Researcher at Wheel
17 December 2003 15:50pm
We have a client how currently sends an email newsletter to all registered users once a month.
The aim of the newsletter is to continue building brand awareness and to promote core products and services.
They want to drop the frequency to once a quarter, we are suggesting every two months if at least if they want the newsletter to fulfil its objectives.
Does anyone have comments of the frequency of communications needed to keep a relationship strong.
Fndr at Majestic12.co.uk
17 December 2003 16:42pm
Based on results from 1,200 email campaigns that we run for Jungle.com (and some for Argos) in 2000-2003 I have come to conclusion that ideal frequency for us (B2C IT e-tailer) was once a week.
A good question would be what made me think so. Well, I based my conclusions on the following key indicators tracked on per campaign basis:
1) drop off (churn) ratio
4) sales (or profits for cases with high variation in margins)
Our objective was to maximize 4) which in turn is closely correlated with 2) and 3) while minimizing 1) and 5).
We found ideal formulae for us by running tests which demonstrated that we can get more response overall by mailing newsletter on weekly basis. The key to solution is to test your userbase and this would most likely mean to choose right supplier (unless you doing it in house) that allows for flexible testing (zero or low fixed per campaign costs).
Costs (5) were taken care of by developing in-house mailing solution (by yours truly) and automating as many systems as possible which allowed easy content generation so that we could afford to run 10-15 targeted emails per week using part time effort.
Personally I think email should go out at least once a month - doing it once a quarter will give you headaches with users not remembering they actually signed up for it. This is not to say you need to email more often than you really have something to say to your recepients!
Exec Project Manager at lastminute.com
06 January 2004 15:23pm
Agree largely with the post above
A proviso might be the nature of your content and the liklihood that your customers/subscribers are going to want to interact with it.
Just because you can mail every week doesn't mean you should.
If you have expiring product, weekly deals or consistantly great value added content then
There's considerable merit in investigating the specific timing of your communication, whether it be thursdays to sell a product for consumption at the weekend or March to sell an ISA. From a brand building standpoint, depending on your product, It's worth considering the turn off factor of replaying moribund content out of step with the likely consumer interest cycle.
Indeed if you have the ability to do so don't understimate impact timing of send in the day.
Product Marketing at Google UK
07 January 2004 15:35pm
Less than once a month sounds too infrequent to me, this is likely to lower open rates as people forget about you.
The 'ideal' frequency depends on how often content refreshes/is useful to the reader, and the repeat purchase cycle of the product your client sells. Weekly emails make sense for groceries (particularly if they contain short-lived coupons), but maybe not for cars. In addition, your client should segment the database and contact best customers more frequently than others with tailored offers (but it sounds like they are struggling to find relevant content even for the monthly email). Once you've established your basic frequency you of course watch opens, unsubscribes etc to get the right balance, as Alex suggests.
Looking at the (surely unrepresentative) sample in my Inbox over the last few months, most ecommerce sites send me a message roughly every 1-2 weeks. I personally think 1-2 message per month is enough, but make them great offers and really relevant.
- Amazon: generic emails monthly, but I also get tailored offers based my order history so contact averages twice a month. They carefully monitor the total contacts so no customer segment's inbox is flooded
- Argos: 2-3 emails per month
- Aveda: every 2 months
- Boden: weekly
- Boots: roughly weekly, although they went into overdrive before Christmas so I got 6 in November and 4 in December which was a bit much
- Carphone Warehouse: once a month (and entitled 'monthly newsletter')
- Gap.com (US): once a week
- Hawkshead: twice a month, but going up before Christmas to once a week
- Lastminute.com: once a week - and they get away with it because they make a real effort to make it fun to read, it won awards etc - they definitely used the newsletter very early on to build the brand, and invested time and effort into it.
- triyoga: once a month
- M&S: roughly weekly
- Dabs: every 2 weeks
- Screwfix: every 2 weeks
- Selfridges: once a month
- Victoria's Secret: every 2 weeks, plus additional mailings during Christmas and sales
There, now you all know where I shop ...
Hope this helps.
Owner at NDH Management Services Ltd
08 January 2004 10:09am
You mention the aim of the emails is to build brand awareness and promote core products and services, These are quite seperate objectives that may not be best met simply by emails alone.
Building brand awareness assumes a known target audience, promoting core products and services can only be truly effective once you have the target audiences interest..the good old AIDA principle still applies..the stages in communicating: Awareness Interest Desire Action. If you have not got interest or desire no potential customer is going to buy. Are emails the most effective form of cummunication to generating this desire and action? has this been verified. Your client may well be right .
It is therefore important to place the email activity into the overall context of the communications your client has with his/her customers via other means such as good old fashioned direct conversations: face to face, via the phone or written.
How satisfied are your clients customers? Is their satisfaction being measured? Are their orders fulfilled (or services delivered well)? What indications are there that the email campaign is driving sales?
The strength of any brand is underpinned by good old fashioned money in the bank paid for by satisfied customers.
All in all the frequency of contact is but one element in developing the contact strategy for your customer. I would be vary wary of relying on emails alone to build a brand. A brand is built by distinctive services/products consistently and reliably delivered to the customer over time .
Director at The Winchester Diet
08 January 2004 21:08pm
Based on results for The Winchester Diet, I find that every 9 days brings good results.
Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Author and Speaker at SmartInsights.com
09 January 2004 09:30am
It critically depends on the product. For an e-tailer, more than once a month seems to work from the examples in other postings, but for B2B or B2C infrequent, higher value purchase, monthly or quarterly is more typical and should be sufficient to keep you at front-of-mind.
- Offer Choice to cater for different audiences, different levels of interaction with brand?
- Ask existing subscribers - why second guess it through Unsubs and Opens?
The B2B side of brands like Intel and IBM offer bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly choices with the more frequent communications targeted at end users and the less frequent at more senior staff interested in strategic initiatives.
Of course you need the resources to allow for that - bi-monthly seems like a good compromise in your case.
For a recent article I have written "20 decisions to devise or refine an e-newsletter" see:
Specialist e-marketing trainer, consultant and author
eResources and Books: www.marketing-online.co.uk
09 January 2004 09:54am
> - Ask existing subscribers - why second guess it through Unsubs
> and Opens?
I would not call it "second guess" - more like scientific technique to maximise ROI. Same technique can be applied to test various designs, products, marketing messages in the email.
I am all for giving customers choice on how frequent they want to receive emails, however experience shows that people rarely have time or energy to fill in their preferences.
09 January 2004 10:14am
Perhaps second guess is overstating it Alex, but I say this since it bugs me that relatively few companies ask customers what they think about their e-newsletters - it is all too easy to just rely on the stats. Why not ask?
One of the reasons Tesco.com and Lastminute.com e-newsletters are best-practice is that they combine analysis of e-mail metrics with customer surveys.
So we're both right!?
09 January 2004 10:23am
>So we're both right!?
Indeed we are - it is however difficult to explain that to some people who may think that allowing customers to choose frequency of contact would result in drop in number of people "contactable" in period of time most desireable to that person (ie most frequent). I found that using stats that show increase in drop offs and response helps present a much more persuasive argument.
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