How much email is too much?

This is a debate that has raged on since the dawn of email marketing and will continue to do so until the channel becomes extinct; so just how much is too much?

While there is no right or wrong answer, there are certainly practices which can guide your marketing strategy.

The first thing to realise is that if your email content is sub-standard, then one email is too much. On the other hand, if content is engaging and provides genuine value to the recipient, the number of emails you send almost becomes an irrelevant statistic. A good mantra to work by is that you can send email as often as your content allows.

Also, make sure that a wide variety of email templates are used to avoid the creative elements of your campaign appearing stagnated. Simple changes can have a drastic effect on engagement.

Segmentation is paramount

Segmentation is an essential part of any email marketing campaign and also plays a key role in finding the right sending frequency. Despite the fact that targeted emails have a 40 per cent higher open rate, more than 80 per cent of marketers send the same content to their entire subscriber list. By creating highly bespoke, ultra-targeted content, the sending threshold increases exponentially.

While these tips can help to safely increase the number of emails you can send and while there is no clearly defined figure which constitutes ‘too much’, there certainly is such a thing.

A recent study found that 69 per cent of users unsubscribe from a businesses or non-profits if they send too many emails and there is definitely a negative correlation with frequency versus opting out, so finding a balance is critical.

Finding the right amount

You can use several methods to help you find the sweet spot. First, consider the number of times that your audience purchases your product. If they buy something from you once per month, then 12 emails per year is a good starting point.

Then consider the amount of information your readers need to make a purchase decision. Some decisions require a lot of detailed information, while others are much easier to make.

Also, tie your email sending frequency into your content. For example, a quarterly financial report only requires four emails per year; however a reader which has signed up to a daily horoscope can expect an email per day.

Finally, if your message is one that essentially never changes, then obviously fewer emails will be required. However, if your business and therefore your content change on a regular basis, it makes sense to increase the number of emails being sent.

Refine, refine, refine

Another way of tackling the question is by considering the following statement: ‘Anything that is not working is too much’.

Don’t simply rest on your laurels; if click through rates, engagement figures and sales are not where they should be, address the problem rather than persevering.

The key is to adopt a data-led approach; find what is working and do more of it; find what is not working and find out why it isn’t.

Avoid feast and famine

Don’t fall into the trap of starving your subscribers and then hitting them with a monthly blast. Instead, stagger your email to ensure a steady flow of business activity. Staggering your blasts will also allow you to carry out a more granular analysis of what is working and what isn’t, making adjustments as you go, rather than hitting your entire list at once and then realising you could have done something better.

As you can see, there is no magic answer. There is no failsafe figure; however, it is certainly true that you can send too many and it is equally true that you can send too little. By analysing your goals, objectively looking at what your readership wants from your emails, providing well targeted, engaging content and consistently refining your processes, you should be able to find a balance that works for your business.