Consumers appreciate marketing that makes their lives easier and gives them ultimate control.

The Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study, put out today by the Email Experience Council and Direct Marketing Association, trumpets the success of commercial email subscription campaigns that both make it easy for consumers to sign up and that allow consumers to opt-in or opt-out any time. Giving potential customers an element of control is key to making sure message recipients are happy: “The opt-in process sets the tone of how a future email relationship between a company and customer will unfold,” said Gold Lasso, a study sponsor.

Plus, when people opt-in, a company can then ask them questions, compile data, and beef up its database. And marketers don’t have to subject consumers to a lengthy, obtrusive questionnaire (according to the study, subscriber names and ZIP codes are the two most-often requested bits of information gathered). After refining their databases, marketers can then make sure they target the right emails to the right consumers.

Subscription commercial email campaigns can generate big revenues – $21.9 billion in U.S. sales this year according to the report. Email marketers need to realize that the days of acquiring lists and obtaining addresses without direct permission of the subscriber are long over. Confirmed subscribers are much more likely to be receptive to what you have to say and therefore lead to increased sales. As the report shows, it’s a windfall already, so shouldn’t you be taking advantage of it as well?

Eydie Cubarrubia