CRM Series #1: Email Quantity vs Quality – how to achieve the right balance

May 24, 2024 Natalie Hutton

Email is one of the core revenue-driving channels but rarely gets the love and attention it deserves.

Like most of us, you have limited resources for an endless list of changing priorities and rapidly evolving channels to market. Email can all too easily end up just falling into line behind the rest - a repetitive weekly process to drive trade, rather than an involving story that captures all that's exciting and new about your brand and why it matters to customers.

We want to focus the spotlight on email - to give its rightful share of attention and celebrate its role in building lasting customer relationships. That's why we're sharing this series of articles to encourage you to take a fresh look. None of this is rocket science, but it's a timely reminder of where to look for the biggest wins. 

As a Client Director at more2, I work with some amazing brands to help them improve their customer performance and email is a key part of this. I draw on my experience of these and my past roles with Not On the High Street, easyJet, and Neal's Yard Remedies. So let's dive in!...

Is high frequency hurting email engagement?

We all get a hit of satisfaction when we see that spike in Google Analytics when an email goes out, so the temptation is to keep pushing frequency to drive more. However, this approach risks losing customers longer term - let's weigh up the risks of high-volume campaigns and how to strike that magic balance of both happy, engaged customers AND campaigns that drive the bottom line.

Although older data, long term studies such as Gartner insights show brands are sending progressively more email, and yet open rates are declining. As consumers, we're faced with hundreds of competing messages every day. With the growth of social media especially, we have to work harder than ever to cut through the noise and land our story.

It’s no surprise that increased sending frequency doesn’t guarantee higher revenues. Often, quite the opposite.

Countless surveys tell us most people unsubscribe from lists because they receive too many emails – 44% in the latest report from ZeroBounce.


So there’s a delicate balance between maximising engagement and overwhelming recipients. Send a few too many emails and subscribers may start ignoring them or actively unsubscribe from your list. When you take into account frequent broadcasts alongside automated programmes, possibly without correct rules, it's easier than you think to end up sending competing and confusing messages to the customer.


So, how many emails is too many? 

Well, the answer is different for every brand and target audience, and this answer will change as subscribers move through the customer cycle. You need to find out what works for your brand, and it will be different for different customer segments.

According to MailModo’s State of Email 2024 Report, 40% send 1-4 emails per month to each subscriber and a further 33.6% send 5-8.

Ultimately, you are balancing several goals: 
•    remaining front of mind by keeping your brand at the top of their inbox
•    keeping a conversation going
•    launching new products and new news
•    innovating and remaining interesting and relevant

Recognising email engagement is critical to determining how often to send - a customer who is regularly opening and engaging is more open to receiving regular sends.

The only way to find the right balance for your audience is to test frequency. At more2, we regularly carry out analyses of customer contact strategies, so we can benchmark our clients’ frequency and campaign performance (engagement, revenue, etc.) with similar companies. In the benchmarks below, there are clearly other variables besides frequency, but it demonstrates a strong case for testing.

  Email Send Frequency (weekly) % Revenue generated by email
Client A 3 20%
Client B 2 25%
Client C 3 10%


 This data helps us decide whether to test increased or decreased frequency first while monitoring key metrics like deliverability, engagement and revenue.


Tracking the right metrics

When running your test, we’re interested both in immediate and longer term effects. For example, what’s our unsubscribe rate for that email? What’s our revenue impact for that cohort that month? How is their overall lifetime value changing over a 6 or even 12 month timeframe?


How to maintain the right email frequency balance

Aside from testing frequency, you can optimise campaigns to maximise engagement.
Here are some key tips:

●    Apply customer segments – your best customers may be shopping more than once a month with you, whilst occasional buyers only spend once or twice a year. When you test frequency, track it per segment
●    Setup dummy customer accounts, so you can confirm the customer experience is what you expect. We often find trigger and campaign emails clashing which really undermines the experience.
●    Schedule automated campaigns carefully – try to send no more than one email to each recipient per day (unless they trigger another automation themselves).
●    Set frequency caps for unengaged recipients and switch to a lower frequency of re-engagement campaigns to excite them again.
●    Increase email relevance with personalisation and trigger campaigns (welcome emails, onboarding sequences, cart abandonment, etc.)
●    Monitor deliverability and act fast if it drops – remove invalid, disposable and spam-trap addresses.
●    Remove prospects from email lists once they reach the end of the cycle or move on to the next stage of the customer journey.

By optimising campaigns for engagement, you can send higher volumes and increase revenue per campaign before reaching frequency limits.


Working to clear objectives

The ideal email frequency is the one that maximises the conversion goals of any one campaign. If you’re looking to drive sales, the best frequency is the one that wins repeat purchases throughout the customer cycle.

If your goal is to maximise prospect conversions, the ideal frequency is the one that converts the most signups into active users. Test frequency for every campaign and optimise for the conversion actions that drive revenue.

That’s it for this week – this is the first in  a series of four posts dedicated to email strategy. Look out for the next in the coming weeks, or follow our LinkedIn page.

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