All marketers and business owners want their customers to engage with their brand, but how do you actually achieve more customer engagement? I once read that it costs approximately six to seven times more to win a new customer than it does to keep hold of an existing one. Stats like this prove that engaging existing contacts is paramount not only to your email marketing success, but to your business success too.
The DMA recently released a discussion paper about measuring email engagement and although the paper wasn’t primarily focused on ways to increase engagement, they did suggest a few possible approaches.
In today’s post I’m going to examine the first of the ideas they put forward; increased email frequency. Don’t worry; we’ll get to the other recommendations in later posts. Before I dig deep into the topic of email frequency I thought you may like to see the other recommendations that the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) made so that you know what we’ll be covering in our next few posts.
So here are the suggestions the DMA put forward for the most obvious ways to increase your number of engaged customers:
- Increased email frequency
- Improved offers
- Better offer targeting
- Use of targeted trigger emails
Have you ever considered that just seeing your email is enough to give a subtle reminder to your recipients that they have a connection with your business? The value of this contact should certainly not be ignored nor underestimated by marketers.
So, should you consider upping the frequency of your email sends?
Dan Zarrella, the Social Media Marketing Scientist over at Hubspot says that the more you send the better. Dan’s research has found that there is (perhaps surprisingly) no drop-off in click-through rates when the frequency of emails is increased. In fact, his research has shown that ‘the more you send, the lower your unsubscribe rate’.
I’m guessing that if the idea of sending more emails has ever crossed your mind then it is the potential backlash of unsubscribes that you were probably most worried about. Of course, if you do decide to send more emails yourself as a result of this post then you should keep an eye on your own statistics as Dan’s research might not be 100% transferable across all sectors and industries. However, you shouldn’t be scared to make the decision to up your sends because of what you feel you might do if you were the recipient; instead, important marketing decisions like this should be made by trying, watching and learning.
Striking the balance
In order to get the most from your email marketing efforts, you should refrain from sending out irregular and sporadic correspondence. Effective email marketing (in fact all marketing) is about continuity.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not advocating a hourly email to your database just to ensure that you remain front of mind; there is a delicate balance that you’ll have to strike that falls somewhere between sporadic and patchy email messages and blasting your email contacts with low value sends to the point that they get so frustrated and opt out of receiving further correspondence.
How Much Is Too Much?
Again, sorry to disappoint but there’s not necessarily a definitive answer to this one although you may be interested to hear about some recent research by Hubspot. They examined clickthrough (CTR) rates based on the number of times a list was contacted a month. They found that once a brand is emailing their list 4 or 5 times a month, there is no sharp decline in click rates if they progress to sending correspondence daily.
Christopher Knight, Publisher & CEO of EzineArticles.com suggests that e-marketers should increase the frequency of their emails whilst also reducing the volume. I couldn’t agree more with this point, he says that ‘no one has time to read 4-15 features or articles per newsletter…so reduce the content volume and increase your frequency’. Therefore, instead of sending a colossal email bi monthly, consider sending a shorter, snappier and impactful send weekly or fortnightly in an effort to improve your brands engagement with your customers.