What’s Your Frequency?
However, don’t forget the most direct way to gather and understand customers’ preferences: Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Direct surveys are a good way to know precisely what your customers expect from you. Another good practice, notes Brady, is to implement a preference center to which customers can link from your e-mails, giving them the chance to specify content preferences, including how often they wish to be contacted.
Point of Content
Of course, how much your customers want to hear from you has everything to do with what you have to say to them. The more relevant and timely your content is to their needs, the more interested they will be to hear from you on a more frequent basis. “Optimizing the timing of your mailing based on actual customer actions is a wonderful way to increase relevance,” says O’Gorman. For instance, people are more interested in a product when they’ve purchased a related item, received a marketing call or searched the Web for that product.
Likewise, the more engaged people are with your brand, the higher interest and tolerance they will have for your messages. Rather than sending out your regular communications to newly opted-in customers, it may be more effective to create a welcome series that guides them through your products, says Brady.
It’s also key to optimize transaction and account-related e-mails—communications that are created by the relationship with the customer, rather than generated by a marketing timetable. Customers are expecting these communications, and they tend to have a higher action rate.
For instance, Fossil’s e-mail frequency modulates in response to customer-
initiated interaction. “If you’re buying something, you’re obviously going to get another e-mail, or a chain of e-mails,” says DeCaprio. The company also may send out additional e-mails to individual customers in response to non-sale actions, such as a reminder that they had clicked through on a product but did not complete a purchase. The main lesson is not to rely simply on unsubscribe rates. Rather, evaluate your customers’ behaviors so your e-mails will reach them when they are ready to view and click.