How Frequency Drives Email Marketing Success
For today's marketers, frequency is one of the most important factors of an email campaign. However, many email marketers fall into the same trap. They deploy their campaigns in giant waves and hope that subscribers, and their purchasing powers, get pulled in with the tide. Yet with such little regard for timing, these random check-ins do nothing but flood inboxes with limited return.
Why is frequency so important? A more strategic approach to email frequency can increase engagement, convert subscribers into customers and better disseminate branded information. For email marketers, understanding the benefits of different frequencies is critical to campaign success.
Strategic frequency depends on a number of variables. The first is balance. Too many updates can be overwhelming. Some marketers feel that constant communication will drive sales, but the bombardment can actually deter subscriber engagement. However, too few emails can do the same, lowering engagement through absence. Finding the perfect email balance is challenging, but marketers can do so through frequency's second variable — preference.
No two consumers are the same, and marketers must work to understand individualized email preferences. The best way to do this is through preference centers, where marketers can monitor a subscriber's previous email behavior to determine which types of emails stimulate opens and engagement. Preference centers are also valuable in that they allow subscribers to self-determine their preferences, while also establishing clear expectations between consumers and brands.
Outside of individualized preferences, marketers should be aware of device preferences too. For example, mobile clicks now comprise 40 percent of email opens. Marketers should act in accordance with this larger industry trend and target mobile users. Similarly, in last year's fourth quarter, responsive design increased mobile click-to-open rates by 40 percent and mobile conversion rates grew 70 percent. Again, marketers should recognize this trend and mirror their campaigns to cross-channel compatibility.
After marketers determine balance and preference, they should turn their attention to content, frequency's third variable. Content directly influences how subscribers interact with brands. A recent study of top-performing email campaigns found that subscribers prefer different types of emails at different frequencies. By being intentional about what information is sent when, email marketers can improve engagement. Marketers need to understand the four different types of email frequencies: daily, weekly, monthly and triggered.
- Daily emails should include time-sensitive deals to encourage immediate action. Like a newspaper, their benefits come from timely updates. However, when not used to encourage immediate action, daily emails can disengage subscribers with their overabundance and redundancy.
- Weekly emails should offer deals that last for longer periods of time. Also, since 74 percent of weekly email opens occur within the first 24 hours of subscribers receiving them, marketers can use them to reach consumers who may be disengaged from daily emails because of their high frequency.
- Monthly emails should be content driven. Because these emails come less often, marketers can use them as an opportunity to create a voice for their brand. Like a company newsletter, this voice can offer more than just overly promotional product pushes, such as information about industry trends relevant to the brand.
- Triggered emails should be responsive to subscribers' actions. When consumers complete a transaction, visit a website or abandon their online carts, triggered emails can automatically deploy to engage them in real time. Here, content should be personalized to the individual action and the individual consumer.
Moving forward, marketers can improve the frequency of their email campaigns with a better understanding of how balance, preference and content influence subscriber engagement. These three variables play an important role in the success of email marketing. However, when left unchecked, each can turn potential customers into brand objectors.
Ask yourself, is your company's email frequency working?
Kris Sakaluk, key analyst at Yesmail, a provider of enterprise email marketing software.
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