Given how many branded messages people receive every day via email marketing, it should come as no surprise that email fatigue is a very real concern. Brands of all sizes see the symptoms from time to time, though they may not know the diagnosis: falling ROI, gradually decreasing engagement, fewer clicks and opens. At Site Impact, we know that email success relies not just on the results of any one campaign, but on making sure that you’re hitting the balance on how often your recipients want to hear from you. There are some easy method to use to prevent and combat email fatigue, and the benefits are big: engaged audiences, steadily high clicks and opens, and ROI that goes up over time instead of decreasing. With that in mind, we’re bringing you the basics.
The first place to look if you think that your audiences might already be suffering from email fatigue--at least to a small degree--is the frequency with which you’re sending emails. Now the ideal frequency is not a cut-and-dry figure, and it certainly isn’t one size fits all; there will be some people on your lists who prefer only to hear from you a couple of times per month, and some engaged enough to want to hear from you throughout the week. But you can start with an overall figure by doing a little testing. Separate your list into common-sense groupings, by demographics for example, and look at the data for response rates (opens, clicks, number of times the email is opened, etc) during periods where you’ve sent at different frequencies. You can often use this method to establish a baseline amount, both within demographic groups and for your audience as a whole.
Preference centers are a great way for your subscribers to set things the way they specifically like them, in terms of how often they hear from you and what kind of messages they receive. This is a major tool for preventing email fatigue, since it empowers your customers to avoid receiving more from you than they want. Ideally, you should make this preference center as accessible as possible: include a link in emails, and provide the tool up front at signup as well. If you build a preference center, send out an email to your existing list and make sure they know that they can easily manage the number of communications they get from you.
Once you’ve tackled finding out which frequency works in general, and letting your audience pick and choose how often and what messages they want to hear from you, there’s a final step to take to prevent email fatigue from taking over: ask the people who seem to be the most subject to it. Send out a follow-up email reminding those people that they have options when it comes to how often they hear from you via your preference center, and consider offering an incentive for them in return for filling out a survey about their preferences. Nobody can tell you better than a disengaged audience member what’s causing them to disengage, after all.
By taking these three simple steps, you can prevent the declines in clicks, opens, and ROI that signal that your email subscribers are beginning to suffer from email fatigue. Of course, this is not a on-time deal; in the case of steps one and three, it’s something you should be doing regularly. But by offering your subscribers an easy way to control how often they hear from you and what kind of messages they receive, along with getting the straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth word on where you’re going wrong, you can tailor your frequency to make sure you’re striking the right balance: often enough to stay connected, but not so often that your messages become overbearing. Contact Site Impact to learn how we can help you sort through the process.