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Email Marketing: How Much Is Too Much?

January 8, 2020 Anthony Priwer

Perhaps you’re thinking of increasing the frequency of your company’s email marketing. You’re passionate about your product, can’t get enough of it, and assume the people on your subscriber list can’t either. Depending on your circumstances, ramping up those emails may, in fact, be a good idea. But if it’s not, you risk turning your subscribers into unsubscribers. Email marketing

Many small- to medium-sized companies email their subscriber list quarterly or monthly, often in a newsletter format. Others, though, send emails weekly or even daily, which is only appropriate if your content and offers are sufficiently compelling and relevant to warrant that high volume.   

However, being sent too many emails is the No. 1 reason why people unsubscribe from mailing lists. Here are the other main reasons, according to a 2015 survey:

  • Didn’t purposefully subscribe
  • Content was irrelevant
  • Emails were impersonal

So, how many emails should you be sending? The simple answer is that there’s no magic number, and you need to find the unique sweet spot for your particular company, industry and subscriber base.     

Factors to consider

The type of business you’re in, and how much relevant content you have to communicate to your customers, should be key drivers of your email marketing strategy.

The type of business you’re in should be a key driver of your email marketing strategy.

I don’t mind getting weekly emails from my subscription TV service, for example, because it adds new movies and shows each week and I’m interested to see what’s on offer. By contrast, I ended up unsubscribing to marketing emails from my favorite shoe company because even though I really like their product, I’m unlikely to buy more than one pair of shoes a year (if that), so their weekly emails annoyed me, regardless of how good the offers were. My annoyance was compounded by the fact that they also decided to start sending me printed catalogues in the mail. Even more annoying than the shoe company – and even more quickly unsubscribed to – was a respected national business awards program that sent me three separate emails yesterday within one hour, including two emails within five minutes! They should give themselves an award for Worst Email Marketing. 

Experiment and monitor

If you’re going to try sending more frequent emails, consider offering an input field – at opt-out and possibly also at sign-up – where subscribers can tell you how often they’d like to hear from you. To return to my shoe company example, though I don’t want to hear from them weekly, I perhaps wouldn’t mind opting in for a yearly email. Offering those sorts of reduced-frequency choices at opt-out might enable you to retain a subscriber at a lower frequency rather than lose them altogether.    

If a subscriber does opt out entirely, presenting a “Why did you unsubscribe?” question with multiple-choice answers (“Too many emails,” “Irrelevant content” etc.) can give you valuable data to help adjust your marketing strategy. When increasing email frequency, it’s also important to closely monitor other campaign data points, such as click-through rates and, if applicable, sales conversions. If the effectiveness of your email campaigns starts to decrease, you may also need to decrease your email frequency. Another useful research practice is to sign up for your leading competitors’ emails, which will give you insights into the content and frequency of their campaigns. 

For professional assistance with your company’s email marketing, contact us today.    

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