I often talk about how important engagement is to the success of your email marketing program. Today, we’re going to spend a little time talking about frequency. Email marketing strategists very often have to deal with some preconceived notions about email. Email is a relatively inexpensive proposition when compared with other advertising mediums. The allure of reaching out to your audience so easily is sometimes too much to resist. Finding the right mix of frequency to go along with your great content is crucial. I have an example to share with you of over-communication from a great marketer, with a great product, to an engaged customer.
Let’s start by talking about what I call “Upper-Level Email Management” or ULEM for short. I love making up acronyms, it makes me feel cool and important. The theory of ULEM is this. The Marketing Team sent out an email last week to 1,000 people and made $10,000. The ULEM logic says if you send out another message to 2,000 people, you are going to make $20,000. If you can do that 4 times per month, well you get the picture. The truth is that ULEM isn’t talking into account the truth about email marketing. Real people with busy lives have to perform an action to interact with an email message. This isn’t TV or radio where a “fairly” captive audience can have your jingle burned into their brains. Email recipients can choose to never see one of you messages again. Once you lose a recipient, they are most likely gone forever, and forever is a long time.
Back to the example I’d like to share. I am a customer of a handbag company. I have purchased a 3 or 4 of these bags in the last few years for my wife. These are a special gift, not something that I buy every week. With that background, not that I recently received 4 emails in less than 10 days. In a good year, I might buy 2 of these items. What does this many messages make me think about? It makes me think that they are sending me too much email, and I should unsubscribe.
What’s next? I don’t really want to unsubscribe. Sometimes we get great coupons via email. I certainly don’t want to miss out on that savings. I went to the preferences page, and there is no option to limit frequency. Reluctantly, I stay on this list, but I lose interest and stop interacting. These messages will start to be filtered to my bulk folder once I stop reading them. I am a loyal customer who now mysteriously stops purchasing. There are some great lessons to be learned here. Preferences should cater to the customer. Give customers the option to get email when I want and how they want it. Don’t let ULEM get the best of you and chase away your best customers.
I’d love to hear from you about similar experiences with messages you like, but are considering living without.