Email Marketing: How Often Should You Email Your Customers?

According to a survey by eConsultancy.com, brands are failing to retain customers after the point of purchase. The main reason is mistrust. Customers do not feel that the company has their best interest in mind.

One of the biggest reasons for what is seen as brand detachment is either too much or too little communication. 51% of the respondents to the survey said they felt brands sent too many emails, while they also reported difficulty in speaking directly to a company rep over the phone. This indicated to the customer that the company is eager to sell them something, but not very interested in talking to them to resolve issues or problems.

Based on this, it is obvious that retaining loyal customers is of utmost importance.  What is the benefit of it, in dollar amounts?  According to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. That is enough to make any smart business work to improve their customer retention. 

Since one of the biggest reasons is email communication, let us ask: how often should a business send email messages to their customers?  The answer is: there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on your customer, your products, your industry and the sales cycle, to name just a few contributing factors. 

The best way to find out how often your customers want to receive emails is to run tests and then check the results.  Select a small portion of your mailing list, modify the frequency of your email send and measure the impact. Results can be: 

The recipients disengage

If you start sending too many emails that are low-value, the most common effect is that you will see open and click-through rates drop. A study by ReturnPath.com showed that more than 5 messages per week caused complaints to climb. In addition, the read rate decreased as frequency increased. The readers simply did not keep up with the volume.  If your email recipients disengage, cut back on the number of emails sent to them.

There is no noticeable change

If you double the number of emails you send and there is no appreciable change in response, this indicates primarily that nobody cares about your emails. This can be changed with analysis of your list.

Often one portion of your subscribers will respond well to an increase in frequency. They will boost your sales and engagement a bit. But the other portion of your list may choose to tune out the additional emails, erasing the gains you made from the other group. An effective way to combat this is to segment your audience more clearly. Segmentation enables you to target content to exactly the right audience. When the right audience receives the right message, they will respond

You get more sales and engagement

This is the outcome all marketers want to achieve. If you increase mailing frequency and engagement increases, then maintain that level.

Finally, how often do other companies send emails?  A study by MarketingSherpa.com revealed some interesting data. This survey was conducted in January 2015 at their email marketing summit. 2,057 adults answered the question “How often, if ever, would you like to receive promotional emails (e.g., coupons, sales notifications) from companies that you do business with?”  The results:

Frequency: Percentage Desired
At least monthly 87%
At least weekly 60%
Weekly 32%
Daily 15%

What is the optimum email rate for your business?  Again, it depends on a number of factors. The only real way to find out is to test different email frequencies as well as different content and different audience segments.  You may find that changing the email frequency has a significant positive effect on engagement.

So if your long-lasting customer relationships are not as good as you would like them to be, now is the time to examine your communication programs with current customers, particularly email marketing. You may find that a small change in emailing will bring a large improvement in results. As an award winning B2B marketing agency, KEO Marketing can help you with all aspects of email marketing, contact us today to learn more.

Sheila Kloefkorn (1031 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.