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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2016-11-16

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching in the U.S., it seems email is something for which B2B marketers should be greatly thankful.


A new email survey issued by Adobe shows overall time spent checking email increased 17 percent year-over-year. In addition, the study projects email is expected to remain the preferred business communications medium for the next five years.


Some additional findings of the study and implications for B2B email marketers include:


  1. Less is more: With expectations for quick responses increasing, business email is becoming shorter and more concise. Seventy percent of survey respondents check their email while watching TV, and 45 percent admit to checking email in the bathroom! With shorter and ever-diverted attention spans, marketers need to ensure their messages are short and to the point, with their calls-to-action easily understood and even easier to execute (e.g. click on a big, distinct box)
  2. Mobile march continues: Forty-five percent of respondents say they use their smartphones to check work email, with the percentage even higher (63 percent) for personal email. Smartphones are now the primary device for millennials to check email (90 percent for ages 18-24; 88 percent for ages 25-34). It’s now clear marketers must ensure their campaigns are optimized for mobile devices, designed to look good on them, and tested to render properly on myriad platforms. (Read my mobile design tips here.)
  3. Skip the formality: With the pervasiveness of texting, business email is also becoming less formal. In fact, 42 percent of the Adobe survey respondents admit to using an emoji in business email, and a fourth predict this will only increase. Today’s marketers should keep the formal or “sales-y” business speak to a minimum, and instead appear as a trusted advisor attempting to help a friend with a business problem.
  4. Always on; always checking: The combination of time spent on email increased both for work (up 28 percent) and personal (up 6 percent), reaching a total of about 7.4 hours per day, illustrating an “always on” email culture. It seems that checking email during a conversation is no longer the offense it once was; less than 10 percent of survey respondents say they would be annoyed by someone responding to an email during a face-to-face conversation with a friend or family member. Therefore, marketers may feel less restrictions on sending their campaigns at certain days of the week or times of day. However, there are still certain days (Tuesday-Thursday) and times (early or late in the day) that tend to generate the best B2B responses, so be sure to test your campaigns to see if such days or times are statistically significant for your own specific campaigns.
  5. Email offers preferred: Half of respondents prefer to be contacted by brands via email, compared to other mediums such as direct mail (22 percent), mobile apps (9 percent) and social media (8 percent). That means marketers should lead with email for their best or special offers, and perhaps backburner other less effective mediums, or alternatively, use them for more complicated or lengthy offers.
  6. Don’t annoy: Top email annoyances include being emailed too often by a brand (47 percent), poorly written emails (25 percent), and offers not being relevant (23 percent). This is why B2B marketers need to be careful not to inundate their audience with too many messages. Instead, it’s important to create a concise, easily understood offering and be on-point with that offering to the proper targets. Think sharp, focused messages laser targeted to the right audience. General email blasts—spray and pray—are passé and annoying.

The latest Adobe study shows that marketers should indeed be thankful for email, as its dominance continues with no signs of slowing down. But, at the same time, they must avoid contributing to inbox noise by not bombarding their audiences with email volume, and instead be mobile-optimized, focused and targeted.

Your audience will almost certainly thank you for doing so.


Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.

Image Copyright: boygointer / 123RF Stock Photo

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