Consumers Want Email from Brands — Here’s How to Do It Well

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Are consumers completely over email marketing? Only certain types of it.

New research from Adobe found that while consumers are definitely sick of hard-sell messages that aren’t informative enough or are just irrelevant, they’d still rather get email offers from brands over direct mail, mobile apps, or even social media.

Of the 1,007 people Adobe surveyed, 61 percent cited email as their preferred way to receive offers from brands, a 24-percent increase over last year. However, 40 percent of those surveyed said they wanted those emails to be less promotional and more informative, or better yet, tailored toward their interests.

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Here are some key takeaways from the study to integrate into your own email marketing program:

Personalize your email.

Consumers have little patience for irrelevant email. Thirty-four percent of respondents in the study reported frustrations when brands recommended items that did not match their interests.

So make sure you’re segmenting your email lists so you can send tailored messages about offers to certain subsets of customers. Trigger campaigns can also be effective, recommending products or offers to customers based on their behavior on your website.

Send valuable content.

It’s not just offers that consumers want via email, it’s informative content. Leverage your expertise to send email (you can link to blog posts) about relevant topics in your industry. If you’re stuck on what to write about, look to the seasons — you can always use a change in the weather or a holiday as a hook.

Don’t send too much email.

Constantly blasting your customers with email is just going to land you a bunch of unsubscribes. Fifty percent of consumers cite getting too many emails as the most annoying aspect of email from brands.

Stay on customers’ good side by only sending email when you have something juicy, like a killer (personalized) promotion or a rich, informative piece of relevant content. Not only will that combat brand fatigue, it’ll make your email more effective.

Audit your design.

Most people now open email on their phone. Your email template design should be tailored toward that experience. Tons of images, for example, are not great—they take way too long to load. In fact, 20 percent of those surveyed reported being frustrated by having to wait for images to load.

Long-winded email isn’t ideal, either. It’s better to quickly get to the point and the “call to action” button. Nineteen percent of consumers are unhappy about having to scroll too much in email.

Experiment with the timing of your sends.

Interestingly, the Adobe study found that more people are unplugging when they’re not in the office — 20 percent of those surveyed reported that they “never check” their email outside of their regular office hours, a 43-percent increase year over year. That means those early morning and evening email sends may not be as effective.

Experiment with sending campaigns at different times of day, including during work hours, to see which get the most engagement. Your email marketing software should have data on open and clickthrough rates based on each campaign that you can analyze to tweak your delivery strategy.

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