Whether or not to send more email to increase revenue is can be a touchy subject.
Are you one send away from hitting the last nerve with customers, or will the next email be the one that pushes them to make a purchase? That seems like a stressful balancing act, with both retention and profit hanging in the balance.
Before you start to tiptoe across a swaying email marketing tightrope, let’s answer some age-old questions: Can you send too many emails? Or does sending more often make you more money? This recent article by Lissa Harris from Entrepreneur magazine provides a compelling argument for why this might be true.
Let’s dive into both sides of this digital debate to see which approach brings the best results.
Will More Email Annoy Your Customers?
That’s probably the top concern for anyone considering a boost in the number of emails they send out, and rightfully so. There are about 269 billion emails sent every day, so it can be disconcerting to think about adding to that number.
Just think about it – how many emails do you get in a day? Do you want more?
Many marketers worry they’ll scare customers away or make them angry by sending one too many emails. This can be a valid concern for non profit or donation-based businesses. And if growing your subscription lists and increasing open rates are important goals, sending more emails may hinder those goals.
And what if — gulp — sending more email leads to your subscribers sending you the digital middle finger? We’re talking about the dreaded S word: Spam.
Thinking about your customer’s overall experience is an essential part of email marketing, so it only makes sense that so many marketers make this argument. But there are a few ways to address that concern.
One way to ensure they only receive what they want — and nothing else — is to segment them into lists based on email frequency. Send a survey to ask how many emails they’re interested in receiving per month or week, then use those findings to send each list that exact number.
You could also include those options on your sign up form in the form of list choices (ie, Weekly or Monthly lists that users can choose from).
It’s not a bad idea, considering there are stats out there that say 43% of people want to receive email less frequently and nearly 46% unsubscribed because they received too many emails from the same sender (bear in mind, though, this was a survey of 452 people – not a very large sample).
This demonstrates that you listen and care about your customer’s needs and wants, which are both important factors in retention and repeat conversions. It takes a little effort to figure out how many emails to send to each group, but if staying on your customer’s good side is a top concern, there are ways to make it happen and increase revenue.
But also, the answer is yes. More email will annoy some people. But is it worth it?
Why More Email Is Better
And then there’s the other side of the argument — one that encourages you to keep those emails coming.
Marketers who take this approach have moved beyond that anxious feeling around annoying their customers and focus on the results of sending more often and the fact that email marketing has an ROI of 3,800 percent. That can equate to some serious revenue.
Here’s a breakdown of this mindset:
Sending more email will reach more customers in the long run because it gives them additional chances to interact with your campaigns. Those interactions lead to improved chances for them to do business with you over the long term, which will ultimately increase revenue.
Even if someone doesn’t open or click on your emails every time, you’re still reaching them even if they just see your name in their inbox.
In Harris’s article, Alchemy Worx CEO Dela Quist advises thinking about email marketing like a TV ad: You might not go check them out or even watch the whole thing, but it does increase overall awareness of the brand. And that brand recognition could lead to a buying decision down the line.
Still breaking into a cold sweat when you think about blasting your customers with more emails? That’s perfectly okay. You were probably also the one who was against posting more than once a day/week on social media, and look how far you’ve come. We’re all so proud!
What’s important to realize, Quist says in the article, is that emails aren’t physical letters piling up in someone’s home. If one of your subscribers doesn’t want to read the third message you’ve sent them this week, all they have to do is hit delete. No harm done.
It’s an approach many big brands are taking. We can tell you from personal experience that J.Crew definitely does this – they are not afraid to hammer you with lots of sale reminders and updates – and in all honesty it worked. While we may not be subscribed any longer due to a massive inbox purge, we definitely bought a thing or two while we were on that list.
The most compelling quote from this article from Quist, we think, is this: “‘What we found was, no matter what we did, more email generated more revenue. You could not stop that happening,’ he says.” Well, snap.
Do you know what company sends the most emails per user? Any guesses? It’s Groupon. As the largest digital coupon provider, we’d say they know a thing or two about what works when it comes to digital marketing that works.
The article also makes arguments that excessive segmentation isn’t necessary (ie, make your messages good and compelling, worry less about micromanaging your list) and that hitting the spam button has more to do with your subscribers overall opinion of your business.
Still not sold on the argument that more is better? Test it. Commit to sending more emails for a set period of time — like six months — and compare your income results to the previous six months to see if you’ve found a way to increase revenue.
One thing those who are on both sides can agree on is that you shouldn’t send emails just to send them. Your campaigns need to have a purpose, provide valuable content, incorporate good design practices, and represent your brand.
Don’t throw email marketing best practices out the window in order to crank out more newsletters. You could end up losing subscribers who would have otherwise been engaged and also hurt your reputation.
Sending more often means putting thought behind creating additional content your audience wants to see. Focus on key areas like subject line, the “From” field, responsive design, short-and-sweet content, and clear Calls to Action. The number of emails you send won’t help if you ignore those key areas.
And the Winner Is…
Sending more emails is better — if the main goal is to increase revenue.
Yes, you run the risk of losing subscribers and lowering your average open and click-through rates. But if your goal is to make more money using email marketing — over performance metrics and subscriber retention — sending more emails is going to help you in the long run.
Tell us what you think! Do you agree that sending more email will increase revenue?
– Lauren Dowdle is an award-winning writer and magazine editor based in Nashville, Tenn. Her nearly decade-long writing career has covered everything from landscaping to marketing.