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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New revealing study ties image suppression to lost ROI - will this get attention?

A new study provides startling evidence about the need for a strategic optimization of most email marketing programs, and at the very least, the creative treatment of email messages.

The eec's Retail Email Rendering Benchmark Study provides more evidence that image suppression is wreaking major havoc in the inbox and consequently, in the cash register.

Jeanniey Mullen, the founder and executive chairwoman of the Email Experience Council, offered this statement "Email marketing currently generates an estimated return on investment of $48.29 for every dollar spent on it, according to the Direct Marketing Association. We conservatively estimate that if all marketers optimized their emails for image blocking, email’s ROI would jump to $52.69. Not paying attention to rendering impacts revenue directly.”

This is an important connection and one that should be embedded into the minds of every email marketer. This is not an isolated creative or technical issue to be delegated to IT or the design team. It is one that must be taken on by the strategic leaders of each and every email marketing program.

Want more evidence? A recent study by SubscriberMail found that optimizing to ensure effective messaging even when images are off delivered an 87 percent increase in clicks.

Images blocked = email messaging/offers/content not shown = sales lost, loyalty eroded, leads missed, site traffic decreased.

Sadly, I think this message gets lost since email is still often perceived as a niche marketing channel. If someone's Facebook page or Second Life island only showed up to half of its visitors, do you think that would get these marketers attention?

Other key findings from the study include:
• 14% of retailers compose their navigation bars with HTML text rather than images.
• 3% of retailers used HTML call-to-action buttons rather than images.
• 88% of retailers include a “click to view” link in their preheader text.
• 63% of retailers include whitelisting instructions in their preheader text.
• The emails from only 21% of retailers displayed meaningful snippet text.

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