Dela Quist on Increasing Email List Size and Frequency
When it comes to email marketing, marketers have to free themselves from the fear of being perceived as spammers and go ahead and send more email messages.
This was the main message delivered by Dela Quist, the outspoken and unconventional CEO of email agency Alchemy Worx during his keynote address last week at the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s March luncheon at the Yale Club.
“There' s a lot of fear and self-loathing in the email marketing community,” Quist said. “Marketers limit the amount of emails they send because they're so afraid they're going to be perceived as spammers. They literally bend over backwards to not be perceived this way. But it's stupid to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Spamming is illegal; what we do is marketing.”
Having a large mailing list is also an important success factor for brands’ email marketing programs, despite all of the discussion around targeting and segmentation, Quist said.
“We're so afraid to be called spammers that we don’t test or experiment with list size,” Quist said. “The fact is the more email you send to more people, the more money you make.”
To drive home his point, Quist pointed to President Obama’s presidential election campaign’s email marketing strategy. Based on data from eDataSource and the Federal Election Commission, Quist explained that facing a tight race in mid-October 2012, Obama ramped up his email efforts, doubling his daily send. The Romney campaign, on the other hand, dropped its email send volume at the same time by 33 percent.
“Obama won because his list size was 10 times bigger than Romney’s and he mailed so frequently,” Quist said. "From a revenue-generating perspective and a poll perspective, Obama's success was directly related to the amount of email sent.”
Quist also discussed how frequency drives engagement. In one example, he showed how a marketer that sent three emails per week had a lower-than-average clickthrough rate (3.46 percent), but a higher-than-average sales per subscriber rate (1.09 percent). What’s more, the unsubscribe rate for the thrice weekly mailing was lower (0.134 percent) than the weekly mailing (0.139 percent).
“Simply put, the more emails you send the more engaged people become," Quist said. "You can't engage with an email you didn't get. And remember, ISPs measure engagement, so not sending more emails is wrong.”
Quist also told the audience that when preparing an email marketing strategy or program, “work on your database or list size first, then optimize your send frequency — and don’t be afraid. If you mail too much, you can always reign it back in if it doesn't work.”
In closing, Quist made the point that despite all of the social networks and communication channels available to marketers and consumers today, “email should be the primary means by which someone you already know visits your site or interacts with your brand."