Email Marketing Study Suggests Sending More, Just Not To Recipients' Primary Accounts

Chris CrumBusiness

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Return Path recently released an email marketing study suggesting that the frequency that generates maximum response without excessive complaints differs among brands as well as based on account type. It maintains that marketers can send more messages without suppressing response, but not necessarily to users' primary accounts.

The study makes use of data from over 600,000 users over the course of three months. It focused on consumers who receive email from at least five commercial senders.

"As complaints increase, read rates decline with increased frequency, however the threshold at which more complaints offset the benefit of more reads is quite high," a spokesperson for Return Path explains in an email to WebProNews. "Among highly active email users, most tolerate up to an average of five messages per week before complaints offset increases in messages read."

"Primary users, whose accounts are most actively checked, are the key audience marketers should optimize their programs for, as they represent the majority of reads as well as complaints," the spokesperson adds. "Primary accounts make up only 24% of all email accounts yet they represent 83% of all messages read. While primary users are highly engaged, they are also not shy in voicing their displeasure, accounting for half of total email complaints. Secondary accounts holder, whose accounts are less actively checked, are more tolerant; they are less than half as likely as primary account holders to complain."

A study from Econsultancy last year found that frequency is the most common reason recipients unsubscribe from email lists.

"It is important that you achieve a good balance between underexposure and overexposure when it comes to optimizing your email marketing strategy," said promotion company MyGuestList in a blog post in response to that study. "Underexposure means lost opportunities and sales from your customers due to infrequent contact with your brand or venue. Conversely, overexposure will cause engagement with your readers to spiral because they simply don’t have the time to keep up.

"Your emails should be frequent enough to enable you to build strong relationships with your customers and increase your brand’s ‘top-of-mind’ awareness when considering venues to visit," it added. "More exposure to your brand leads to greater awareness that directly increases your venue’s patronage and sales revenue."

The full Return Path study can be found here. You may want to do some testing with secondary accounts based on its findings.

Related reading: 5 Potential Ways to Increase Email Signups

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.