Increasing the frequency of your email marketing communications can oftentimes decrease response rates. Recipients become numb to the brand and ignore the emails—or, worse yet, they become annoyed that their inboxes are littered and ultimately click the “unsubscribe” button.
Identifying, monitoring, and adjusting to your target’s frequency tolerance rate (FTR)—the recipient’s tolerance for the frequency of a brand’s email communications—can help keep your audience captivated and engaged. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you communicate with clients:
1. Tolerance rate can vary greatly. A recipient’s FTR varies by category, content, and life events. “Breaking news” or exclusive offers/invitations tend to garner a higher FTR. Content that is relevant to a recipient’s current life event can also yield a high FTR, but it’s a steep bell curve.
For instance, if a recipient is conducting a job search, his/her FTR will spike during the course of that search: opening, reading, and then downloading materials that can help with the search, responding to subscription services related to the search, etc. Once the job search is completed, the recipient’s email FTR for job search content significantly declines.
2. Increase email FTR with behavioral targeting. Adjust email content based on a recipient’s historical behavior and/or the next logical sequence in a recipient’s life event.
Let’s continue to use the job search example: What if the recipient’s response rate to job search-related content decreases significantly? One logical explanation is the recipient has completed the job search and started new employment. The recipient’s email FTR for job search content has bottomed out and the risk of unsubscribing is high. Shifting email content to successful job transitions and moving up the career ladder may be more relevant and help lift FTR and response.
3. Topical content is key. Create email content that is relevant and topical. Topical content can prove to be very effective as seen in social media. Facebook data on its Subscribe feature showed that commentary and analysis on “current events and breaking news” receives three times as many likes and two times as many shares as the average post. Creating and inserting topical email content into an email communications stream can seem disruptive for marketers who have a plan and want to stick with it. My advice: Test it. You’ll like it.