Whatever you do, don’t forget to write. A variety of new ways to reach out to consumers have popped up online, but a new study has found that targeted email marketing is leading to more response from consumers during the recession.

US Email Trends and Benchmarks found that 53% of
consumers made an offline purchase because of an email message in North America. In Europe, 37% made offline purchases as a result of email messaging. Meanwhile, 59% of consumers polled in the Asia Pacific region made an offline purchase because of an email.

Those numbers are getting higher in the recession and point to an important fact: marketers should be reaching out to willing, engaged consumers.

Consumers who opt in for email marketing messages are open to and curious about brand messaging. While batch-and-blast messaging may seem appealing, being sensitive to consumer preferences can pay off in spades, even if those messages go out to fewer people.

According to the study, open rates increased 11% in the first quarter of 2009. Click through rates increased 4$ to reach 6.1%. Also, a number of sectors have benefitted from increased click through rates, open rates and deliverability increased for the
CPG, namely pharmaceuticals, business products and retail.

The study attributes the increase in offline actions to a variety of factors, but mostly marketers using savvy tactics like triggers, transactions, preferences, segmentation and other advanced analytics incorporated within their messaging.

The key, however, is asking consumers what messaging they’d like to receive. And listening. From the study:

“To effectively execute a permission-based email marketing program, it is important to incorporate consumer preferences such as frequency of communication, channel of communication and format as well as behavioral and other consumer data.”

With the information delivery online only increasing, consumers have limited tolerance for irrelevant, sweeping messages from brands. Research like this shows that marketers can only benefit from listening to consumers.

But the study found that they’re still not testing their messaging. According to Use of Testing in Email Marketing, 33% of marketers who don’t test said they didn’t know how to do so. 27% said they don’t have the time. Just over 10% reported that their marketing platform doesn’t have testing capabilities.

Of those who are testing, 36% test the timing of messages
to determine which time of day and/or frequency leads to more
click-throughs and conversions. About half (49%)
found that messages delivered between 10AM and 2PM convert more often.