Biz Tips: This Is How To Tell If You’re Really Over-Messaging Your Email Subscribers

Biz Tips: This Is How To Tell If You’re Really Over-Messaging Your Email Subscribers


This Is How To Tell If You’re Really Over-Messaging Your Email Subscribers

As marketers work to engage and convert customers and prospects, we not only have to make sure we send the right messages, but also deliver them at the right frequency.

If you’re like most retailers, as you build email marketing campaigns, you probably worry about over-messaging. You don’t want people to unsubscribe, right? It feels wrong to send lots of emails to your list.

I’ve seen this reaction myself when I’m with SellUP clients. Far too often, when a retailer’s marketing team is creating an email marketing plan, the meeting goes something like this: “Maybe eight promotional emails per week is too much. What about five? Yeah, five feels about right.”

But here’s the thing: Marketers often place too much stock in how they feel about a marketing effort. They don’t pay attention to the data.

Maybe 10 promotional emails per week is too many.

Maybe the number of unsubscribes that results from this number of emails cancels out the value each email is generating in sales. But how can you be sure?

Use your data.

It takes the emotional element out of it, effectively simplifying the process. If data shows that every email generates $3,000 in sales, regardless of how many are sent in a given week, then keep sending — until you see a plateau, and a high rate of unsubscriptions.

In fact, according to a MarketingSherpa survey, 61 percent of users prefer receiving a promotional email at least weekly, 30 percent said they prefer receiving them weekly, and 15 percent said they wouldn’t mind receiving a promotional email daily. Most surprisingly, the study revealed that a full 91 percent of users do want to receive promotional emails.

So send away.

Because, despite the common fear that sending too many emails results in high unsubscription rates, the revenue almost always outvalues the loss of subscribers anyway. Would you let 15 people walk out of your store, but each hand you $1,000 as they left?

If 15 people unsubscribe after an email campaign generates $15,000 in sales, that’s essentially what just happened.

The big companies prove how effective persistent messaging can be. You may get annoyed after seeing eight Geico or Allstate Insurance ads while watching a two-and-a-half-hour football game on TV, but those companies are industry leaders for a reason.

These companies know that, when targeting prospects, there’s zero risk in over-messaging — unless it costs too much.

While primetime TV ads surely aren’t cheap, Geico knows they’re well worth it. They want to be the first company to come to your mind when you’re looking for a new insurance provider. And they’ve measured the true value of this exposure in terms of actual dollars.

Do the same when measuring your marketing campaigns.

Know that there’s no harm in continuously influencing someone who walks inattentively past your billboards, ignores your website banner ads, and looks past your promoted Facebook posts. Hey, maybe one will eventually click.

What you do need to consider, however, is cost of engagement.

How much is it costing you to cast a wide net?

When you make a bid to get in front of the eyes of a sea of prospects, you should be able to measure influence and, ultimately, conversions. Then, you can determine whether or not the cost of engagement is ultimately converting to sales at a profitable rate.

Ideally, you want to find the lowest cost per engagement when targeting prospects. For people who’ve never visited your site, never engaged with your brand on social media, this could be Facebook advertising or banner retargeting.

But for customers who’ve purchased from you in the last year or so, an email marketing campaign, which is typically more expensive to create, is probably worthwhile.

The point is that different methods should be used to target different groups, and expensive campaigns should be targeted at likely buyers — loyal customers.

However, it’s not totally black-and-white. Customers and prospects — at different stages of the purchase funnel and loyalty cycle — have different values.

Again, there’s no risk in over-messaging prospects.

But there is such a thing as over-messaging a loyal customer.

When someone is already a loyal, incredibly aware customer, it’s time to back off a bit. Don’t be in their face every single day, sending promotional emails and texts. They already know you’re there.

Find the right balance.

You not only have to consider how often you message loyal customers, but how you message them at all. If you’re using the right data tools, you should be gaining an understanding of each individual customer’s preferences based on past purchases. Using this data, you can make calculated, precise bids on loyal customers’ attention — because these are the people who are most likely to make a purchase if they like a new product or promotion.

When targeting loyal customers, it’s OK if cost per engagement is high, because you can trust that effectively reaching them will result in a high rate of conversions. More simply: It’s worth it.

The next time you think you’re over-messaging, stop and look at the data. That’s the only real way to know when it’s time to pull back.

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