Internet marketing tips for your small business.

How Often Can I Email My Customers?

I want to email our clients every time we run a special promotion—it doesn’t cost us anything.”

Just about every time we approach the subject of email marketing with clients, someone in the room makes the point that email marketing is (nearly) free and assumes that you can use it as often as you’d like. No stamps or printing costs to pay, so let’s double down on this email thing!

Even before I, or someone else on my team can chime in, someone in the room will make the point that they don’t want to abuse their customer’s inbox. A reaction we’re always very thankful for.

Junk email hits a nerve with almost everyone. And no matter how great your special promotion or announcement is, it can be construed as junk if it’s coming on the heels of nine other messages from your company.

This Sunday, I came across a great article by Jay Goltz called “How Often Can You Send Email Promotions?” in the NY Times. It was no surprise to me that this discussion came up within his marketing planning meeting. However, it was refreshing to see the thought process unfold within his team as they tried to identify the sweet spot of how often to email their clients.

As we discussed in a recent article, frequency is a key ingredient of every marketing campaign. You have to get frequency right in your email promotions, and that means planning.

By the very nature of there being a sweet spot, you know that you don’t want to err too far on the side of mailing too often or mailing too infrequently and risking not being “top of mind” when the customer is ready to do business with you.

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that specifies how often to email your customer list. The short answer is as much as your clients will appreciate hearing from you without exceeding that limit.

Of course, the answer will undoubtedly depend on the nature of your business. Groupon  and ebay customers sign up in droves to receive real time alerts on a daily basis. Our clients would unsubscribe en mass if we pinged them daily. “Website working the way you want? Getting leads from it? OK, we’ll check in again tomorrow just to make sure.”

Knowing that the goal is to email your client base as often as they’d appreciate hearing from you, I want to share a trick for increasing the tolerance your clients will have for your mailings.

Deliver value, not promotion.

It’s possible to increase the times you contact your client by sending them valuable information they want. It can contain promotional messages about your company, but it doesn’t have to; they’ll remember who sent them the valuable information.

We very rarely send a promotion or advertisement to our Juicy Results email list. Instead, we send a monthly newsletter full of free advice for small business owners. We don’t send breaking news about our company or an exciting new client; we inform our loyal subscribers when we’re holding valuable (and often free) events that they may be interested in. Of course, these emails may highlight the numerous ways we can help small businesses—but that’s the commercial that accompanies the programming.

Our promise to subscribers is simple. We’ll earn your subscription with every email we send. It will be valuable to you as a small business marketer or you can unsubscribe.

Ask yourself, who is your ideal subscriber? What kind of value can you deliver them on a regular basis. Think expert advice, timely information and exclusive offers.

When you deliver great value on a regular basis, not only will you retain your subscribers, but you will educate them that you are worth paying attention to. And attention eventually equates to business.

Jeremy Pound
Written By Jeremy Pound

February 3 2011 in Blog, Strategic Advice, Tips + Tricks

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