E-commerce Link: Email Cadence

The pros and cons of frequency

One of the frequently asked questions about email marketing is “How often should I mail?” Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. The answer will depend on how robust your email program is, your email preference center, how diligent you are as a marketer, etc. So to begin, let’s explore the cons and the pros of frequency.

The Negatives of Over-Communicating
I’m sure you’ve seen the studies: One of the major reasons that individuals opt out is they receive too many emails from a company.

Let’s look at a company that decided to move from five emails a month to 12 emails a month. (This case study is based on analysis from Arthur Middleton Hughes.)

• Part 1 of this frequency story—See the results in the first image.

Let’s pause, and I want you to react to these numbers as if you were the CEO or the CFO of the company presented with these results. Revenues are more than double and because the company has sent more emails, it has enticed more people to buy, so unique buyers are significantly up. Based purely on results presented, it would appear that the move to higher frequency is a winner!

This may look like a decent conclusion, but we haven’t looked at other factors that will affect our subsequent evaluation.

• Part 2 of this frequency story—Check out additional metrics in the second image.

Now you see the good and the bad. It’s important to examine all the aspects that affect an ongoing program. There’s a lot of bad news on the chart above regarding the decision to move to sending 12 times a month:

• The more a marketer sends, the more bounces, opt-outs and spam complaints will be received (assuming you have established a feedback loop to receive spam complaints from major ISPs). This means an increasingly smaller list.

Regina (Reggie) Brady is president of her own e-marketing and direct marketing consultancy, Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions. She is a leading authority on Internet direct marketing and has held executive positions in Internet marketing at FloNetwork Inc. (subsequently acquired by DoubleClick), Acxiom/Direct Media and CompuServe.
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