Given the relative low cost of email marketing it is possible to send out campaigns much more frequently compared to traditional direct marketing. However, just because it’s possible to send emails daily, doesn’t mean you you should do it.

How often is too often?

There are some emails e.g. MotoGP News updates that I look forward to receiving on a daily basis. There are others that I wouldn’t want to see more frequently than once a quarter.

Clearly, email marketing works for Halfords given their large ongoing investment.

Halfords is a store I occasionaly visit; possibly 2 or 3 times a year. Receiving an email just before a winter cold-snap to remind me to buy windscreen de-icer is very useful (see Halfords timely emails get results).

I’m happy to receive emails from Halfords monthly and wouldn’t object to weekly emails from them. However, over the past 7 days, I have received 5 emails from Halfords which seems excessive:

  • 13/6 A chance to win an iPad if I provide additional personal data (the design of this email was very poor and all the items were mandatory!)
  • 14/6 Top Fathers Day gifts
  • 16/6 Huge savings on tents
  • 17/6 50% off selected car audio
  • 19/6 Voodoo cycling

This is excessive and irritating.

What’s Halfords email marketing contact strategy?

Do Halfords allow different departments to email customers without any central rules about the number of times they can be contacted across the company? If so, this is dumb and fails to treat recipents with respect.

Or, do they understand that they are sending out 5 messages to an individual in a week? This either means thay are very confident of the the perceived value of their communications or they are relying on inertia resulting in only a small number of recipient unsubscribing.

Learning for companies big and small

  • smart email marketing is a great way to cost effectively reach target prospects and customers
  • you need to have a contact frequency strategy: how frequently should you contact a prospect / customer? the answer might be quarterly or 2-4 times per day but will depend on whether you have anything interesting or valuable to say as perceived by recipients (not you). Ideally, let recipients choose their frequency of contact
  • if more than 1 department can send out emails you need to agree a combined contact strategy to avoid unintentionally ‘carpet-bombing’ recipients
  • just beacuse people haven’t unsubscribed doesn’t mean they are not irritated
  • if you need help, contact an email marketing specialist