Email marketing remains one of the most popular and successful online marketing strategies of all time. After all it is hard to beat in terms of ease and affordability. Sending an email to one thousand recipients can cost just about as much as sending it to one recipient, and if you use the same email it hardly takes more work either. With that in mind it is easy to see why this particular strategy is so tempting to overdo and abuse. However, doing so can be very detrimental to your overall business success. On the flipside it doesn’t make sense to under-utilize this valuable tool when it could yield very positive and profitable results. Instead it is imperative to strike the right balance and neither send too much nor too little email.
Unfortunately there is no set amount that we can give you in terms of how often you should email your customers. This is because the frequency rate depends on your own specific company, the industry and its customer base. However, there are a few key indicators to help you determine the optimal regularity for sending customers emails with your branded messages. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when setting your email frequency rate:
Where Did You Get Your Email List?
How you accumulated your email list can be one of the biggest factors in knowing what the threshold will be for the recipients. Was it from customers who intentionally opted into it by signing up on your site or place of business? Emails that go to customers who opted in have a much better success rate. They are less likely to be deleted without being opened and also much less likely to be reported as spam. Sending emails to this segment of customers who intentionally signed up and are expecting your emails will do much more good than sending to any other group. The analytics showing the user interaction for an opt-in group will also prove the higher acceptance rate.
While the most desirable way to get your email addresses is from customers who intentionally opt in, you may also gather contact through some other kind of working relationship. For instance perhaps the email address was simply part of the registration or contact information that the customer provided when they used your services. Once again this is much more desirable than sending to customers with whom you have never had a working relationship, but it is likely to be less successful than email campaigns targeted to customers who took the extra step to opt in. This group of contacts is also more likely to get annoyed by a high volume of emails and may begin deleting them or marking them as spam if you send too many.
The least desirable way to acquire your email addresses is through partner sites, or by otherwise purchasing them. Essentially these email addresses aren’t very targeted at all, and you have little to no trust established with the recipients. Emails sent to this group of people are much more likely to be deleted or flagged as soon as they arrive, and even a few emails a year may seem like too many to this group.
What Are You Sending?
Another big factor that will determine your ideal frequency rate is what you are actually sending when you email. For example:
Promotions and Sales – Logically this type of content will be best received when your recipient is actually considering using your services or purchasing your goods anyway. This could be the final nudge they need to become a conversion. A basic example is sending this type of information to customers around the holidays right before they go out to do their holiday shopping. If they get promo codes, or sales information from you, and none from your competitor, then this will definitely help you seal the deal. By the same token if you email them regarding services or goods that they tend to need at specific times regardless then this can also be very successful.
By contrast if you are simply spamming your customers with ‘sales’ information all the time, then there is a good chance that they will get tired of it and start deleting your emails completely without opening them. Because of this your sales and promotions should be real, tangible events rather than gimmicks, or they should correspond with a desirable time for your customer to buy. If they are not, then you should probably keep your frequency on the lower end of the spectrum to avoid annoying your recipients.
News and Information – If you are sending out newsletter style emails and other announcements this can be a very effective way to keep your company on your customers’ minds and it is less likely to annoy them since it is seen as informative rather than promotional. However, if this is the case then you need to make sure that the information you are putting in your emails is real news and actual announcements. Remember, you want your customers to open the email, read it, and actually find it interesting. If they don’t learn anything new or it feels like a waste of time then there’s a good chance that they won’t bother opening the next one.
For this reason it is important not to send out informational emails too often. After all it is unlikely that you have so many things happening at your company that they need to be announced every day or even every week. Instead consider “saving up” your news and presenting it all at once in a short, targeted email that your customers can easily read and will enjoy getting.
Product Announcements – Emailing product announcements is often a great idea. After all, people can’t purchase the new item if they don’t know it exists. For repeat customers and loyal followers of your company this approach can be very lucrative. However, it is important to keep in mind that you really do need a new product to successfully do a product announcement. Simply reiterating that you still have a product, or that it has received very small modifications, is unlikely to really be considered newsworthy by a majority of readers. Instead this is generally interpreted to fall under the category of Sales and Promotions instead of information.
Targeted or Non-Targeted Content – It stands to reason that targeted content will be more favorably received than non-targeted content. The difference is, that if a sales and promotional email is targeted it will include information about sales for products and services that appeal specifically to a certain group of your customer base. For this reason you may decide not to send this email to your entire email list. For instance the product or service may be more relevant to men than to women or visa versa. Perhaps it has a great appeal to the elderly, the middle age, or the young. Maybe the email is sent to customers who have purchased the goods or service in the past and may thus legitimately want it again. By the same token a targeted newsletter or announcement will contain news and information that specifically interests the people who receive it rather than just the general public at large.
As you can imagine it takes much more effort to send a targeted email rather than an non-targeted one. In fact it is likely that you will need to craft several different emails and take the time to carefully determine which of your customers should receive which email. This is more work but it can yield much better results and it is likely that your recipients won’t mind as frequent an email rate if they are actively using and enjoying the emails that you are sending them.
Results do matter, especially in terms of figuring out your ideal sending rate. That means that you will want to monitor what is happening in response to your emails. Do you find that a lot of your recipients are unsubscribing? That can certainly be an indication that you need to slow down. By contrast, are they instead actively using the promo codes that you send or favorably mentioning your emails when they drop by? Have you seen a spike in sales or site visitors right after sending out an email? Answering these questions will go a long way toward letting you know rather you should increase or decrease the amount of emails you send out.
The bottom line is that successfully and carefully managing an email marketing campaign can take a lot of work. A successful campaign will be about much more than gathering a bunch of email addresses and emailing the same thing to the same people every day. It also means that you will have to tread carefully and learn about your particular customer base. This can seem like a daunting task, but it is absolutely worth the results it will get you in terms of sales, publicity, and general good will.