Is more better? A basic formula for frequency calculations, the impact on deliverability, and alternatives to simply sending to your entire list more often.
Is more better? E-mailing your subscriber base more frequently can help boost sales, revenue, customer loyalty, and word-of-mouth exposure. Or, it could cost money and customers, as we outlined in part one, as well as damage email deliverability. The outcome depends on how well you manage increased frequency and both its positive and negative consequences.
Four key drivers can turn your email financials from black to red if you increase frequency without adequately planning for:
In this column, we'll provide a basic formula for your own frequency calculations, delve deeper into the impact on deliverability, and explore alternatives to simply sending to your entire list more often.
Marketers, Start Your Calculators
If you've already accelerated your email program's sending frequency, use this set of equations to determine whether the increase helps or harms your bottom line:
Perhaps You Should Send More Often
So far, we've assumed increasing email frequency could be a negative if you send more often than subscribers expect or want. But if you mail only a few times per month, you could be leaving money on the table. In that case, sending a few more email messages could actually do more good than harm.
Use these factors to forecast the impact of sending more frequently:
The Deliverability Effect
In addition to the obvious effect on the bottom line, overmailing can slap down an email deliverability rate.
One of the biggest complaints email recipients had during the holiday 2005 shopping season was receiving much more email than they expected when they opted in.
What do people do with all that unwanted email? They either deleted it (68 percent) or unsubscribed (30 percent), according to a Return Path survey. A full third of respondents said in addition to other steps, they reported the excess as spam. This is where real deliverability danger lies.
As noted above, you can expect more spam complaints when you increase frequency. This higher volume could be the tipping point that triggers ISP blocks on your sending IP and kicks you off ISP whitelists or third-party accreditation or reputation lists.
Further, you're more likely to be reported as a spammer on collaborative peer-to-peer antispam lists, such as Cloudmark. That can get you on blacklists, which further reduces deliverability.
Finally, unhappy respondents who don't actually report you to their ISPs will set blocks or filters within their own email programs to make you go away.
Relevance Is Key
The mistake most marketers make when they beef up their frequency is they just mail more offers to all the same people on their list.
Instead, start at the beginning of the relationship with your customer or subscriber and use a set of best practices, such as these:
These best practices can help you move your email program to the next level, making you more valuable to your subscribers and improving your ROI (define) without damaging your list integrity or customer relationships.
Until next time, keep on deliverin'.
Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.
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As director of ISP relations and delivery, Kirill Popov creates and enforces strict usage and anti-spam policies, maintains ISP and community relations, and oversees all abuse and policy investigations and inquiries for EmailLabs clients. Kirill works with clients on best practices, content, design, and list hygiene to minimize potential delivery issues. He's a registered member of the SpamCon foundation and representsEmailLabs on AIM's Council for Responsible E-Mail.
Loren McDonald is vice president of marketing at e-mail marketing automation company EmailLabs, overseeing corporate marketing activities and client consulting services. He has 20 years experience in marketing, consulting and strategic planning. Earlier, Loren was founder and president of Intevation, an e-marketing services firm specializing in e-mail and SEM. He's held executive marketing positions at companies including USWeb/CKS (marchFIRST), NetStruxr, and Arthur Andersen.
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