How much is too much email marketing?

Steve White 3 mins

Over the years I’ve had many conversations regarding email frequency. “I think we might be sending too much email” and “we need to be careful not to bombard our customers with email” are both statements I’ve heard numerous times.

However, I have never heard a client or a colleague say “we need to be careful that our television advert isn’t seen too many times by our customers” or “we need to be mindful that we don’t bombard our customers with our outdoor advertising campaign”.

So why do marketers worry about the number of emails they send? After all, their customers have opted-in to receive them.

As far as I’m concerned, the debate around email frequency is a non-starter. If you have a rich and varied email programme with good quality content that your recipients have agreed to receive then you should be pushing your email frequency as much as you can.

It comes down to simple mathematics. The more emails you send, the more email recipients will engage with your brand (opens and clicks) and land on your website, which should then bring about more conversions. Yes, you will probably have more recipients hitting the ‘unsubscribe’ button, but if you’re topping up the bucket with a robust email capture programme at a faster rate than you’re losing email recipients, what’s the problem? If you see the number of unsubscribes increase to a rate that you’re uncomfortable with then pull back the frequency a little.

Before pushing frequency limits, it’s important to review the content you’re sending in your email, as this could also be impacting your unsubscribe rate. Are you sending existing and prospect customers relevant content? Your programme should have a healthy mix of promotional messages and value-added content, as well as a mix of formats, including postcards and newsletters.

When making decisions about email frequency it is also crucial not to fall into the trap of basing all decisions purely on open, click and conversion rates. Although these metrics are important measures, there are other factors that should be considered. For example, email marketing isn’t just a direct-sales vehicle, it’s also a brand building tool. Even if the email sits unopened in the inbox it can still have a big impact and nudge the recipient to act via an alternative channel.

The below diagram from Alchemy Worx, illustrates this point perfectly. Recipients who were sent an email, but didn’t open, still generated more revenue than those customers who didn’t receive an email at all! For example, whenever we send an email on behalf of our large retail clients we always see uplift in store footfall, organic and direct web traffic, as well as positive trends for both PPC and affiliate revenue.

So if you’re achieving healthy KPIs (both directly and indirectly), why not increase the frequency of your emails? You could potentially be turning your back on significant revenue.

I hope this article provides you with food for thought and an alternative view on what can be a highly debatable and complicated subject.

If you’d like more information or advice on creating a rich and varied email programme that delivers ROI, please contact us today.


Red C is a full-service email marketing agency who specialise in creating hardworking emails that drive engagement, response and ROI.


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