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Email Marketing: Success Factors

Ruth Rettie [HREF1], Senior Lecturer, Kington Business School [HREF2], Kingston University [HREF3], Kingston,KT12

Lisa Chittenden, Manager, Claritas International, Claritas UK, Park House, Station Road, Teddington,
Middlesex TW11 9AD UK, Email:

With assistance and information provided by Claritas (UK) Ltd, a subsidiary of VNU b.v.


electronic commerce, internet marketing, email marketing


Email marketing is increasingly recognised as an effective Internet marketing tool. Our paper reviews the email marketing literature which highlights the importance of obtaining recipients' permission. Email marketing is compared with other forms of direct and Internet marketing, identifying its key advantages. We identify the factors that have been found to increase response rate in direct marketing and direct mail.

Following exploratory qualitative research among industry experts we analysed 30 email marketing campaigns to identify factors associated with higher response rates. We found the following factors were associated with increased response rate: subject line, email length, incentive, number of images. For nine of these campaigns we were able to link demographic and lifestyle data to response. Analysis of these campaigns suggests that recipients who have previously bought on the Internet have higher response rates to email marketing. These finding are used to create an email marketing process model based on the Vriens et al (1998) direct mail process model.

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