The Danger of Email Marketing Fatigue

Singles Day, Click Frenzy, Black Friday, Cyber Monday …. Is it all too much?

We have now seen a continued shopping trend of November retail sales taking dominance over Decembers.  Inside Retail reports that for the past three years, November has had the highest dollar and volume growth of any month – even dominating the traditional Christmas trade.  And is it any wonder?

The complete bombardment of communications in the form of emails / texts / digital communication around these sales is phenomenal.  On any average day we would expect to receive communication from online retailers to be simply a daily check in with the latest offering, however, in the last week alone we have seen these increase to 3 or 4 times daily.  At what point does this sort of communication become overkill, creating a negative connotation for the brands?

Understanding this is a year like no other and everyone is super keen to make every post a winner, the complete saturation of communication is certainly, in my case, exhausting.  Rather than check out the offers, it is a mass delete of anything associated with these brands – simply due to the communication overload.

Ros Hodgekiss, Community Manager at Campaign Monitor suggests that under or overestimating the frequency with which you need to communicate with customers, is one of the most frequently made mistakes of email marketing.   Averaging two – five, even daily can be considered the norm, depending on the specific retail area – so at what point do we see a diminishing return set in?

Data shared by Aaron Wiseman of SmartrMail illustrates the optimum send vs open vs sales rate.  It illustrates that companies sending bulk emails per week (excluding introductory / additional opt in emails) tend to find the ‘sweet spot’ at somewhere between 4-8 emails per month, approximately 2 per week. This number shows the highest open rate and click through rate than fewer or more emails sent through the month.  It also translates into sales, where we see that although not a doubling in sales, from those that send 1-4 emails per month, there is an increase for those that send up to 8 per month, but from there the additional emails do begin to have negative impacts and opens, clicks and sales all diminish.

We all know that frequency of messaging is key to a successful campaign.  However, there has to be a limit and a more measured allocation of budget to ensure frequency is not overwhelming to the point of complete overkill.  Looking for a solution to this, perhaps we should make it mandatory for subscribers to select their preferred frequency of communication level.  This then goes somewhat to addressing the email assault, the feeling of being spammed and the negative connotations that go along with this.