Email Overkill: Are You Overloading Your Subscribers With Messages?
There was a time when I pretty much shunned all email marketing attempts. I would unsubscribe to everything and refuse to provide my real email in most online forms. In the last few years, I've softened quite a bit in my approach, mostly because I find real value in what many of these subscriptions offer. I've found myself actively subscribing to the emails of restaurants and companies I like.
My biggest complaint, however, is that often it seems like these companies get a little too excited about having my email and start sending way too many messages. I know that everyone has a different tolerance, but for me, one email a week is about as often as I can handle without it feeling like I'm getting flooded.
Let me use Pizza Hut as an example. Since I buy pizza from them about three times a month, I'm subscribed to their email list. I actually use and appreciate their promotions, but (from my count) they're sending me an email every three days. This is too much. I mean, seriously, how much pizza can one web developer consume? (On second thought, don't answer that.)
The point is that they just don't have that much to say. The actual content of their emails ends up feeling repetitive and I read them less and less. Plus, when I'm actually interested in ordering, it's annoying to have to wade through three or four emails to find something I'm interested in; I'm more likely just to go directly to the site.
It turns out it's not just me. According to a 2012 study, 69% of email users unsubscribe because the organization sends too many emails. Also, frequency and engagement are negatively correlated--as frequency goes up, clickthroughs go down.
On the flip side, companies like Dine-In Delivery have gone completely AWOL on email. They used to send me a deal consistently once a month, and I used it more often than not. I've only received one email from them in the last six months. That's way too few. By abandoning (or significantly reducing) their email strategy, they've lost my business almost completely.
So how much is too much? While it obviously varies in every situation, I'm going to actually give an opinion here. For me, the sweet spot is between once a week and once a month for most consumer businesses. Any less, and you're probably losing out on business; any more and you're becoming background noise.
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