A study into the email marketing strategies of the UK’s top retailers has revealed that many are struggling to get a grip on the sort of advanced techniques that could really elevate their business.
The report from digital marketing agency dotMailer suggests that despite ticking the boxes when it comes to the basics of email marketing, UK retailers are still failing to get the best results from email by neglecting techniques such as social media bookmarking links, personalisation and post-sales marketing.
Headline figures from the report show that the average email effectiveness has plummeted 8% since the last study was published a year ago.
Only 34% of email marketing subject lines are enticing and just 11% demonstrate evidence of personalisation in the email itself, according to the report.
New Look and Boots topped the 2011 study, while the bottom of the table featured brands such as Littlewoods and The Fragrance Shop.
Major lingerie suppliers in the list included M&S (3rd), Debenhams (13th) and John Lewis (20th).
Only19% of retailers used best practice HTML coding in their emails and only 43% of these rendered properly in email clients when images were turned off.
Retailers also scored low marks for subject lines, with only 34% enticing the recipient to open the message and only 26% including social media bookmarking links.
“For two years in a row, there has been no obvious improvement made by the retailers assessed, which is disappointing given some of the simple steps that can be taken to boost the effectiveness of email marketing,” said Tink Taylor, managing director at dotMailer and a member of the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Marketing Council.
Taylor said that although email offers a highly cost-effective and accountable way of communicating with prospects, many retailers continue to get it wrong, and added that the report demonstrated a lack of integration between email and social media, despite the latter’s growing popularity and influence.
It wasn’t all bad news however, with some positive trends continuing to shine through.
Marketers are generally all using ‘friendly from’ addresses (89%), for example. In addition, nearly every email included a strong call to action (91%) and the majority also rendered well on a range of mobile devices (85%).