And how do you know

“Early in my career I realized customers are hands down my most important asset. When you get them, do everything in your power to make sure they don’t slip away.

I also learned early on that you will not keep them for life.  You may keep them for a couple of years, but value alone won’t keep them hanging around.”

That is the opinion of noted marketer Dan Kennedy.  All businesses need a constant stream of customers coming through the door, both new and old.

The challenge is “how to get them?”  Related to this, businesses need to strike a fine balance between staying top of mind and relevant to their customers without overwhelming them or coming across as spammy.

It might surprise you that email marketing is still one of the most effective tools you can use to win customers.  Surprise you because we flick aside most of the constant stream of emails we find in our Inbox.  But if you research the experts, and I do, you’ll find the opinions are to the contrary.  I quoted some of those experts in my last email.

Here's another - Hubspot found that most marketers are already on board with the importance of email marketing, and are working hard to refine the nuances of their strategy - including figuring out what the right sending frequency is for their email campaigns.

And one more, and importantly, he suggests how you will really know.

Well known marketer Bob Bly, was asked – “how much e-mail is too much?”  His answer:

People have lots of opinions about this issue, which they support with both passionate and logical arguments. 

The problem is: their opinions are wholly subjective.

The fact is there's an easy way to objectively and accurately determine the optimal e-mail frequency for your online subscribers.

How does it work?

Well, every time you send another e-mail blast to your list, a small portion of your subscribers will opt out of your list.

Why?

They decide that your content is no longer of value to them ... or you are doing too much selling ... or they don't like your style ...or you are e-mailing them too often.

The "opt-out rate" is a Web metric that you can measure: the percentage of online subscribers who unsubscribe from your list per e-mail blast.

A 0.1% opt-out rate means that if you have 10,000 online subscribers, 10 unsubscribed after getting your most recent e-mail.

When your opt-out rate is around 0.1% or less, you can rest assured that you are not sending too many e-mails to your list too often.  If you were, the opt-out rate would be higher.

On the other hand, when your opt-out rate gets much above 0.2% to 0.4%, you are losing subscribers at too rapid a rate.

For instance, if you have 10,000 subscribers and an opt-out rate of 1%, you lose 100 subscribers every time you send an e-mail to your list.

You should measure and keep track of your opt-out rates with every e-mail you send.

Adjust your e-mail frequency, ratio of sales pitches to content, message length, and topics until your opt-out rate hovers around 0.1% to 0.2% or less.

Now, watch what happens if you increase the e-mail frequency - for instance, go from one e-mail per week to two e-mails per week.

If you get a sharp upward spike in the opt-out rate - double or more - your subscribers are telling you they don't want to hear from you that often. And you should probably eliminate the extra e-mail. On the other hand, if you add an extra e-mail per week and the opt-out rate does not rise significantly, you are safe in continuing at the higher frequency.

But should you? YES.

We have lots of preconceived notions about what our market wants -- and doesn't want.

And one of these preconceived notions is that people don't want too much e-mail.

But when the opt-out rate is low, your subscribers are telling you they DO want to hear from you often via e-mail.

That's important, because the more times you can reach out to your list with a valuable offer or content, the more money you make online. 

My colleague Amy Africa, a top consultant in B2B e-marketing, says that one of the most common online marketing mistakes is not e-mailing your list frequently enough.

And by making that mistake, you are leaving money on the table.

Now Bob has a much bigger list than most of us, but that means he is more likely to have good idea of what works, and what doesn’t.  Bob emails about 6 days a week, 5 days with useful information, and the sixth with a sales pitch.  And it works well for him.  www.bly.com

I do think customers are our most important asset, and when they stop buying, they stop being customers.  The keys are, knowing exactly who is your target market, the subject line which tells them your message is about them, the benefits you offer them, how you craft your email for that market, and how you follow up.

The key point is you should be testing how your audience responds to your email broadcasts. Don’t be afraid to lose a few people, you can’t satisfy everyone, but definitely watch for trends – for example if a certain email in your broadcast sequence produces more unsubscribers it may need to be deleted or delayed or changed in some way.

And if you email infrequently, say less than once per month, then those on your list may forget who you are, and unsubscribe from this unknown source.

But keep communicating. There are plenty of cases where an email may not lead to a sale until six months later when the prospect finally has a need to buy. You must be in their “headspace” when it comes time to buy.  Relevance is more important than frequency.

I’ve been working with clients on “3 email” pitch for any sales offer, a series of 3 emails each examining the issue from the client’s perspective, demonstrating the benefits of my client’s offer, overcoming objections and bringing a sense of urgency to the Call for Action.  It works, but I can’t claim to be the originator.  I’ve “borrowed” from people such as Tom Poland and Ryan Deiss.  And why have I borrowed?  The ‘repeated’ technique has been proven to work.

If you would like to discuss with me how you might do that?  Book a Strategy Consult here.

© Copyright 2015 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective 

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