If there is one marketing approach that has been proven effective time and again, that would be email marketing. Email marketing provides a cost-effective means to build and maintain relationships with your past and new customers. With high-quality content and email frequency best practices 2022, email can be your most impactful marketing channel.
However, email marketing isn’t a strategy that you can overuse without consequences. There is a fine line between what is helpful and what is annoying. That’s why you need to consider industry standards and practices in defining the ideal email frequency for your business.
The Impact of Email Frequency on Your Campaign Metrics
How often you send marketing emails to your email subscribers will affect your marketing campaign. This is best represented by marketing metrics that show a quantifiable representation of your campaign performance. Some of these metrics include:
Your email open rate is the percentage of those who opened a specified email out of your email subscribers. It is one of the numbers that email marketers look into to gauge how successful their email marketing strategy is. Indeed, it is the first thing that gets affected by your email frequency.
In digital marketing, marketers use click-through rate or CTR to measure ad views. In email marketing, this is the number of email subscribers who have clicked on at least one link in your emails. To calculate, divide the number of people who have clicked your campaign by the number of emails you have sent.
The unsubscribe rate refers to the number of unsubscribes divided by the total number of marketing emails you have sent. This is the percentage of subscribers who opted out of your mailing list after receiving a marketing email.
The conversion rate is the percentage of users who have taken the desired action after an impression. Desired actions include making a purchase and availing of a service. In email marketing, this refers to the percentage of subscribers who completed the goal of your email campaign.
How Your Email Frequency Impacts Your Return on Investment (ROI)
Every email marketer wants to identify the optimal number of marketing emails that will give them the maximum ROI. This is a performance metric used to compare the efficiency of different email marketing frequencies. Your email frequency can be an advantage or a disadvantage to your business. So, careful consideration is a must.
Effects of Over-Mailing
For email marketers, there is a fine line between what is acceptable and what is too much email marketing frequency. After all, there are no hard and fast rules that can guide you on this matter. The point is that you shouldn’t make your subscribers feel overwhelmed and bombarded with marketing emails.
Poor Customer Engagement
Customer engagement refers to the ongoing cultivation of a relationship between a company and its customer base. Email marketing is one of the best ways to foster customer engagement—only if done right. Bombarding your subscribers with marketing emails will accomplish the opposite of your campaign goals. This is because annoyed email subscribers often respond by ignoring your emails altogether.
Reduced Email Deliverability
Over-mailing often results in an increased number of user complaints and unsubscriptions. Consequently, these will take a toll on your email sender’s reputation. A low sender score may cause mailbox providers to divert your emails to the spam folders of your subscribers. This will affect not only those who are disengaged but everyone on your mailing list.
Increased Unsubscribe Rate
As all email marketers know, not all in your mailing list will engage with your marketing emails at any point. And that’s completely acceptable. However, when your subscribers opt-out from receiving your marketing pushes one by one, that’s a cause for alarm. This is one of the things that over-mailing can do for you.
More Subscriber Complaints
An increased email marketing frequency will result in a decreased complaint rate. However, this is not a good thing at all. This is because the greater the emails you have sent, the lesser impact of each complaint you receive will be. In other words, you are risking customer satisfaction in exchange for intensive email marketing.
Effects of Under-Mailing
Let’s say that at some point, you have bombarded your email subscribers with tons of marketing emails. Many of your annoyed subscribers opted out of your mailing list. Consequently, to pacify your remaining subscribers, you decided to greatly reduce the number of emails you send. To your surprise, you are still not getting the results you desire. Then, you realize you have under-mailed them. Yes, under-mailing is also not a good thing.
Reduced Customer Lifetime Value
With time, failing to provide your subscribers with relevant content can result in your subscribers’ disinterest in your brand. Under-mailing them will lower your lifetime value or the total revenue that your business generates from your customers.
Low to Nonexistent Inbox Presence
According to the Statista Research Department, there were an estimated 319.6 billion emails sent and received daily across the globe. This figure is projected to increase to 376.4 billion by 2025. This only shows that email marketing is still one of the most preferred campaign strategies today and in the future. When your inbox presence is low due to under-mailing, your subscribers may not recognize your brand anymore.
Higher Complaint Rates
Reducing the number of marketing emails you send to your subscribers can decrease the number of complaints you receive. But it will have the opposite effect on your complaint rate. Sending fewer emails means that your complaint rate will increase greatly with each complaint you receive.
Damaged Sender Reputation
Your sender reputation is a score used to gauge your performance using key metrics to mailbox providers and email subscribers. This score will represent how legitimate and welcome your emails are to your subscribers. A low sender reputation score can result in your emails getting classified as spam by mailbox providers.
Outdated Mailing Lists and Spam Traps
If you are not sending regular emails to your subscribers, you can’t identify abandoned email addresses in your mailing lists. An outdated mailing list is an indicator of poor email management. Furthermore, it can get you tagged as a potential spammer. Many marketers often repurpose abandoned email addresses as spam traps or email addresses to identify and monitor spam emails.
Fewer Revenue Opportunities
By sending fewer emails to your subscribers, you are effectively reducing your chances of connecting with potential customers. As a result, you will miss many people interested in making a purchase or availing of your service. Your subscribers will not be updated and will look for other companies that provide what they need.
Email Marketing Frequency Best Practices for 2022
There are no hard and fast rules that can guide you in determining the optimal email marketing frequency for your business. It can depend on a lot of factors, such as your nature of business, the industry you are in, and the quality of your mailing list. Here are some email frequency best practices that you can incorporate into your own email marketing strategy:
Consider the customer lifecycle when determining your email cadence.
In email marketing for small business, email cadence refers to how marketing emails are spaced out during a campaign. In other words, it is the order, timing, and frequency of sending emails to your subscribers. One of the important things that email marketers have to take note of in adjusting their campaign’s email cadence is the customer lifecycle. Customer lifecycle refers to the series of steps a consumer undertakes when considering, patronizing, and maintaining loyalty to a brand.
The Five Stages of the Customer Lifecycle
This is the stage where a consumer develops an awareness of your business and the products or services you offer, usually after discovering an issue or problem that needs to be solved. In this stage, you get a chance to reach your prospective customers. Promotional emails are among the first things that customers look into in this stage.
When a customer reaches out to you after discovering your business, they are officially in the acquisition stage of the customer lifecycle. This stage can come in many forms. Depending on the details you have provided them in your marketing email, they may give you a phone call, send you a response email, or visit your business website.
In this stage of the customer lifecycle, you have successfully converted your prospect into a customer. The conversion happens when the consumer finally decides to purchase your product or avail of your service. This initial transaction is the start of a relationship that you develop with your customers.
The customer retention stage involves making every effort to get your existing customers to return and repurchase your goods or continue using your services. One way to do this is by satisfying their needs and sending relevant and informative emails. In other words, the retention stage is all about maintaining that relationship you established after the conversion stage.
In this stage, your customers don’t just make additional purchases; they become brand advocates that promote your products or services to their social networks. They become important assets to your business. Email marketing is still an important part of this stage as promotional emails keep them updated.
Adjust your email cadence to your marketing goals.
The next thing to consider before you make adjustments to your email cadence is your broader marketing goals. You have to determine the main reason why you are sending marketing emails. Is it to increase sales and online purchases? Is it to get your customers to visit your business website and increase your web traffic? Or is it to inform them of your new products and services?
Set proper expectations with your email subscribers.
When customers sign up for your mailing list, you must set expectations properly. You should inform your new email subscribers about what kind of emails they will be receiving and how often they will be getting them. And if you plan to increase or decrease your email frequency, don’t forget to notify your email subscribers ahead of time.
Send consistent, regular marketing emails.
Arguably, one of the important reasons why you are sending marketing emails is to maintain the relationship you have established with your clients during the conversion stage of the customer lifecycle. People who have subscribed to your mailing list will be expecting to receive emails from you so don’t disappoint them. Consistent, regular emails are one sure way to keep your customers engaged.
Remember that increasing email frequency follows a curve of diminishing returns per research.
In a study conducted by Return Path, they looked at over 199 million emails sent to more than 600,000 inboxes. They have found out that subscribers tolerated five emails per week on average. Beyond that, complaint rates increased significantly. As you continue to fine-tune your email frequency to fit your marketing goals, always bear in mind that even with high-quality content, sending too many emails will hurt your business at some point.
Use email drip campaigns to boost your promotion efforts.
Sending promotional emails to your subscribers can be a monotonous and time-consuming task. One effective way to automate this process is by setting up an email drip campaign using marketing automation software. A drip campaign refers to sending of automated emails after your customers take a specific action, such as adding an item to their online shopping cart or signing up for your online service.
Let your email subscribers decide on the frequency that works for them.
The most challenging part for most email marketers is finding the sweet spot for their campaigns. Both over-mailing and under-mailing are bad for business. So, how do you find the best email frequency for your company? Simple. Let your email subscribers decide. Allowing them to choose the number of emails they want to receive in a month will not only personalize their experience but also provide you with valuable information about your mailing list.
Understand that the optimal email frequency for B2B and B2C businesses differs.
Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) email marketing campaigns are different in a lot of ways. They vary in terms of their target audiences, the buying cycle and purchase behaviors of their prospective clients, and the content of their emails. Most especially, B2B and B2C email marketing campaigns differ in their optimal email frequency. In general, B2C businesses can send more emails than their B2B counterparts.
Take note of average industry rates.
In determining the best email frequency for your campaign, considering the B2B and B2C frequency standards will not be enough. You also have to consider industry benchmarks. Knowing the average numbers, such as the click-through rate and spam reporting rate per industry, will be your gauge in analyzing the effectiveness of your email cadence.
Segment your email subscribers according to their level of engagement.
Your mailing list will grow with your business. For this reason, the number of emails you sent when you were still starting will not work now that more people have signed up for your email list. The level of engagement will vary per subscriber, so what’s enough for one client may be too less or too much for another. To resolve this, you must segment your email subscribers. You may group them into three general categories:
This group is composed of email subscribers with the highest level of engagement. They are the most active and consistent in email management activities like reading, replying, deleting, and moving emails. These subscribers have the highest likelihood to respond to your call-to-actions as well as send the most number of complaints.
Email addresses that fall under this category are mostly used for receiving promotional and transactional emails. In other words, consumers purposely created these email addresses to interact with business brands. Since secondary accounts are not used for personal reasons, subscribers from this group are less engaged than those in the primary accounts group.
As the group name suggests, email accounts that are classified into this category are most likely abandoned by their users. The level of engagement for dead account holders is very low and almost nonexistent. On a positive note, this is the group that will contribute the least to your complaint rate.
Deciding on the Email Frequency That Works for You
The email marketing best practices listed above are merely suggestions that you can incorporate into your email marketing campaign if they suit your overall goals. Again, there are no hard and fast rules in defining the ideal email frequency for your business. You can find this out by yourself by asking the right questions, such as:
- What are my goals?
- What is typical for my industry?
- Is the quality of my leads good?
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