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  • The First Impressions Email Marketing Study Ciceron Report, March 2013

    Copyright 2013. Sole the property of Ciceron, Inc.

  • You have only seven seconds to make a first impression. This is why we try to look our best when meeting someone new, or why brands create amazing customer experiences. So why should your email marketing program be treated any different? The answer is, it shouldnt. Look at your email strategy like dating. When a subscriber says, Yes, I want emails from you (or, Yes, Ill go on a date with you) the next step is the first date. Or as we call it, the welcome message. Sending a welcome message shows the subscriber that youre into them and eager to make a good impression. So dont be that guy (or girl) the one that doesnt even show up.

    83% of brands did not make a good !rst

    impression, or any impression at all

    Whats in a First Impression?

  • Ciceron conducted The First Impressions Email Marketing Study, an independent research project set up to analyze the experience a new email subscriber has with a brand. Ciceron selected 70 companies in varying industries and assessed the first 21 days of their email program experience.

    41% of brands did not send any

    messages within the first 48 hours of subscribing

    27% of brands did not send a single message over the

    whole 3 week period

    39% of brands sent a welcome message; 15 of 27 did not

    make a good first impression

    About the Study

  • Confirmation 20%

    Welcome 39%

    Nothing 41%

    41% of brands did not send any messages

    within the !rst 48 hours of subscribing

    Subscribers are the most engaged within those first 48 hours. So it is critical that you start to build that relationship by sending an immediate welcome message to set expectations and ask them to take the next step.

    If you are in the 41% sending nothing, youve just stood up your first date and that is not acceptable.

    What Are Brands Sending? In First 48 Hours

    27% of brands continued to send nothing over the whole three week period

  • How often should you be sending messages to your audience? Unfortunately there is not a standard benchmark we can provide, because the frequency is dependent on your audience and content. To learn what is best for your audience, you should test frequency, offer subscription options or just ask them what they want.

    What Are Brands Sending? Over First 3 Weeks

    1 email per week was sent, on average, over the whole three

    week period

  • ere is a right and wrong way to execute a con!rmation message

    The Wrong Way Never send an email message simply to say Thank you for subscribing instead take that opportunity to send a branded welcome message. This will create a stronger impression with your subscribers.

    ! !

    Confirmation 20%

    The Right Way Use the confirmation message to have a subscriber confirm their subscription, complete their profile, or set interests. However, once the subscriber says Yes, they should still be sent a welcome message. This is no different than confirming a time and place for a first date.

    What Are Brands Sending? Confirmation Message

  • Famous Daves was the only brand that sent a

    con!rmation and welcome message

    Confirmation message 1

    2 Welcome message

    What Are Brands Sending? Famous Daves Example

  • 39% of brands sent a welcome message, all within 24 hours

    of subscribing

    Its time for your first date. So how do you make a great first impression with your subscribers? Execute these four welcome message must-haves and you will be assured a second date.

    Welcome 39%

    Immediate Gratification

    Brand Your Message

    Set Expectations

    Include a Call-to-Action

    What Are Brands Sending? Welcome Message

  • Only 4 of 27 brands had a great welcome

    message; incorporating all of the must-haves

    Great Key: Fair Poor

    What Impression Are Brands Making? Welcome Message

  • What Are Brands Sending? Great Welcome Messages

  • What should you be collecting about your subscribers? It is important that you only collect information that you will be using to provide subscribers with relevant content. If you dont need it, dont ask for it.


    Zip Code

    Personal Interests




    What Are Brands Collecting?









  • Only 37% of brands asked subscribers for

    personal interests and/or subscription


    Collecting personal preferences from your subscribers not only ensures you are delivering content that is relevant to their interests, but has also proven to increase engagement metrics. You can also use this information for dynamic content and segmentation.

    Good Examples from Visit Florida and Hormel

    What Are Brands Collecting? Personal Preferences

  • 4 of the 23 brands that asked for the

    subscribers birthday actually sent them a

    special birthday message

    If you have something to offer them for their birthday, this is a great value add to your program. But if you ask for their birthday and send nothing it can damage the relationship youve worked to build.

    What Are Brands Collecting? Your Birthday

  • Conclusion

    Collect data that you can use to delight subscribers Make sign-ups and conversions easy for your subscribers Send an immediate welcome message with all the must-haves Be timely. And then follow-up againquickly Remember, first impressions are critical to building lasting relationships; a welcome message is that important touchpoint for your email marketing program. You want to entice your subscribers by sending them a welcome message that encourages them to take that next step or second date.

    Having conducted thousands of email marketing and communications programs, we know that even the most simple endeavors can have a huge impact. You can also apply many of the recommendations in this study to your other digital programs. Use these key takeaways and you too can make a great impression on your audience.

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  • Companies Included in the Study

    ACME Comedy Club AmericInn Arctic Cat Bloomington CVB Bluefin Bay Brainerd Lakes Chamber Breezy Point Resort Buffalo Wild Wings Canterbury Park Caribou Coffee Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Choose Chicago Christopher & Banks Como Zoo Craguns Resort Dacotah Ridge Golf Course Dairy Queen Enjoy Illinois Explore Minnesota Famous Daves Fitgers Brewhouse Gander Mountain Grand Avenue BA Grand Casino Great Clips Guthrie Theater Hennepin Theatre Trust

    Holiday Stationstores Hormel Houlihans Lake Superior Zoo Las Vegas CVB Lutsen Resort on Superior Maddens Resort Mall of America Maurices Mill City Farmers Market Minnesota Childrens Museum Minnesota Historical Society Minnesota Science Museum Minnesota Sea Life Aquarium Minnesota State Fair Minnesota Swarm Minnesota Zoo Mystic Lake Casino Napa Valley CVB Red Wing CVB Running Aces Rush Creek Golf Course Saint Paul CVB San Diego CVB Sleep Number/Select Com