Setting recipients' expectations during your welcome message is a useful strategy. It is also important to consider email frequency when you create and maintain an email marketing program. Sending email too frequently can cause recipient exhaustion, leading to increased complaints and unsubscribes.
The "right" frequency
The "right" frequency is something that you must find for each marketing campaign. Test different frequencies to find the right one for any specific marketing campaign.
Note: Intended changes in frequency should be carefully considered, especially around holidays.
The following tips are provided by one of the biggest US free-mailers:
- If a recipient goes more than a week without opening an email, switch them to monthly messages.
- If a recipient goes more than a month without opening an email, send them a "Do you want to continue?" email and wait. If you get no response or a negative response, stop sending email to this contact.
- If traffic to a recipient bounces, send a "Do you want to continue?" email. However, wait for at least a day and meanwhile suspend all other deliveries to that recipient.
Note: You don't need to send a "continue" email if the bounce is a 400® or 500 refusal code.
Engagement as a metric
As a metric, engagement is designed to give an idea of how engaged your contacts are with a marketing campaign. Engagement is typically measured in clicks and opens but can also include metrics such as purchases on your website and phone calls to your call center.
If engagement is too low, look at the age of the contact lists, the email frequency, and contact list segmentation.
- A good open rate for a email campaign is 10% or higher.
- A good click rate is 2% or higher.
Note: The rates vary depending on many factors, but these numbers offer a good baseline.
Engagement as used by ISPs
Engagement is also a term that ISPs use to describe the metrics that determine IP address and domain reputations. ISPs that own their portals (such as Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, and Gmail) have a tremendous amount of data in regard to their customers' interactions with their mail. These ISPs are able to see the following data:
- Mail that is moved to the spam folder
- Mail that is moved out of the spam folder
- Whether the "from" address is in the recipients' address book
- If an email is deleted unread
ISPs can also see and measure a great deal of data that they do not share.
AOL, Comcast, Gmail, and Outlook.com agree on the following metrics definitions:
- Open - Although "open" is a less relevant metric (because it can include images that are downloaded by default), ISPs still track it.
- Reply - A reply to an email is considered a strong signal of engagement.
Tip: Do not use a
- Not junk - Moving an email from the spam folder to the inbox is a positive signal. One "not junk" click on AOL is enough to reset previous behavior.
- Move to folder - If an email is moved, it means that the recipient cares about the message.
- Add to address book - When a recipient saves an address, the sender matters to the recipient. Normally, the presence of the sender's "from" address in the address book bypasses all other spam filtering.
Tip: Use a consistent "from" address.
- Delete without open
- Move to junk - Two "junk" clicks on AOL are enough to automatically place that sender's messages in the spam folder from then on for that recipient.
For more information, see the following websites:
- Mythbusting deliverability and engagement
- Engaging recipients critical for delivery
- Reputation: part 2
- Ow, Quit It!
Configure frequency control
Frequency control is used to make sure that any single contact doesn't receive too many emails in a given period of time. Frequency control does not suppress duplicates on a flexible database. It only determines whether a email was sent to an email address.
How a day is defined
Frequency control runs on a 24-hour period. For example, frequency control is set to:
- Maximum Messages per Contact: 1
- In the past: 1 Days
If a recipient received an email today at 5:00 PM, frequency control prevents the recipient from receiving another email until tomorrow after 5:00 PM.
If your email address is in any database in the organization, and you have frequency control active in the organization settings, you don't receive a test message if your address surpassed the allotted number of messages in the frequency control settings.
For example, if you have frequency control set to Maximum Messages per Contact: 5 In the past: 1 Days, and you sent yourself five messages that day, you don't receive a test message to your address in the Send to Individual(s) field of the Send a Test page. In the Single Mailing Report, your email address shows as suppressed.