You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. And when
it comes to email, you only have a couple of seconds to make a good

That’s according to Litmus, a provider of email marketing and analytics
solutions. Using its Email Analytics service, it looked at “4 million
opens across hundreds of different email campaigns
” and what it found
should both frighten and encourage email marketers.

The bad news: over half (51%) of the emails that were opened were deleted within two seconds. That’s obviously not entirely surprising. It has long been known that individuals make rapid judgments about websites when they load, and it would be foolish to expect that email is any different. But quantifying just how short a time span email marketers have to get recipients interested adds some perspective.

There is, however, some good news for email marketers: good email campaigns can deliver impressive results. For instance, in “the best email campaigns” Litmus tracked, 77% of the recipients who opened the email read it in its entirety. In a coupon-based campaign, 4% of opens produced prints, and in another campaign, 9% of the recipients forwarded the email to others.

Given how important email is to many businesses, and the role it can play in driving sales, Litmus’ data is a good reminder compelling creative and copy should are a priority in the inbox, just as they are on the web. Additionally, I would also argue that given the fleeting opportunity email marketers have to make an impression, techniques such as segmentation and multivariate testing will in many cases be prerequisites for successful email marketing.

Photo credit: Fletcher Prince via Flickr.