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How to find the right email frequency balance

How to find the right email frequency balance

By Simone Barratt, e-Dialog International.

According to official national accounts, the first quarter of 2009 witnessed the biggest decline in consumer spending since 1980.

With the amount of money consumers are prepared to spend shrinking, many marketers may be prompted to try to place more focus on their subscribers by upping the frequency and promotional content of their email marketing.

Don’t make yourself look desperate!

What a brand may see as increased e-mail frequency may well be seen by your subscribers as constant bombardment. Unsurprisingly, one of the obvious consequences can be list fatigue and unsubscribes.

A popular e-mail marketing horror story is that of the retailer who increased its promotional e-mails substantially, and learned to its detriment that unsubscribe and undeliverable rates increased so much that their gross profits actually dropped. While this is just an example, experience tells us that relevance of content is a priority for customers, so overwhelming levels of e-mail may not provide the desired results.

Consider the value of your brand

In addition, as tempting as it may be, don’t diminish your brand’s reputation by constantly pushing ‘specials’, ‘FREE offers’ and ‘discounts’. Overusing these terms is potentially one of the many factors that ISPs review and may result in reduced deliverability rates.

Recent statistics have shown that only a fifth of consumers fall into the category of value-seeking, that is to say that they are constantly on the look out for opportunities to save money. In spite of the recession, the majority of consumers still express loyalty to two or more brands and these people are unlikely to be overly affected by discount e-mails.

Don’t forget to ask...

Giving your customers a voice is essential to ensure that your e-mails hit the right notes. Forrester research has shown that 52 per cent of consumers like to be able to control the frequency of their e-mails.

Allowing customers to opt in to daily, weekly or monthly e-mails ensures that your customer is expecting the communication and increases the likelihood of them opening the e-mail and finding out more about your product.

One point to note, however, is that if you ask customers what they want, you must be prepared to deliver. Relevance and targeted messaging are even more important when you have only one shot a month to get your message across.

Look for opportunities in the customer lifecycle

There may be points in the current customer lifecycle that you are over-looking where there is an opportunity to increase e-mail frequency.

Good CRM practices such as welcoming new customers, reminding shoppers of discarded shopping baskets and order confirmation e-mails all serve to boost your frequency and keep you in regular contact with your customers.

Stepping these things up a notch by then adding an incentive to these e-mails will further your opportunities for engagement and ultimately improve sales conversions.

Marketers sometimes need to be reminded that they are consumers too – think about the e-mail campaigns that you have responded well to, I would wager the e-mail frequency has been sensible, relevant and targeted.

Something to bear in mind, perhaps, before you up the e-mail frequency to two mailers a week?

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