Article

Are you sending too much email?

Trendline Interactive

Marketers shape their email strategy by asking questions. Many companies ask if they send too many emails—and often assume that they do. This is most likely based on a slew of reports and research studies asking questions along the lines of “Why do you unsubscribe from email?”

It’s a fair question and, through our experience, we’ve found that people almost always cite frequency as one of their main reasons for unsubscribing. 

With that information in hand, email marketers tend to assume they do send too many emails. But this survey question is extremely generic, lacks context, and therefore can be misleading. For all we know, the respondents could be referring to the average email from the average company.

However, ask the same exact users which companies do the best job communicating with them through email, and they’re likely to list a company that sends them more than one email per week. In fact, we find that companies who send subscribers emails multiple times per week are the ones that stay top-of-mind.

Quality, value, and relevance of email are all more important than frequency.

Marketers who send irrelevant emails annoy subscribers more and more with each message. The best email marketers are ones who have a content strategy that identifies valuable reasons to communicate more frequently by delivering quality, and relevance with each email. Does this mean that you should start sending your weekly newsletter twice as often? Maybe not, but here’s what you should do:

  1. Establish a base program. Your baseline newsletter or promotional program should be geared toward reaching out and providing consistently solid content to all subscribers. This is really the only place questions of frequency matter. 
  2. Set up triggered programs. Just about every activity can trigger emails. Any user-initiated action (site visits, browsing behaviors, abandoned carts, downloads, comments, purchases, etc.) presents a new opportunity for you to respond and stay top-of-mind.
  3. Plan for occasions. Birthday emails have become fairly common and are quite effective, especially if you provide a gift. What about other important milestones, such as the anniversary of a subscriber’s registration date? What about the weather? Should you send an email when it rains? At the end of a fiscal quarter? Get creative with the types of content you send, as long as it’s relevant to the occasion and delivers value to the reader. 
  4. Assume control of transactional emails. Something as simple as registration or a password reminder can be turned into a brand message that drives incremental revenue. Use these touchpoints to surprise and delight subscribers.
  5. Capture user sentiment. If you don’t have a way to give your subscribers a seat at the table, you are missing out on a wealth of information that could help inform your email marketing roadmap. This can be done via site NPS score, reply mail management, or (ideally) a service like Usabilla for Email, which allows for campaign-specific sentiment analysis. This mechanism can also act as a way to help reduce unsubscribes, since giving subscribers an outlet for their concerns helps marketers adjust many elements of their email programs before a user cries “uncle” and unsubscribes. 

If you have good content, don’t worry about sending too often. Ultimately the answer to the question, “How often should we send email to our subscribers?” is “As often as your subscribers think you have something worth saying.” And while that’s easier said than done, we’re confident that more opportunities still exist to communicate with your subscribers in ways that will make them feel appreciated, while encouraging them to conduct more business with you.

If you’d like help with your email strategy or managing your email program, contact us. We’d be happy to help.

About the Author(s)

Trendline Interactive

Built from email marketing, Trendline Interactive is an agency and consultancy that inspires brands to create meaningful engagement through cross-channel communications. Our passion is that every single message sent is not only meaningful to the audience, but drives success for our clients.

Let's Take This to the Inbox

Sign up for our news, resources and updates. The inbox is our favorite place after all. We’ll make sure it’s worth it. (You can unsubscribe at any time, but you probably already knew that.)