In my recent survey, now closed, I had about 28 responses regarding your basic e-mail habits. It’s certainly not scientific, nor does it actually represent the average internet user, but some conclusions can be made from this brief exercise in Crowdsourcing.
- Most people check e-mail between 1 and 6 hours daily.
- A large number of people use Web Mail, along side with Outlook and Thunderbird.
- Just less than half of e-mail users allow images if they trust the sender.
- A strong majority of users instantly decide if an e-mail is Spam from the sender and the subject line.
- A majority of e-mail users use a provider’s Report Spam button (or similar) to unsubscribe from (potentially junk) e-mail.
- Generally, most people like the e-mail medium, but dislike the Spam on it.
Thanks to all those who participated. If you didn’t get a chance to, subscribe to my blog so you be notified when I post a similar poll. (You can also check out what people have shared about their e-mail usage and share your own feedback on it, too.)
Why does this matter?
As we evolve our Internet habits, we all should be aware of what each other are doing, thinking and considering when reading our electronic communications. Also, as marketing leaves the television screen and makes its way to your e-mail, this should help remind small business marketers to embrace that your Inbox is not to be taken for granted, especially when you decide instantly whether a message is junk or not.
I said I wouldn’t give my opinion until this follow-up came. With no further ado:
- I check my e-mail every few hours, but I leave my mail client open in case something important comes on through.
- I use Mozilla Thunderbird, almost exclusively when I can. There have been a few times I have taken the Red Pill and fired up Outlook to reply to someone though. (Usually, for internal-email, and using the Exchange Address Book.)
- I allow images from senders I trust and further adding them to the address book to prevent further issues. I will allow images sometimes out of curiosity, but the sender and the subject must be convincing for me to show the image. No text = No dice.
- I assess if a mail is junk first by the sender, then by the subject line and finally, I scan for the first few words of the e-mail (if in preview mode). This process usually takes me no more than two seconds per e-mail.
- I click the “unsubscribe” link from quality senders when I no longer want their e-mail. That is, PayPal, eBay, my bank, and other reputable senders that I originally opted into. Before doing that, I usually mouse over the link to determine if it will yield me a real unsubscribe page. For nefarious senders who use fictitious unsubscribe links, scrupulous e-mail pieces, I usually deliver a double dose to them by reporting the e-mail to my provider’s Spam folder and forward it to SpamCop.
- I’m moderately satisfied with e-mail. I wish inherently e-mail was much more secure and trustworthy to prevent abuse, but that would raise question to the “freedom” of the ‘Net. Moreover, I’d like misled marketers to stop sending Spam since it dilutes everyone’s e-mail experience with a distasteful, unethical and untrustworthy one.
Overall, I see hope. As conversion rates and deliverability continue to plummet, marketers will be forced to earn their consumer’s trust back, which will have to be based on ethical, self-managed best practices; not another revision to the CAN-SPAM Act.
Disclosure: I work for Infusionsoft, a company dedicated to empowering small business owners to automate their online marketing — legitimately and easily.