What’s Your Frequency?
A once-a-week strategy is best practice for watch and accessories marketer Fossil Inc. “Measuring open rates and clickthrough rates by individual is our No. 1 strategy for whether we’re contacting someone too frequently or not frequently enough,” says John DeCaprio, vice president of e-commerce for the Richardson, Texas-based company. “Based on that information, we have several different skip patterns where we mail someone weekly, if they’re actively involved with us. That can roll back to biweekly or monthly, and even quarterly, depending on how often someone has interacted with us.” Along with open and clickthrough rate analysis, Fossil also looks to its opt-out rate to gauge contact frequency. A higher rate of opt outs may signal the marketer is contacting its customers too frequently. DeCaprio notes, however, that opt-out rates are no longer as good a measure of how satisfied or dissatisfied customers are with frequency as they used to be, since customers are just deleting unwanted messages, clicking the “this is spam” button, or ignoring e-mails outright. That’s why more in-depth analysis has become even more important.
Breaking the Rules
Whether a marketer should mail more than once a week is dependent on its category of product and customers’ engagement with its category. For instance, consumer electronics and travel categories tend to have highly engaged customer bases that are eager for frequent e-mail updates on new products or deals. In comparison, when it comes to the financial category, customers do not expect frequent communications, therefore biweekly and monthly communications typically are the norm. “The best frequency varies per segment and per goal of marketing communication,” says Wexler. “If you’re trying to keep people up to date on rapidly changing information, perhaps you might send every other day or every day. If you’re updating people on changes in an industry that doesn’t change very much, then once a month is fine.”