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Send Marketing Emails Effectively: Promotional Email Tips for Small Businesses

Promotional emails are a great way to generate revenue for your business, and for good reason. In fact, it has been reported that 86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily.

This may have you thinking that sending promotional emails will only positively affect your business and the bottom line, but despite what customers say they want, sending too many promotional emails can actually hurt your email database.

The frequency and timing of promotional emails can have a significant impact on email engagement. While there is no one-size-fits-all to the question of how to send marketing emails so you’re not blasting your subscribers, there are some important guidelines you should follow to maintain the health of your database.

How Frequency Affects Your Email Database

The right message at the right time means better relationships and increased revenue. Over- or under- sending emails can affect your email database.

Reduced Email Growth

When subscribers unsubscribe or mark your emails as spam you can lose subscribers faster than you can find new ones. Hubspot has found that 78% of consumers unsubscribe if they receive more emails than they want. Conversely, if you don’t send enough emails customers will forget who you are and hit the spam button. Make sure you’re striking the right balance for your database with a strong email segmentation strategy.

Disengaged Subscribers

If you start sending too many low-value emails you will most likely see open and click-through rates drop. When you send blast emails too often subscribers will start ignoring your emails, leading to a less engaged list. Worse, they may even unsubscribe completely.

How Often Should You Send Promotional Emails

There is data on how often people like to get emails, although the data is not specific to your subscribers.

In a survey by MarketingSherpa, respondents answered the following question: “How often, if ever, would you like to receive promotional emails (e.g., coupons, sales notifications) from companies that you do business with?” 80% of the respondents wanted to receive promotional emails “at least monthly” while 60% wanted to receive them “at least weekly”.

Based on research, most industry leaders recommend to sending one email per week and testing your particular audience and database for the best time to send out email blasts. When analyzing your audience here are some questions you should ask to determine the frequency your subscribers want.

  • Have your open rates stayed consistent or have they changed over time?
  • Have your number of unsubscribes changed?
  • Who are the people on your list?
  • How did you acquire the individuals on your list? 

The answers to these questions will determine your overall email marketing strategy. Remember that things will always change so continue to analyze your email campaigns moving forward to ensure you’re adapting your strategy accordingly.

How to Fix Your Email Engagement

If your database is under-performing there are a few things you can do to improve engagement.

Clean up your contacts

Before you spend a bunch of time trying to increase engagement you need to clean up the contacts you currently have and remove or separate those that are completely unengaged. Almost all email marketing platforms let you see information on when the last opened message was. If a contact has not opened an email in over a year (or even six months), chances are they won’t start. You need to remove this group of people or at least create a segmented group of unengaged subscribers that are excluded from all the promotional emails. This will not only help to show you who is engaged but will help to increase your email analytics.

Re-work Your Strategy

Instead of focusing on the entire list for engagement focus on specific segments. Use a creative sales contest to get people interacting with your content and interested in your product. This is also a great way to encourage new leads to give you their email address.

You should also consider creating different strategies for groups that are unengaged and those that open every promotional email. You can’t treat all subscribers equally. Focusing on different segments with different strategies will help to make your entire email list more engaged.

Remember how hard you have worked to gather these emails and convince people to share their information. Maintaining your lists is one of the most important things you can do. What tips do you have for maintaining a healthy email database? Be sure to share them in the comments below!

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Sophie Sunderland

Written by Sophie Sunderland

Sophie Sunderland is a marketing insights manager. She is interested in data and how data can be used to improve marketing efforts both internally and for our customers. When she’s not looking over data you’ll find her enjoying the outdoors and hiking with her dog.

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