Does Permission E-Mail Marketing Push Consumers to Purchase?

According to a recently-published survey of US e-mail users, 75% prefer receiving communication from online merchants via permission-based e-mail whereas just 25% prefer postal mail communication. The survey, conducted by Beyond Interactive and Greenfield Online and commissioned by DoubleClick, also determined that 69% of men prefer permission e-mails from online merchants with subject lines that communicate news or compelling information while 64% of women prefer discount offers presented in the subject line.

In September 2002, 1,000 US consumers who use e-mail one or more times per week were surveyed. Though most respondents (69%) have made a purchase online as a result of receiving a permission e-mail from an e-retailer, 59% also say they have bought offline and 39% say they have made a catalog purchase from a permission e-mail.

Of course e-mail users’ main concern regarding their e-mail inboxes is unsolicited e-mail, or ‘spam.’ DoubleClick reports that 90% of respondents are concerned with the amount of spam they receive, compared to just 28% who say the same about the volume of permission-based e-mails they receive.

Data from a May 2002 Opt-in news survey of 200 US media buyers paints a different picture than the DoubleClick findings. Opt-in news reports that 86% of media buyers say the conversion rate for a B2C e-mail to purchase is between only 1% and 5%, and just 12% of media buyers say it is between 6% and 10%.

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