Email marketing success rates could be so much better

E-mail as a direct marketing channel is on the up. Companies concerned about their environmental footprint are switching their resources to a mode of communication where existing and prospective customers are increasingly receptive, the inbox.

Russell Parsons

Recent research by Experian Marketing Services found email volumes increased 5.4 per cent year on year in 2012 driven by double digit increases in email volume by brands in the travel, consumer goods and publishing industries.

Not only are they using it more, there is also evidence companies are getting more from email than ever before. Separate research by Marketing Week’s sister title econsultancy found that of the 1,300 marketers it polled earlier this year, 66 per cent rated return on investment as “good” or “excellent”

Despite the healthy report card the same research found there is residual frustration marketers are missing several tricks. Concerns centred on an inability to exploit the opportunities mobile offers email marketers and a failure to fully optimise.

It is, of course, right and proper that marketers should continually strive for excellence particularly in a relatively new channel where people are still finding their feet.

The remedy to their ire could be within their reach. To date, the theory goes that consumers are more receptive to emails during business hours when minds are focussed and the rhythm of life will not interrupted by brands intruding and daring to market their products and services.

The Experian research referenced above goes some way to disproving this theory, however. But for Tuesday, response rates were highest at weekends when volumes were at their lowest. Furthermore, response rates were at their highest in the evenings from 8pm and midnight.

Response times and rates, of course, do not necessarily correlate with when emails are sent – recipients could just be mentally filing messages to deal with later. The results of the survey should, however, provide plenty of food for thought.

With email volumes rising, from brands and otherwise, there is an ever evolving need to adapt strategy to try and get your brand’s messages heard. With the increased use of mobile internet and proliferation of smartphones, adapting the timing of your messages might be best way to deal with the frustration you could do better.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here