Email Advertising Back In Fashion

    November 23, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

For all the incessant attention paid to RSS feeds and Microsoft’s SSE proposal to make them bi-directional, email marketing still has a place, even in the very tactile world of high fashion.

Credit broadband with indirectly helping maintain email advertising as a viable option. Marketers can send rich messages with detailed images of products, and for those who opt-in to a site’s mailing list, those ads can be as welcome as any other legitimate email.

The Wall Street Journal reported how the maturation of email ads has gained them a place in thousands of user’s inboxes. As an example, they detail event planner Lyss Stern’s appreciation for the medium, which compelled her to order the latest Prada shoes based on an email from the designer:

She quickly deletes any that simply tout a big sale. “I only read the ones that tell me what’s new, what’s fabulous and what’s the must-have item right now,” she says.

She does get some that she can’t resist: When Prada sent her an email announcing the arrival of a new style of black flats in stores this fall, she immediately called the Prada store near her and asked the manager to hold a pair of nine-and-a-half’s. “When I saw the email, I knew I had to have them right away,” Ms. Stern recalls.

The article credits retailers with crafting smarter, sophisticated messages, using high-quality photography, and customizing campaigns to target specific buyers based on previous purchases.

Despite the sophistication, the process demonstrates a simple principle: know your audience. Email offers a low cost to advertise to a large number of people, but taking the time to make those messages personally important to recipients makes them effective. The report offered some numbers from Forrester as proof of email’s potency:

On average, consumers open them at a rate of about 33% and “unsubscribe,” or ask to be taken off the mailing list, at an annual rate of 9%, according to a Forrester survey of 137 online retailers. Shoppers “click through” to retail sites at an average rate of 11%, and place an order at an average rate of 4.3%, according to the survey.

What would a 4.3 percent conversion rate be worth to your business?

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.