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Marketers must create content for any web destinations their target audience may visit, from online video platforms to social sites, and they should remember that many online consumers' first stop when they sign on is their email. Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association's Q3 2010 North America Email Trend Results reveal that delivering marketing messages straight to consumers' inboxes pays off.

The study found that open rates have remained steady across industries. The overall open rate average was a solid 22 percent, but six of 13 industries reported increased open rates last quarter. Plus, the average click rate is up 0.2 percent to 5.4 percent.

Moreover, experts suggest that marketing emails will prove even more effective during Q4 2010 as consumers look to inboxes to find seasonal deals. "As the holiday shopping season picks up in the fourth quarter, it will be interesting to see whether open rates and click-through rates rise accordingly,"said Yoram Wurmser, Direct Marketing Association's director of marketing and media insights. 

Marketing emails categorized as editorial messages had the highest click rates, according to the report. With this in mind, marketers may want to increase investment in the content included in their emails. 

Brands might consider messaging prospects exclusive industry news. According to recent research from Pew, two of the top online activities among consumers of all ages are checking emails and looking for relevant headlines to stay on top of the latest news. Moreover, an earlier Pew report indicates that consumers increasingly look for news content in their inboxes. 

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.