I can understand why those more insulated from the coalface of email marketing may get confused with the seeming reluctance of some email marketers to increase their email frequency.
Taking a detached view of the numbers, might lead some to suggest that purely increasing the amount of emails you send to your list could increase your revenue.
This can sometimes work, and as long as you are closely monitoring open/click rates and engagement metrics like response recency, you could be OK.
When upping frequency, inbox 'placement' also needs close monitoring, as it can lead to less engagement and by default ending up in the junk folder.
The coalface marketer knows this, and it is this knowledge of the possible implications of over-mailing that hold many back.
If you haven’t hit junk box problems in the past, you haven’t been trying hard enough. Those that have hit the junk box and seen the negative effect on sales and responses will try to ensure they don’t go there again.
And that’s the issue. I don’t know a marketer that has reduced frequency for no reason. There has always been a negative impact that has stopped them in their tracks. But these issues are only the start of the process, not the brick wall that it seems at first.
You can’t get away from the fact that sending an extra email is going to give you extra sales. So how do you make the list work harder, without the subsequent risks of scuppering your medium and long term campaign responses?
Two words: segmentation and targeting
Your email list is not just one list full of people with average behaviour. That’s not what your list is. Your list might have people on it that open every email you send, and also some that open just occasionally. It might also have people on the list that have not opened for several years.
Conversely, your list will also contain people who purchased recently, or who purchase frequently, or who have never purchased at all.
Each of these profiles of people is likely to have a different requirement when it comes to frequency of communication (and different content too!). The closer you can get to the most suitable frequency for that person, the closer you can get to relevant and timely communication.
So now you have several separate segments, which could help you mail smarter, not harder. Let’s take the most responsive segment first, say those that have opened an email from you in the last seven days.
If your normal 'average' email frequency is weekly, then choose this more reactive segment to mail an extra campaign to! What’s wrong with adding those most likely to purchase as well?!
If you are targeting an extra campaign at those more likely to respond, you are going to get a good response rate. This will help improve the reputation of your IPs, leading to improved inbox placement in the future.
The diagram below, suggests some potential frequency segments. The detail of the segments will be different on a business by business basis, or even by product type, but you get the picture.
When it comes to managing mailing frequency, using simple segmentation to increase overall mailing volumes is a good place to start.
Frequency isn’t just about sending more or less emails to everyone; it’s about sending the right amount of emails, to the right people. The premise is simple; if people like your emails (they regularly open and engage with them), send them more; if they don’t, send them less.
If this all sounds like hard work, remember that email has its own special challenges as a channel. The most effective email is always going to be the one that ends up in the “inbox” and not the junk folder.
In the latest Sender Score Benchmark report by Return Path, they published some research showing how an IP address' reputation affects the inbox placement rate.
IP reputation can be affected by many elements and different email receivers measure this in slightly different ways. But the fact of the matter is, if you are treating your list with respect, mailing timely and relevant emails you are likely to have a good reputation and good inbox placement.
If you are still unsure of how sender reputation might be affecting your own email campaigns, take a look at your own sender score. All you’ll need is your IP addresses (your email service provider will provide this). Here is the link to the free tool.
I accept this is only part of the overall story, but the correct management of mailing frequency is a quick win and will easily give you a positive return for your extra effort in the segmentation. More emails in the inbox mean more money in the bank.