How Much Email is Too Much?

How much email to too much?How often are you sending email marketing campaigns to your customer database?

A common fear among brands is that they will send too frequently, and frighten away the database that they’ve invested a great deal in building. More often than not, they’ll default to mailing once-per-month, without having tested the possibilities of more frequent touch points (sometimes I wonder where the once-per-month comes from… possibly a hold-over from the print newsletter days?).

So what is the right frequency for your email advertising campaigns? The short answer — or rather, the counter-question, is — how useful is your content? Most of us will gladly accept and open emails from brands that have invested in us by learning our likes and preferences and serve up content that meets our needs.

Amazon does a great job with this, using my purchase history to send nearly daily email recommendations that get my cursor moving mysteriously towards the ‘1-click’ purchase button. Even if that day’s product is not interesting to me, I still take a look each time, because Amazon remains relevant by being mostly right.

On the other end of the spectrum are brands that don’t really seem to care who I am. Now, whose emails am I more likely to unsubscribe from, or worse yet — report as spam?

Consider these simple ways to gauge the right frequency from your email program:

  1. Test increased frequency against a small segment of your database: Start by sending more often to a smaller portion of your database, and then analyze the results before rolling out the winning frequency to your entire database.
  2. Test increased frequency during your ‘high season:’ If your business has a seasonality curve, consider testing greater email frequency when customer activity is at its height — they will be more receptive, and you’ll naturally have more to talk about.
  3. Monitor spam complaint and unsubscribe rates: These are typically the best indicators of a negative response to more email.
  4. Oh, and how about simply asking? Use an embedded, one-click survey to directly ask your customers about how often they want to hear from you. But be ready to honor those stated preferences.

We’ve seen time and again that increased email marketing campaign frequency can yield big results. In fact, it typically drives the largest performance increases for our clients. But don’t hit the Send button blindly — consider a measured approach to introducing additional email campaigns. Over time, you’ll earn the right to speak with your customers more often, and create a more active and engaged database.