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Hal Licino

Subscribers' Views of Email Relevance Varies by Age, Income

Feb 28 2011, 04:41 PM by

Relevance is the heart and soul of email marketing, and newsletter content that fails to strike interest in its audience will quickly find itself on the unsubscribe pile. Experienced email marketers are well aware that in order to maintain a burgeoning subscription list it is imperative to provide informative, entertaining and alluring content that incentivizes subscribers to engage with the brand. A study just published in the United Kingdom shows how significant relevant email content is to the recipient and the surprisingly elevated level of dissatisfaction consumers have with the lack of relevance in many of the email messages they receive.
Wealthy Individuals Most Likely to Grant Permission
A recent study by marketing group GI Insight discovered that fully 73% of consumers provided permission to the brands they had previously purchased products or services from. Separating these findings by age shows that the highest group to give permission is the 45 to 54 year old strata at 80%, with the lowest being the 18 to 24 year olds at 67%. When the data is correlated to household income, individuals in the over $200,000 per year group were the most likely to grant permission at an almost saturating 89%, while paradoxically, people earning between $150,000 and $200,000 were the least likely to give permission at 68%.
Discerning Tastes a Key Factor to Consider
The nearly nine out of every ten high income individuals who habitually grant permission do so to specific brands that they have a specific interest in. The email addresses belonging to high income users are notoriously difficult to obtain, as people with this level of income have a tendency to be choosy and selective. Therefore it would be in error to interpret that high percentage as wealthy individuals being indiscriminate or non-selective when the opposite is most likely the case. Their high permission rate is actually a function of their discerning and discriminating tastes as well as their ability to pinpoint the brands that properly cater to their judicious nature.
More than Half of All Recipients Call Their Emails Irrelevant
A surprising statistic is that over half (51%) of the 2,000 consumers polled had also provided permission to companies that they have had no previous business relationship with. Females were slightly less likely to provide permission to companies they had not previously dealt with at 49% of the total and males were more likely at 53%. Males were also more sanguine about the relevancy of the emails they received. Fully 55% of all males stated that almost all the email marketing messages they get are irrelevant, with exactly half of the females agreeing. This "email grumpiness" seems to increase with age, as 43% of all individuals polled aged 18 to 24 called their email irrelevant as compared to 57% of the 45 to 54 year old age group.
Nearly 8 Out of 10 High Income Earners Find Emails Relevant
Once again very high income individuals seem to be the email marketer’s dream subjects. While fully 54% of all people with a household income of less than $75,000 stated that almost all the email they receive is irrelevant, that figure drops to just 22% for the people earning over $200,000 per year. Again, this statistic points to the higher level of selectivity exercised by wealthy individuals: They tend to believe that the email missives they receive are relevant primarily because they have been so choosy in the first place and only subscribed to brand newsletters where they have a fervent and ongoing interest.

The lesson that the GI Insight study provides for email marketers is that the struggle to keep your subscription list healthy and growing is fought on an email to email basis. Maximum effort must be placed into the composition and design of each message to ensure that your subscribers keep looking forward to the next installment, and don’t choose to opt out because you’ve bored them away.

Posted in Tips & Resources

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