Inbox Insider: E-mail frequency, when it's too much and when it's not enough

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Frequency is a big challenge for e-mail marketers. How often you should send an e-mail to get a consumer's attention and to increase response rates is delicately balanced by how much silent time you should use to give your customer a break.

What you should not do is e-mail too much — it leads to bad brand recognition and to the possibility of opting out. I recently made a purchase at Victoria's Secret and actually unchecked the “opt in to receive promotion” box. But, something must not have registered — shortly after my purchase, I began receiving e-mails with discounts.

I decided to do a test and see if these e-mails would slow if I did not open them and, after about a month, they have not. I have not opened or clicked on any communications from the brand and still, I am getting almost an e-mail a day with various different offers in the subject line. I think that the brand needs to take a lesson in frequency. Just because I made a purchase does not mean that I'd like to hear from them daily. In fact, I am more likely to opt out if the frequency keeps up.

Virgin America on the other hand seems to e-mail me when the time is right. I fly with them six to 10 times each year and they seem to know just exactly how to get me. They send me e-mails about once a month, letting me know about updates, sales, special offers on-board and their newly developing loyalty club, of which I am a member.

The key to a smooth e-mail plan is all in knowing when to send.

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