This Is Not A Regular Post — It’s A Welcome Post

My daily email from the Center For Media Research informed me that:

The Email Experience Council and the Direct Marketing Association announced the release of its second annual Retail Welcome Email Subscription Benchmark Study, examining the welcome emails of 118 top online retailers.

The report says that in 2006, only 66% of major online retailers sent welcome emails. With 72% sending welcome emails this year, it appears that more retailers are recognizing the value of these critical emails.

The DMA’s EVP and COO, says “… welcome emails have significantly higher open rates than regular emails…”

My take: What’s a regular email? Did he mean a marketing (sales-oriented) email? If so, then DUH! No big surprise there. If not, then what did he mean?

Let’s see here. When I think about the “regular” emails I get, there’s that daily email from my boss berating me about my substandard work performance. Come to think about it, I don’t open those very often. Maybe if he sent me “welcome” emails I would read them.

And why is it “only” 66%? I don’t have a PhD in math, but I think that 66% = two-thirds. I’m pretty sure that’s well over a majority.

Did it occur to the EEC/DMA that perhaps online retailers were doing a better job of capturing customer email addresses? Or that customers were more willing to provide email addresses? And that these are the reasons welcome emails are on the rise (in contrast to “more retailers recognizing the value”)?

And have they heard about a statistical concept called margin of error? With 118 respondents, the margin of error in the study is about 7 percentage points. Which means that, at a 90% confidence level, this year’s result falls between 65% and 79%. In other words, potentially unchanged from last year.

Why is this so research-worthy? Must be a group of vendors competing in some newly-formed “welcome email” space.

Welcome to my blog!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

2 thoughts on “This Is Not A Regular Post — It’s A Welcome Post

  1. As the author of the study, let me clear a few things up. First, within the context of this study, “regular” emails are the emails that you’ve signed up for, every email that follows the welcome email (if one is sent).

    Second, 66% is not always good. If your car brakes worked only 66% of the time, I think we could all agree that that’s awful. And in the email marketing world, if unsubscribes worked only 66% of the time that would be awful (as well as unlawful). Likewise, only 66% of major retailers using welcome emails is awful.

    Third, regarding the margin of error, this is not a survey of random people that elected to partipate. It’s a look at a limited universe of major retailers that changed very little from the one used in the 2006 edition of the study. So the margin of error is very small.

    And finally, there is no “welcome email” space that vendors compete in. This study doesn’t promote any technology whatsoever. It promotes a best practice that thankfully is seeing higher adoption rates.

    Email marketing can be very confusing, which is why the Email Experience Council takes the time to write reports like this as well as articles for MediaPost, ClickZ and other publishers, and lots of posts for its blogs. I hope this clears up the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the importance of data like this. Thanks.

  2. Chad — Thanks for your comment. A couple of points in reply back:

    1) You’re right — “email marketing can be very confusing”. Labeling an email “regular” vs. “welcome” isn’t exactly helping the situation, though. Someone might opt-in to receive emails from a firm, but that hardly means that every email sent after opting-in falls under one category, especially one called “regular”. Personally, I’ve received “welcome” emails (first one, as you call it), that tried to up-sell and cross-sell me. Was that REALLY a welcome email? I don’t think so.

    2) You’re absolutely right about 66% not always being good. However, I wouldn’t want my brakes to work ONLY 72% of the time, either. I think you might have missed my point there: That the reason for the increase was not because emailers increasingly saw the importance of welcome emails, but because they were increasingly ABLE to send those emails.

    3) My comment about the “welcome email space” was a joke.

Comments are closed.