Today is email Thursday and I’m your presenter, Andy. Today, I’ll be talking about email frequency and asking some questions about when it is the right time to email your customers, how often you should email and what some of the ramifications and repercussions are for emailing too frequently or to infrequently.
Here are some common frequency intervals that many people think of when considering how often to send out emails. If we take a close look at each of these intervals, we can see some common assumptions related to each interval.
Let’s start with once a month. Once a month is a common interval that many companies choose when sending out newsletters or other similar types of emails because they may feel it is unobtrusive and that they don’t have enough new information, new content or fresh products to warrant a more frequent email communication.
If we look at twice a month, we’re not only doubling the frequency but also doubling the content needed on a per-month basis. Afterall, no one wants to receive the same email twice in one month. Some choose this frequency thinking that it will help the brand stay fresh in people’s minds.
If we look at a weekly email strategy, we need to make sure that the messaging and content are both very fresh. Weekly emails tend to work well for sites that have weekly deals.
If we look at sending an email everyday, we run the risk of alienating users who feel that they are being “spammed” by a communication strategy that can feel overbearing. Just because Facebook can pull it off doesn’t mean that everyone else can.
As frequency increases, a lot of these assumptions actually take shape in the form of opt-outs and spam complaints, adding a layer of risk to increased frequencies; though as most business owners would vouch, most aggressive strategies come with risks and it is often worth it. But let’s dig into the stats.
According to a study done by Merkle, 73% of users surveyed said they opted-out because they felt that they were receiving emails too frequently. This not only reduces your list size, but also causes users to miss out on information they may have found useful or beneficial had they not opted-out. On the flipside, 27% of users are inviting more frequent mailers and may represent the highest valued e-mail recipients on your list who welcome your communication. It is a challenge to identify a balance between inspiring your highest quality recipients without reducing your overall quantity of recipients.
Epsilon cites that 71% of users felt that it was not okay for companies they like and trust to simply increase the frequency of emails. Increasing your frequency without asking first is a sure-fire way to reduce your list size.
MarketingSherpa cites that 25% of users reported emails as “spam” due to the high frequency. This has a 2-fold impact: one, it decreases the size of your list and two, it has a negative impact on your relationship with email service providers or ESP’s. ESP’s work hard to make sure that your emails get through to the inbox, and every “spam” complaint (versus an opt-out request) makes it that much harder for you to be sure your emails are landing in the inbox. In finding a fine-tuned balance between frequency options, be cognizant of how your approach effects this very real risk.
You may now find yourself asking “When and how often is it okay to send emails to my lists?” Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to this. But to guide you towards what the correct frequency for your email list is, you need to consider 3 things: Is it the right message, is it going to the right person, and is it the right time for this message. As you repeatedly ask yourself these questions and gain ever-increasing insight into who your users are, you’ll often find that these questions answer themselves.
I’ll leave you with some ideas to think about that will help you (address) mitigate certain risks associated with changing frequencies for your audience. One is segmenting. If 27% of users would like more communication from you, then identify who those recipients are and target them in a different way than your more dormant audience. They represent the highest opportunity to get repeat business and get evangelical support from your current customer base.
Second, consider lifecycle e-mail marketing as an approach that will increase frequencies of e-mails, but in a custom tailored fashion. For example, say you own a dog supply store online. If a past customer of yours currently receives e-mails from you every month about dog supplies, it would not be unwarranted for you to send another e-mail in a particular month where you are alerting them that they may want to replenish their dog food supply based on the fact that they made a purchase of dog food 3 months ago that day. That is a triggered message that takes into account the lifecycle of your product, in this case, “dog food” and is absolutely the right message to the right person at the right time.
We offer Optimized Lifecycle E-mail Marketing as a service to clients who are looking for a way to get a lot more revenue from their e-mail approach. We’ll show you how it works if you’d like – just give us a call at 800-504-4324.
Thank you for listening – have a wonderful E-mail Thursday!