Finding the right balance of communication frequency for email campaigns can be complex. Here's how to ensure that subscribers are receptive to your messages this holiday season.

We're heading rapidly towards the holiday season. Known as a make-or-break time for retailers, it's also the busiest time of year for email marketing. Volumes skyrocket as companies try to maximize sales during this critical time.

The debate about how much email is too much has been raging for many years. It was a long-standing belief that sending too frequently would lead to complaints and deliverability challenges.

This was then questioned by the "send more email" crowd, who argued that sending more emails - but on a sporadic basis - results in greater revenue.


Though this claim has been around for several years, it has been gaining traction recently with a range of thought leaders and industry luminaries adopting it and speaking to the imperative to send more.


Recent research from the AIMIA Institute sounds a note of caution. Titled How to Create More Effective Brand Communication, the study indicates that although many senders can afford to send more frequently, they need to tread carefully.

Overwhelmed consumers will take steps to opt-out or block communications.


With risk of either over or under mailing, what should a marketer do? The glib answer is to advise testing to identify your optimal frequency.

We know very well though that things are never quite that simple. There are a number of factors that affect the receptivity of any given subscriber.

Here are my top five elements to consider in frequency optimization.

1. Customer journey

Where an individual is in their customer journey will have a significant impact on their receptiveness.

Triggering messages based on positive behavioral signals while suppressing messages on negative signals can augment without (Read more...).

2. Brand engagement

Some customers are more committed to and engaged with your brand. Even though increased communication can increase commitment, it can also have the opposite effect. I

ncreasing frequency for highly engaged customers and lowering for less engaged customers can help avoid negative behavioral responses from subscribers.

3. Product lifecycle

If customer journey has a short-cycle impact on frequency, product lifecycle has a long-cycle impact. Constant daily messaging makes little sense for an organization with a high cost, low purchase frequency product set. Adjust frequency based on where each customer is in their own lifecycle.

4. Content

Customers are far more open to quality content and will accept it more readily. However, if you don’t have the resources to create enough compelling content, adjust your content and contact calendar, rather than delivering sub-par messaging.

5. Seasonality

Whether or not the holidays are a major sales time for your organization, adjusting to seasonality can be a wise move. Send more during your busy season and pull back on the send volume in the off-season.

In conclusion

Though there is no doubt that many marketers can and should be sending more frequently, there are limits. Despite the easy advice, one size certainly does not fit all. For best results: know your business, know your customers, and understand how the two relate in order to effectively personalize and optimize your results.

Article image via Flickr.

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