Two of the common questions email marketers ask is “how frequently should we email our customers?” and “how much email is too much?” The fact of the matter is that email volume and frequency depend on many factors. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all email cadence, but there are a few methods that will help you get to the frequency that fits your business, customers, and specific needs.
The best way to determine the ideal frequency for emailing your customers is to test some options. Develop a plan for your testing strategy using a sample segment of your audience; the sample will receive emails at different frequencies while the rest of your audience (a.k.a. the control group) will receive emails at your normal frequency. Run this test a few times and compare the results – they will be able to help you determine how customers react to receiving emails from your brand more or less frequently.
You will want to look across all available metrics to come to a conclusion but you should really focus on open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and unsubscribe rates. You can even incorporate some time-of-day or day-of-week tests into your testing strategy to help determine if there are more opportune times or days when your customers are more inclined to open, click, or purchase.
Customers are much more motivated to open emails if they are relevant and personalized, even if those messages are sent frequently. Not every single customer should receive every email you deploy. Rather, you should capture customers’ preferences or monitor past purchase behavior to determine what specific audience segments are most interested in.
This information will help you deploy more relevant email messages. For example, if a customer is interested in Men’s clothing, he is more likely to open emails with subject lines around Men’s fashion and sales no matter the frequency. Alternatively, it is highly unlikely that he opens an email promoting a Women’s shoe sale even if he only receives that message once.
There are certain times of the year when customers expect getting more emails, specifically around the holidays. When developing your email marketing calendar, you should always keep external factors and holidays in mind.
Do you have a great deal on a popular sweater style around the holidays? With the colder weather, having a sale on an item that is in-demand is a great opportunity to increase your email cadence. After an initial email promoting the sweater sale is deployed, perhaps follow-up with another email to those who opened and/or clicked but did not make a purchase.
Is there an end-of-summer sale of children’s clothing? Make sure to have a strategy in place to promote those back-to-school sales when parents and kids alike are looking for the newest trends to kick-off the new school year.
When consumers are actively seeking deals around the holidays and other high-demand times of the year, they are typically inclined to open emails more frequently to guarantee they are getting the best deals available.
By testing different email frequencies, sending relevant communications, and keeping in mind external factors that may affect customer behavior, you will be able to determine the most effective email cadence for your customers and your email program.