It’s been said before and it bears repeating; when it comes to those traditional three pillars of direct response marketing “the gold is in your list”. So, it pays to treat it like the treasure it is. In Part 1 of this series I explored ways to attract new prospects to your list. Still, the reality for many marketers and business owners is that the majority of their email list subscribers are customers, not prospects. They are people with whom we have an existing (and hopefully, positive) business relationship. All the more reason to protect your treasure. Yet that Achilles heel of email customer lists remains: it seems impossible to get the email addresses for 100% of your customers. With few exceptions, (say, you sell only online and email address is required on every sale) some customers are just never going to hand over their closely guarded email address (or the specific address you want). Others now prefer to communicate with you on social media (largely Facebook and Twitter). Still more are happy to stay old school – they want phone and direct mail communication. Send ‘em their catalogs and coupons and they’re content.
How often and what to send are top questions facing any email marketer today. Yet all too often, frequency for the sake of frequency alone trumps relevancy in this channel. It's a classic catch-22: email works so well it runs the risk of undermining its own potential. Email programs tend to start with slow and cautious frequency, produce easy ROI, and become stars. Management assumes if some email is good, more must be even better. Yet as with all good things (wine, chocolate and pizza come to mind) increased consumption eventually leads to a point of diminishing returns. The correlation between cost and benefit is neither linear nor constant.