Less Can Really Be More with Email Frequency

Businesses are always searching for ways to increase revenue, especially in difficult economic times like these.  Often, the suggestion is simiply do more of what is already generating profits.  Email marketing is especially susceptible to this rationale because it is relatively easy and inexpensive to implement compared to other options (e.g. direct mail).  For example, if one email campaign per month generates $50,000 then two campaigns will net $100,000.

However, not only can increasing the frequency of your email campaigns not deliver the expected revenue, but it can result in an increase in unsubsriptions and abuse complaints and a decrease in engagement, especially if you can’t provide relevant content or offers.

In one of his takeways from the 2009 Email Evolution Conference, Chad White recounted the experience of REI who performed a test in which they suppressed emails to non-clickers for 4 weeks, after which they sent them an email promoting REI’s anniversary sale. While the control group was sent several more emails over that 4-week period, the suppressed group (who only received the anniversary sale email) outperformed the control group by 4%.

Does that mean that everyone should reduce the frequency of their email marketing campaigns?  Of course not.  However, it is a reminder that the days of taking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ and one email blast approach to the entire house list should be behind us.  In REI’s case, the company may have identified a group of subscribers who had begun ignoring their emails because they received too many and sending fewer emails (at a lower cost) could achieve as good or better results.

Less can really be more – all it takes is a test (or a few of them) to find out.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 at 7:37 am and is filed under Email Marketing, Online Strategy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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