Today’s world has become saturated with marketing and advertisement efforts, and it often seems that customers are more eager to delete these brand messages than take note of them.  As marketers look for ways to spark engagement in both prospective and existing customers, companies often turn to upfront incentives, using discounts to drive higher email open rates. New research out of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, however, has shown that this may only be decreasing engagement even further.
The study came as a result of analysis from nearly 8 billion emails across multiple industries and found that engagement was higher in emails with no explicit discount offer. Interestingly, retail conversion rates remained higher for these discount blasts, which comprised almost half of retail marketing emails and about a third of total emails in the report.
Interestingly, this trend didn’t extend to loyalty discounts, which had higher open, click, and CTO rates compared to those with no explicit discount in the subject line. This demonstrates that customers are undoubtedly still willing to engage with brands reaching out to them via email, but have grown numb to all but the most relevant messages. These often are a result of effective data collection and often, strong elements of personalization in communications with loyal shoppers.
In emails that did advertise some kind of deal in the subject line, the most effective were “percent off” and “free shipping,” which fetched retail conversion rates of almost 8 percent each.
"With so many offers flooding consumers' inboxes, it can be challenging for brands to make their promotions stand out," said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. "Many marketers feel like they need to advertise generous offers to be competitive. However, the lack of engagement shows that consumers are often not tempted by extravagant incentives. Instead, to make emails relevant, marketers could emphasize loyalty and rely on lifecycle messages to keep things fresh and make offers feel more unique."

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