Email Send Frequency: The Effects of Undermailing

Posted by Jen Ribble on

Finding the right send frequency is a challenge most email marketers face at some point. We all know that overmailing is a mistake, so conventional wisdom points to limiting your send frequency as the “safe” approach. Fewer emails should result less frustration from subscribers, and therefore fewer complaints, right?

As it turns out, there are plenty of problems associated with undermailing, as well.

Missed revenue opportunities: Perhaps the most obvious pitfall of undermailing is this: potential customers can’t buy from you if they don’t know about your products. By limiting your email sends, you decrease the chance of catching a subscriber in a buying mood and increase the chance of leaving money on the table.

Lower lifetime value: If your email program doesn’t provide timely, relevant content, subscribers may not not find it worthwhile to continue their relationship with your brand. The fewer emails you send, the fewer opportunities you have to prove the value of your email program.

Increased complaint rate: While sending less email is likely decrease the actual number of complaints, it may have the opposite effect on your complaint rate. With fewer total sends, each complaint has a greater impact on your complaint rate. To illustrate, if you send 4,000 emails and receive 100 complaints, your complaint rate is 2.5%. If you decrease your sends to 2,000 and see complaints drop to just 75, your complaint rate actually increases to 3.75%.

Lack of inbox presence: The inbox is a battlefield. The average subscriber receives more than six emails each day, 53% of which are promotional. If your emails are few and far between, subscribers may not recognize your brand or remember signing up to receive content from you. Sending too little will decrease your overall impressions and hurt your overall inbox mindshare.

Poor or inconsistent sender reputation: Infrequent senders may have difficulty building and maintaining their sender reputation, because sender reputation metrics only track 30 days worth of sending history. IP addresses without a consistent sending history will likely have their emails blocked because mailbox providers won’t have a clear indication of whether the email is spam.

Inability to maintain a clean list and avoid spam traps: Sending infrequently will make it difficult to identify abandoned email addresses in a timely manner. Abandoned email addresses can be recycled into spam traps in as little as 30 days, so the less often you send, the more likely you are to hit a spam trap.

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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