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E-Business Secrets

Finally, hard numbers on e-mail marketing effectiveness
Cost-effectiveness is a big selling factor

By  Brian Livingston September 18, 2002  

E-mail is by far the most popular use of the Internet by Americans and most other nationalities. But it's been awfully difficult for businesses to measure the effectiveness of their opt-in e-mail marketing strategies against a wide range of industry averages.


That's suddenly changed with the publication of "The E-Mail Marketer's Guide: Hard Data for 2002," more than 100 pages of facts and figures that's been culled by MarketingSherpa and Intermarket Group from some 1,700 directors of permission-based marketing.

It's impossible for me to do this work justice in a few paragraphs, but here are some of the more important findings:

1. READ ME. About 64 percent of Internet users check their e-mail at least twice a day. The average user receives 11 e-mails at home and 24 e-mails at work per day, about one-third of which are spam.

2. FREQUENCY. When asked to opt into a regular e-mail service, the latest figures (June 2002) show that many readers prefer weekly delivery, but not all:

-- 09% - Daily

-- 08% - 2-3 per week

-- 35% - 1 per week

-- 11% - 2-3 per month

-- 21% - Monthly

-- 07% - Less than monthly

-- 08% - Never

3. CONSTANT CHANGES. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of addresses are changed each year by Internet users.

4. DRIVING SALES. U.S. e-mail marketing expenditures were $927 million in 2001, generating 15 percent of all online sales, up from only 3 percent in 2000.

5. COST PER CONVERSION. E-mail marketing can be very cost-effective in retaining customers. Companies enjoyed an 8 percent click-through rate and a 3 percent conversion rate in their retention marketing in 2001. This represents a cost of $6.25 per conversion, very reasonable for gaining some kinds of repeat business.

I'll have more details from this massive report next week. Meanwhile, check out the overview and table of contents.

http://www.sherpastore.com http://bri.li/4e6c

The entire product is available for $149 as a printed book or an online collection that you can print out yourself.

The people behind this effort are also sponsoring the E-Mail Newsletter Publishers Profit Workshop in Washington on Oct. 14. Registration is $495, and it should be quite worthwhile with the killer speakers it has so far.

http://www.sherpastore.com http://bri.li/61f4

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Fujitsu has developed a new technology that can identify people based on patterns in the palms of their hands. The company has built a prototype mouse that can be used to authenticate individuals without passwords or asking for a fingerprint, which is associated in people's minds with police booking procedures.

The technology was presented at a conference in Tokyo on Sept. 4. Fujitsu claims it already has an acceptable error rate.

http://www.twomobile.com http://bri.li/757c

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1. Online sales are growing faster than retail sales, says comScore, which claims they also predict near-term Dow moves.

http://www.cnn.com http://bri.li/434

2. Small e-tailers can compete with larger online sites through differentiation, customization, and product research.

http://www.ecommercetimes.com http://bri.li/81c

3. Does your site make these mistakes? In one test, only 34 percent of motivated shoppers succeeded in buying something.

http://www.searchcio.com http://bri.li/c04

4. Learn the "Six Steps" that are key to making money on auctions, told by a participant in eBay's first-ever convention.

http://www.entrepreneur.com http://bri.li/fec

5. Pay services for IM are starting to catch on, offering extra security, control, and other added features.

http://www.wired.com http://bri.li/13d4

6. The future profitability of ISPs may lie in the development of content they can provide to their subscriber base.

http://www.news.com http://bri.li/17bc

7. AllTheWeb.com, a search engine with an index that approaches Google's, is the first to index the contents of Flash files.

http://www.pandia.com http://bri.li/1ba4

8. All the steps Webmasters can use to build opt-in e-mail lists for their newsletters, starting from absolute scratch.

http://www.clickz.com http://bri.li/1f8c

9. Want a Web site fast? You need one of these designer factories -- or perhaps you'd like to make money with your own factory.

http://www.aspnews.com http://bri.li/2374

10. Smilies -- http://www.theregister.co.uk http://bri.li/275c -- are older than you thought, including some hilarious 1976 specimens.

http://www.platopeople.com http://bri.li/2b44

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I'm sure you've seen the "Mexican wave," named after the 1986 World Cup championship held in Mexico. A few people in a sports stadium rise out of their seats, and then the action flows from section to section as it's repeated by other enthusiastic fans.

Now there's a Web page with videos and a fascinating animation that allows you to start one or more waves in your own little stadium. It's a Java applet, and the site even gives away the source code of the program.

The animation is actually based on a scientific study of the wave that's just been published in Nature, the science magazine. The researchers found, for example, that the average wave moves 22 seats per second.

But the physics explanations don't detract from the fun at all.

http://angel.elte.hu http://bri.li/c39c

At the site, click "Interactive Simulations" to try it for yourself.

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E-BUSINESS SECRETS: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld contributing editor Brian Livingston: http://SecretsPro.com . Research director is Vickie Stevens. Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/0764534939

Windows 2000 Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/0764534130

Win a gift certificate good for a book, CD, or DVD of your choice if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints. mailto:Brian@SecretsPro.com

Brian Livingston is publisher of BriansBuzz.com. Send tips to him at brian@briansbuzz.com.

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