Email Best Practice

Users are ready and willing to participate in email marketing, but they have high expectations of the quality and quantity of content they receive. Marketers must ask users’ permission before sending out emails and set clear rules of engagement if they want to maximize ROI.

Email marketing well deserves the early enthusiasm it has generated, users are signing up for it in their droves. Marketers themselves have a unique opportunity to reach a broad base of users, and some early efforts have proved successful. However, there is early evidence that cancellation rates will be high for poorly executed campaigns.

Although consumers are increasingly eager to sign up for email marketing, they are just as eager to cancel. Users unsubscribe with a vengeance from online promotion and news-related email services.

Where cancellations are high, users are unequivocal on the reasons: poor content and irrelevant information.

The top reason for users to unsubscribe from email marketing programs is irrelevant content. Fifty-five percent of users state that irrelevant content is the primary reason to cancel email marketing; poor content follows with 32%. Online marketers need to set clear user expectations on content quality and avoid sending content that will be relevant only to a part of their audience.

Email marketing is not online advertising. Email frequency and advertising intensity are the next most important reasons for users to cancel email subscriptions. Marketers must stick to the dispatching frequency they declared at the beginning of the relationship and avoid over-sending in the hope of increasing absolute response. At the same time, users expect some level of advertising but react with cancellations if they think it is getting in the way of content.

Size matters. Online marketers must refrain from sending very long emails, trying to address all the possible interests and needs of the target audience. Twenty-six percent of users have sent the “unsubscribe” reply as a result of having to filter the email body to find relevant content.


Campaigns built on explicit user permission win every time compared with the “spamming” mentality of opt-out email campaigns. Double opt-in, demanding explicit permission plus explicit confirmation, has a positive effect on both acquisition and retention marketing. The response rates for opt-in and double opt-in email campaigns make these the only choice for email-savvy marketers. Opt-out lists are widely available in Europe for business to business communications. These are perfectly legal, and offer an inexpensive way of targeting business contacts.

At present, there are many opt-in and opt-out lists available. For more details contact us via the contact us page on this website.

Just by failing to send a confirmation email, marketers can compromise the future of a healthy database, through increased cancellation rates and lower click-through rates. By asking users what kind of information they are interested in receiving with double opt-in, marketers can preserve and enhance customer relationships and vastly improve the ROI of retention marketing via email.

By assuming user consent in the absence of a specific denial, online marketers will upset users and boost cancellation rates. Lack of explicit user consent will quickly erode a database. Furthermore, because most of the messages will be perceived as irrelevant and intrusive, they have the potential to damage the brands associated with them.


If cancellations represent one problem for email marketers, the next issue is getting more users to sign up in the first place. More than 46% of email users are unwilling to be contacted via email by online marketers. The primary motivations of users for not giving out their email address can be addressed through effective communication on security and privacy.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest reason for users not to reveal their email address to marketers is their fear of potential “virus” contamination or that opening links or attachments could cause their PC to crash. By addressing these issues through clear sender addresses and a “no attachment” policy, marketers can effectively counter the key concerns that hinder email marketing.

Close behind viruses, some 39% of users feel that they receive too many emails. They do not want to open the floodgates further. To effectively address this, email marketers must offer clear frequency options. It is suggested once a month for newsletters and then from “time to time” for promotional emails.

More than 33% of users have privacy at the top of their minds when they refuse contact from email marketers. By asking explicitly for users’ permission to contact them, and clearly stating the privacy policy on the Web site, through telemarketing, and through links on the email, marketers will be able to convince the more reluctant users.

41% of users consider email a great way to find out about new products, 36% read most of the promotional emails they receive, and 9% find the information they received so valuable that they decide to forward the emails to a colleague.