Consumers Want Control Over E-mail Preferences

E-mail is the communication channel of choice, finds a study conducted by Ipsos for online reputation management service Habeas. Sixty-seven percent of the survey respondents say they prefer e-mail as a communications channel over other online methods.

The inbox is expected to retain its preferred status, according to the study. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they expect e-mail to remain the prominent form of online communication for at least five years. Consumers rated video conferencing (19 percent); instant messaging (17 percent); SMS or text messages (12 percent); and Web meetings (12 percent) in order of importance for future forms of communications. Of those currently aged 18 to 34, 65 percent said they will favor e-mail to communicate with businesses in five years.

Upwards of 88 percent of respondents expressed a desire to manage the frequency and other options of their e-mails. Those options include whether or not to receive advertisements, special offers, articles, newsletters, white papers, and other specific content options. Over 80 percent of survey takers favor doing business with organizations that use opt-in permission to send e-mail.

“We’re calling that the new inbox,” said Des Cahill, CEO of Habeas. “Consumers want to control the relationship between themselves and the e-mail sender�to specify topics to receive in e-mail, frequency. Consumers are looking for relationships with businesses online where they can share a dialogue. It’s not a monologue anymore.”

Certain marketing practices relating to the inbox, and online practices, can affect a company’s reputation in the eyes of consumers.

Here’s how consumers surveyed said they think about these following e-mail practices:

Activity: Positive / Negative.

  • Use pop-up ads:6 percent / 75 percent.
  • Send daily e-mail: 14 percent / 55 percent.
  • Send weekly e-mail: 31 percent / 24 percent.
  • Use e-mail with safe unsubscribe: 65 percent / 13 percent.
  • Send monthly e-mail: 56 percent / 7 percent.
  • Use a safe sender logo: 60 percent / 4 percent.
  • Provide options to control the content of e-mail: 80 percent / 3 percent.

Frequent senders and companies that violate trust in other ways will harm their reputation. “Businesses that treat consumers as a way to make a quick buck are not going to be trusted, and will have a severe impact on brand and business,” said Cahill.

Ipsos conducted the study for Habeas. Data were collected through a 10-minute online survey of topics including e-mail behavior, spam, security features, and online business transactions. Respondents include 2,069 U.S. and 1,133 Canadian residents, and are found to be nationally representative of Internet users.

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