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Drapers comment: Is your email marketing letting you down?

Today’s consumer is rarely without their mobile phone in their pocket, so email marketing is potentially a great way to catch them on the move and lure them into your physical store or onto your digital shop. But is your email marketing up to the challenge?

A new study by multichannel consultancy Practicology suggests that in many cases, it may not be. The Practicology Communications Report 2015 tracked the email marketing programmes of 100 leading businesses, with some surprising findings - the first being that 91 of the businesses allow users to sign up for email notifications without having to register for an account.

Practicology’s head of data and analytics Will Dymott said “It seems perverse that so many brands would ask for a customer’s email address and then do nothing with it”, and added that a “well-constructed welcome programme, followed up with a grow-and-nurture programme which begins to tailor email content, should deliver you first-time buyers and convert them into more valuable repeat customers in time”.

The report also found that 15% never contacted users again after signing up, including well known high street names such as Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, Jigsaw, and Tesco’s F&F. Only 67% sent a welcome email, of which only 63% sent on the sign-up day.

The study found that 7% email on a daily basis, something Practicology advises against unless a retailer has ‘genuine, engaging content to warrant such regular communication’. This concern also mirrors the findings in Drapers Multichannel Report set to be published online on September 26, where we survey a nationally representative pool of 2000 UK consumers. I won’t reveal the figures just yet, but the vast majority of consumers do not want to be contacted daily, indicating that doing so could have a damaging effect on a retailer.

The Practicology survey also found that 76% sent emails with links to their social media accounts included. Only 48% have responsive emails. A collection of retailers including Sports Direct, Fat Face, Boohoo.com, Karen Millen, Bonmarche and Boden have responsive websites but not responsive emails.

Looking at key dates in the calendar only 47% acknowledged at least one the following that took place during the six months: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Wimbledon.

The results of the report show that retailers are a long way from effectively targeting their customers through email marketing. Although many consumers are reluctant to hand over personal details in the first place, they can be convinced if retailers are able to clearly communicate the benefits.

However, if there is no pay off in the form of well-targeted, personalised email marketing content, then why should the consumer give? Clearly there is a lot of work to be done in this respect, and a great deal of opportunity to leverage.

To find out more about how consumers are shopping across channels be sure to check out our September 26 Multichannel Report 2015, which will be published on www.drapersonline.com/special-reports. You can also watch our recent webcast on personalised marketing.

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