in their minds.

Conversely, by failing to send these messages and leaving a delay of a month or more before contact, recipients are likely to forget they signed up and may ignore the email or unsubscribe.

The study looked at some well known brands and companies in the US, many of which should know better. These included BMW, Hertz, Nike and others.

Personalisation

The study also found that, despite gathering more than just names and email addresses when signing customers up, marketers were failing to use this information to personalise emails to customers.

Personalisation has a positive effect on open and click rates, a previous study found that average open and click rates for personalised emails were 18% and 5.02% respectively, compared with 15.86% and 2.09% for emails without personalisation.

However, while 70% of companies gathered more than just addresses, three quarters failed to use this information in their email marketing.

This is no surprise; Silverpop studied 100 US and 50 UK retailers last year, finding that a third of retailers don't bother sending confirmation/courtesy emails.

These are email marketing basic, so it seems that a lot of companies need to raise their game. On the other hand, as Mark Brownlow points out, this increases the opportunities for firms that are following best practice.

Related research:
Email Marketing Briefing - March 2008
Email Marketing Industry Census 2008

Related stories:
Three practical tips for improving your email marketing

Graham Charlton

Published 5 June, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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