Please tell me that I’m not the only one who suffers from inbox burn-out: Marketers sending too much information, too often, with too little value. I begin to regret opting in to their offer. I scroll down and unsubscribe.
Some marketers think they are “building a relationship” with me (or maybe they think that I think they are building a relationship with me) but by hammering my inbox with their thinly-veiled sales efforts, what they are actually doing is wrecking any possibility of a relationship—including the kind where I part with some cash in exchange for their product or service.
This is not a generalization about all email marketers. There are some truly remarkable ones out there. What makes them remarkable is the value they deliver to their readers in their messages.
So, we’re going to look at value and frequency—how to increase the former and possibly decrease the latter.
Statistics show that there is a consideration on the part of prospects or customers as to what’s too much email communication from a marketers. There is also a consideration about the value of the content. When messages have value, they are appreciated. When one receives too many messages with too little value, it’s a nuisance.
In their report “The Social Break-Up,” email marketing services company Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) found that 91% of consumers have unsubscribed from opt-in marketing e-mails.
The top two reasons given for opting-out were:
- Emails came too frequently 54%
- Content became repetitive or boring over time 49%
(In reference to my opening statement, I now see that I’m not the only one.)
For some marketers (the ones who are getting a lot of unsubscribes), this is invaluable information: “Increase the value of your content or reduce the frequency of your sending.”
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?
It’s important for any business to keep their name and image in front of the public’s eyes and ears.
But more is not always better. There is an inverse relationship between the frequency of messages and customer/prospect engagement. In simpler language: The more often you send, the less your audience cares about it.
An analysis by the email marketing solution Mailchimp bears this out, using some pretty advanced mathematics to determine that “the more frequently [Mailchimp users] sent, the lower the individual campaign click-through rate got.
They also found that though you can get a marginal increase in gains by increasing frequency, there’s a point at which increasing the frequency is defeated by the reduction in engagement. It’s a balance that every marketer has got to figure out for themselves.
Who Decides What Is Valuable?
“Value” is subjective. So whose opinion counts? In a word, your audience’s—the people you are trying to reach, engage, and sell to.
But what is “value” and how do you know when you’re providing it? One of the best explanations we’ve seen comes from Braveen Kumar of content marketing automator Uberflip.com, who defines “valuable content” as having these qualities:
- Relevant: It relates to your customers’ interests, problems, and dreams.
- Consistent: Your audience wants more of what attracted them to you in the first place. That can include topic, messaging, attitude, etc.
- Engaging: That means the content is easy to absorb and enjoyable. This also bleeds over a bit into “relevant.”
- Trustworthy: Things that will undermine your credibility are spelling and grammar errors, failing to cite references and, well … lying. People are very good BS detectors. A little humility will go a lot farther with your audience than telling them seventeen different ways what an awesome “guru” you are.
- Useful: Does your content benefit your audience right now? Does it inspire them? Make them share it? Make them better informed?
- Authentic: This bleeds over a bit into “trustworthy.” Your audience wants a relationship with a real person, who cares about his/her customers. Put your personality and your way of talking into your messages. Be you.
If your message have all (or most) of these qualities, you are producing valuable content.
This has not been a generalization about all email marketers, as there are many who are quite good.
Based on the statistics above, you could conclude that value wins where frequency fails. So, if your audience engagement is dwindling (along with your income), you might want to do an analysis of the quality of your email vs. the quantity.