Email Send Frequency: The Effects of Overmailing

Posted by Jen Ribble 

Email send frequency has been the subject of much debate among marketers over the years. In a recent blog post, we discussed the pitfalls of undermailing—many of which may come as a surprise. The consequences of overmailing are more widely recognized, but they’re no less critical to your email program.

Decreased engagement: If subscribers become annoyed with the volume of email from your brand, they have several options for dealing with the situation. Perhaps the most likely action is no action—they will simply start ignoring your email, leading to a less engaged subscriber list.

Increased opt-outs: Disgruntled subscribers may go a step beyond ignoring your emails and actually unsubscribe from your email program. Once you have lost a subscriber, you have lost any potential revenue opportunities and instead left them with a bad customer experience.

More total complaints: Higher send volume may not lead to an increased complaint rate, but this doesn’t necessarily mean your subscribers are happy. With more frequent sends, each individual complaint has less impact (mathematically) on your overall complaint rate. If you’re only looking at complaint rate, you could miss an important indicator of decreasing customer satisfaction. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to your total number of complaints, as well.

Reduced visibility for all subscribers: As complaints and unsubscribes increase, your sender reputation and inbox placement are likely to suffer. Mailbox providers will begin to take a second look at your incoming mail, and may decide to filter or block your incoming messages. With less email landing in the inbox, your brand will experience limited brand exposure, missed revenue opportunities, and lower lifetime value—not just for subscribers who have disengaged, but for your entire list.

Want to learn more about sending frequency’s effect on your email program? Download our latest report, Frequency Matters: The keys to optimizing email send frequency.


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About Jen Ribble

With more than 15 years of marketing and PR experience, Jen Ribble is passionate about the art of storytelling and the science of creating high quality, data-driven content. In her current role as Director of Public Relations for Return Path, Jen is responsible for elevating the company’s reputation in the marketplace, crafting engaging thought leadership content, enhancing customer relationships, and driving inbound leads. In her spare time, Jen is an aspiring chef and food lover, a movie fan, and a travel junkie.

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