Women are only half as likely to read the email newsletters they receive and are more prone to cancel their subscriptions, according to research by Emailvision*.

A survey by the specialists in on-demand software for email marketing found that only one in ten women open and read their digital newsletters compared to one in five men
The findings also showed that in the past 12-months more women (17%) than men (7%) had cancelled subscriptions to digital newsletters. Women cited cluttered inboxes as the main reason for opting out, while men found that content simply wasn’t relevant enough.

However, nine out of ten said they wanted to receive more personalised newsletters from their favourite brands incorporating individually tailored information. The more popular ones were tailored with at least a name and contained relevant discounts or offers.

“Consumers are spending much more cautiously in light of the recession and so brands must be smarter in the way they manage customer relations,” commented Nick Gold, UK managing director, Emailvision. “Personalised content is the key to more targeted interaction, and will not only help build trust between customer and brand, but also improve the opportunities to cross-sell products or services.”

As a result of the findings and drawing on experiences from within their UK client base, Emailvision has outlined five basic steps to getting it right with gender targeting in email marketing:

1. Know the gender of your database – working out the gender might not be too difficult on your database if you have the ‘title’ field filled in and can differentiate between Mr and Mrs. But what about Doctor? Or if the field is left blank?

2. Start from the beginning - do you have a mandatory gender field when customers sign up to your newsletters? This will save time and effort when you get to the stage of gender targeting.

3. Show your male recipients male product lines and female recipients female product lines – although it sounds simple enough, a more visually relevant email will have higher response rates. Product images can be pulled from website CRM systems as dynamic content.

4. Some e-tailers will often default to the female version of the email if the gender of the recipient isn’t known – however, having an action link at the top of the email with ‘Click here to view the male version’ to then swap to the male version of the email will raise response rates and show a much more personalised approach. Plus, this type of link will then automatically update the database for future campaigns.

5. To really get it right with a personalised gender specific email, you need to do your research – one client surveyed their entire database to get real feedback of how their customers would like to be addressed and targeted – open rates soared when they implemented the popular and more formal ‘Dear Mr/Mrs Last Name’ rather than the ‘To Firstname’ that had been historically used.

*Survey based on responses from 300 consumers in the UK, April 2009

Published on: 10:38AM on 24th April 2009