What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? How Often Should We Send Email?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked: “How often should we be sending email?”
The above question is very important, and however basic as it may seem, it simply cannot be answered without some considerable analysis. It is a simple question to ask, but it is not a simple question to answer. Here are three tips in answering this question within your business:
1 – Everyone is different. Treat people differently.
This sounds obvious, and we all know that there’s no silver bullet for all of your prospects and customers. For most companies, people will be at very different stages of the customer lifecycle, so their responsiveness will be reflected by how timely, frequent, and relevant your communications are. If you are timely and your content is relevant, you will likely find that increasing the volume of email you send is welcomed, and engagement may increase. This is particularly true of companies that send email as infrequently as fortnightly or monthly. Segment engagers and talk to them more frequently, and use the information you have to make those interactions more relevant.
Even if you don’t have the ability to create automatic business rules to reflect how often you send email, by applying some simple segmentation, you can make sure you are emailing the right audience at the right frequency.
2 – Don’t be fooled by the £’s and $’s.
We marketers are often very focussed on one number – revenue. For many of us, it’s why we’re in the business of using email as a channel. It’s our goal to make this number as big as possible, with email attribution for those numbers as high as possible, and I get that, I promise. But many feel that there is very little value in engagement if it does not lead to a conversion. If this sounds familiar, then you may not understand the actual true health and opportunity of your email programmes.
Don’t fall into the trap of being deceived by what a friend of mine describes as “the fallacy of one number.” Measure your email campaigns based on the overall context of the current situation in the industry, throughout the rest of the business, such as footfall in stores, search, social sentiment, advertising schedules…the list goes on. Look at the bigger picture and you’ll have a more realistic benchmark of performance, which will enable you to tweak the frequency dials with confidence.
3 – Don’t stand still.
Email frequency is a moving target and is surprisingly one of the least challenged elements of email marketing strategies. There is no “industry best practice” and there is no number for your business that will remain as the most effective, even for very targeted and loyal segments. Consistently monitor, challenge, and refine.
Frequency of mailing is something that’s often looked at in little detail, or assumed based on out-dated historical performance, and then set in stone. Don’t make assumptions based on the past – this very simple strategic decision should not be taken lightly and must be reviewed as regularly as every other discipline of your email marketing programme.