Note from Jeanne: Happy Throwback Thursday! A year ago LinkedIn made some big changes which drove me to write this article which was first published by ClickZ in August 2015. Whether or not it worked for them it raised some good questions about send frequency– here are some of those questions, along with my suggestions for how to find answers specific to your own email audience. Enjoy!
Did you notice?
Last week LinkedIn announced some big changes to its email program: they decreased their send quantities – dramatically. For every 10 emails they used to send, they now send only six. That’s a 40 percent decrease.
Most of my colleagues didn’t notice the difference. But I did. My morning email from LinkedIn, the one I read religiously every day along with theSkimm, disappeared. I was wondering what happened to it. That said, I am sure there are other email messages from LinkedIn which have disappeared that I’m not missing.
LinkedIn says they made the change because of customer feedback – and jokes on late night talk shows. They are happy with the results; complaints have been cut in half since they made the change.
Frequency is one of the biggest challenges facing email marketers today. Whether you’re considering sending less, like LinkedIn did, or increasing your send quantities, here are some things to consider.
Frequency Isn’t “One Size Fits All”
There’s no perfect frequency for everyone on your list. People have different relationships with your brand, and as a result the ideal frequency will be different. Some people will enjoy receiving a daily email from you. Others won’t mind it, but there may be some who will feel bombarded and opt-out. Being able to segment your list based on the relationship (there are many ways to define this and it varies by company) will help you determine the best frequency for each group.
Global unsubscribes, where you’re either getting email from a company or you aren’t, are not the way to go. Preference centers, which let subscribers choose which types of messages they want to receive, are much better. Even better is structuring your preference center options to include a frequency mechanism. LinkedIn does a good job of this.
Notice how they’ve grouped their email offerings into sections, and within each section, there’s a sub-grouping. Now look at Connections in News’ drop-down box: rather than a simple “yes” or “no,” you have a frequency option. Automatic means you’ll be alerted as it happens, but there’s also options for Daily Email, Weekly Digest Email, or no notification at all.
The positive side to this is that it gives the subscriber input on frequency in a way that is easy for LinkedIn to accommodate. While it makes their preference center more complicated than most, members who take the time should be able to tailor the LinkedIn program to meet their own needs.
You can, of course, take broad strokes to decrease your email frequency. But I prefer to observe how people are interacting with the email messages and take a more custom approach. You should be able to segment your list based on how frequently people engage with your email messages as well as what type of content usually causes them to engage. This is a good first step to understanding the relationship and devising ways to provide more relevant content at a more optimal frequency.
When in Doubt, Ask!
Do your subscribers know that you offer a preference center? Have you told them that they can choose the frequency with which they can receive at least some email messages? I’m a premium member of LinkedIn and I didn’t know about the preference center until I saw the link in the blog post about the decreased send quantity. Even if you include a link to it in the footer of every email (which you should) and if it’s an option off your website when people are logged in (again, which it should be). Why not actively promote it to your subscribers?
Some organizations fear that it will cause people to unsubscribe in droves, which it might if they don’t find your email content relevant to them. But you might also find that a subscriber who has stopped engaging with your daily email messages will happily open and read a weekly synopsis. Give them the option to choose.
Try these tips with your program and let me know how it goes!
Until next time,