By Ken Magill with Dela Quist
When it comes to commercial email there are usually two camps in a typical organization: the folks in sales who need to make their numbers and who tend to want to send more email, and the folks in marketing who want to protect the brand and who get squeamish about the possibility of annoying customers with too much messaging.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, any company can ramp up its email volume fairly significantly in a way that allows these two camps to co-exist peacefully. How? Well, just a little more email per subscriber can mount to a significant jump in email volume and related sales organization wide.
What do we mean by a little? One a week. Seriously, just one a week.
The goal is to engineer things so that at the end of the project everyone on the company’s email list is getting one more email a week than they’re getting now.
People who are receiving multiple emails a week get one more. People who are receiving no emails per week get one more than they were receiving previously, as well.
Typically, an organization will have suppressed 30 to 40 percent of its email file due to inactivity. But there’s gold in many of those inactive addresses.
Yes, there’s gold in inactive addresses but there are potential email deliverability pitfalls as well so make sure that you get good advice from your agency or deliverability partner before you reintroduce them (here’s a small tip – don’t ask them if you should do it, ask them what you should do if you had to do it). Oh, and this should not need to be said, but do not EVER send email to people who have previously unsubscribed.
Be aware, though, that when increasing email frequency, even by one a week, open rates per send will drop, because inactives open at a lower level – but their click-to-open rate is higher. This is nothing to get worked up about, because engagement the total number of openers and clickers you get every month with rise. A lot.
The way to look at opens is not per send, but over the course of a year. Forty to sixty percent of a file failing to open email within a 12-month period is normal (we recommend a target of 50%). Whatever the percentage of inactives on your list is, if that number begins creeping up, it’s time to start working on the inactives.
Notice we didn’t say stop mailing them. We said start working on them, a strategy for which is outlined here.
Adding one email a week to the entire file and working on re-engaging inactives are two projects that will naturally be coordinated.
However, the only way to really know the answer is to test read the data and test again. With a well-thought-out strategy for reactivating lapsed subscribers in place, adding one email a week should not result in any deliverability blips. Meanwhile, active subscribers will get just one more message per week—no big deal. And people who are currently getting no email will get just one email per week—no big deal.
But the effect on sales across all channels is likely to be a very big deal.
In our next post, we’ll cover what those emails should convey and testing strategy.