A recent study of email practices by Silverpop based on Internet Retailer’s Top Online Retailers has pointed out a number of significant statistical differences in the way that the country’s 37 largest home improvement retailers conduct their email campaigns as opposed to their smaller competitors. This data collection shows that there are some key elements embraced by the top home improvement retailers that the rest of the field would be well served to emulate.

Offering Choices at Opt-In & Opt-Out

A full one third or 33% of all top retailers offered their subscribers options to control both the content and frequency of email messaging they would receive through a form on their Preference Center. The presentation of choices to subscribers was adhered to by 30% fewer smaller retailers with only 23% offering their customers a Preference Center. The top retailers mostly avoided asking questions that might seem too personal and cause the subscriber to turn away, such as full mailing address, phone number or household income. Sticking to birth dates (you can inform your subscriber that they will be used to deliver Happy Birthday special discounts or offers) and just zip codes (for geographical segmentation purposes) instead of full addresses will help keep your customers happy and subscribed.

When it came to opting out, 40% of large home improvement retailers provided an unsubscribe link that led to a Preference Center rather than a straight “goodbye” page. Yet only 24% of the smaller companies followed suit. Regrettably, 76% of all small and mid-sized home improvement businesses were perfectly happy to just wave adieu to their customers without providing them with an option to change the frequency, format, channel or area of interest of their email newsletters.

Extremely Frequent Email Sends

The frequency of email sends in the retail sector is among the highest of any industry. Retail customers seem to be able to happily accept receiving retail email newsletters in their inboxes at a clip that would cause mass unsubscribes in the restaurant or medical sectors. The top home improvement retailers have found that extremely high frequencies can drive sales: A remarkable 17% of them issue between 11 and 15 emails per month, which works out to an average of just under one every two days! The smaller retailers are not quite that bold, with only 9% reaching that prodigious frequency. When we consider home improvement retailers sending 5 to 10 emails per month, 32% of the largest companies hit that mark, while only 24% of the smaller DIY businesses manage that level of periodicity.

Some Home Improvement Retailers Send Once a Day!

Amazingly, 5% of all large home improvement companies and 4% of the smaller ones manage to send out 16 to 20 emails per month, with 2% of each sending between 21 and 29. The next statistic truly boggles the imagination: 3% of all large retailers and 1% of all smaller ones send more than an email per day, every single day of the year! Even though that level of email avalanche is never recommended, it seems that there are some home improvement retailers out there who find that it is working for their business models.

3 out of 5 Smaller Company Emails Lack Social Media Links

One of the most interesting differences is to be found within the proportion of companies that link to social networks in their email content. Fully 57% of the large home improvement retailers featured social media links versus only 40% of the smaller companies. Failure to align your email campaign to an active, updated and vibrant social networking presence is a serious fault in this current social media age, and three out of every five smaller and mid-sized home improvement companies simply have no excuse for this critical exclusion.

These figures show that there is still plenty of room to improve online marketing in the small and mid-sized home improvement sector. Implementing the tactics that the larger national chains have found successful can be a major key to email campaign success in your business.