Drop in Email Marketing Performance Among British Retailers

    April 3, 2009
    WebProNews Staff

If there’s ever been a time when email marketers need to be on the ball with their communication, it’s right now. Consumers are harder to part from their cash and the competition for sales is hotter than ever. However, dotMailer’s annual benchmark study, “Hitting the Mark”, shows that the overall email marketing performance of the U.K.’s leading retailers is actually down on last year.

Dotmailer Email communications from Britain’s largest high street retailers were analyzed by dotMailer to see which company delivered the most effective campaign. Despite increased competition for share of consumers’ dwindling spending power, overall performance was disappointingly down on last year’s findings.

Marks and Spencer and jewelers H.Samuel jointly topped the leader board for the first time with scores of 81, moving up from fourth and 15th positions respectively. In second place came Ethical Superstore followed by Argos. Last year’s top placed store Topshop ranks joint fourth with John Lewis this year with 78 points.

Somerfield and H&M jointly replace Lidl at the bottom of the dotMailer’s leader board with just 48 points, followed by Schuh and Tog24.

The study revealed that basic elements of the retailers’ campaigns were letting them down. Incredibly, nearly three-quarters failed to personalize messages in the opening salutation, and over half neglected to incorporate any viral or forwarding element. Amazingly, just two retailers out of the 41 analyzed included social network links.  Enabling emails to be shared with a recipient’s network of friends not only increases already low forwarding-rates, but can help boost mailing lists as more people are exposed to a campaign.

Perhaps more crucially, some email messages were prone to be mistaken for spam, reflected in the overall low average scores in the technical category of ‘Renderability and Coding’. According to the study, as many as 19% of email recipients will assume email that hasn’t rendered properly in their inbox to be spam, making it essential that the coding and design of templates be tested in all relevant email clients.

“In the current economic climate and with marketing budgets being tightened, companies can reap dividends by focusing on their email marketing strategies and execution,” said Tink Taylor, dotMailer’s Business Development Director.

“Email offers a highly cost-effective, trackable and accountable way of communicating with prospects and customers. Spending more time investing in email best practice will reward retailers both now and long after the recession is over.”

All the areas highlighted above can easily be improved upon, resulting in better deliverability, open rates, click-throughs and, ultimately, improved ROI. If the recipient of an email can easily answer the following three questions, concludes the report, then the email marketer’s battle is already half won:

– Who is it from?

– What’s in it for me?

– What do I do next?

I’d like to add a fourth question:

Who else do I know that would benefit from this?

dotMailer’s full report can be downloaded for free (registration required).