DT, one of my subscribers, recently wrote to tell me how much he enjoys my e-mails.
“They are fun to read, and you do supply positive answers and details,” write DT. “So I buy from you when a topic you have fits my paradigms.”
But he was less enamored with the e-mails he is receiving from some of my fellow Internet marketers.
“They come across in a way that literally chases away their customers,” he complained.
DT said of one Internet marketer: “I have bought all of his books in the past so I joyfully joined his list just to get more of his great information.
“Unfortunately I found that most of his posts do not have good information but instead have him ranting about this and that.”
Of another famous Internet marketer, DT complained: “I have been on his list for 3 weeks, and about every day I get a sales letter, and that’s it. I do love sales letters, but not all the time.”
So what did DT do?
“I’ve quit both of their lists and I’ll probably never buy from either of them again,” he told me.
DT’s complaint is not unusual, by the way.
If you send sales messages too frequently…or if too many of your e-mails are pure product pitches vs. useful content…you are going to get complaints.
So how do you find the right frequency and balance between sales and content?
The number of e-mail marketing messages you can send to your list per month depends on several factors.
These factors include the timeliness of your content…value of your content…and the frequency with which you publish your e-newsletter.
Here’s a useful rule of thumb…
If your e-newsletter is published monthly, you can send e-mail marketing messages to the subscribers 2 or 3 times a week.
As an Internet marketer, the more e-mail marketing messages you broadcast to your subscriber list, the more money you make.
Say each time you send an e-mail marketing message to your list, it brings in (on average) $3,000 in revenues.
You send two e-mail marketing messages each week, making $6,000 a week in sales.
If your subscribers tolerate it, and you increase the frequency from 2 to 3 times a week, you’d make $9,000 instead of $6,000 a week and earn an extra $150,000 a year.
How do you know whether your subscribers are OK with the increased frequency or if you are ticking them off?
Keep an eye on your opt-out rate.
Each time you send an e-mail to your list, a small number of subscribers will opt out, asking to be removed from your e-list.
As a rule of thumb, aim for an opt-out rate of 0.1% or less, and certainly no more than 0.2% per e-mail.
If you have a list of 50,000 subscribers and your opt-out rate is 0.1%, you lose 50 subscribers every time you distribute another e-mail to your list.
Measure your opt-out rate so you know the average.
Then, when you increase your e-mail frequency, watch what happens to the opt-out rate.
If it stays the same, you know your subscribers don’t have a problem getting an extra e-mail from you each week.
So send those extra e-mails, and make more money from your Internet business.
Consultant Amy Africa says, “Most online marketers do not mail often enough to their e-list.”
But what if increasing frequency causes your opt-out rate to spike higher?
It means subscribers are telling you they don’t want to hear from you that often…and you should cut back to the old schedule.
What about the ratio of content to sales pitch?
In my monthly e-newsletter, I aim for 80/20—80% or more is pure content, and 20% or less is recommended products.
In my twice-weekly supplemental e-mails, approximately 50% are pure content, and the rest are sales promotions.
To shift the balance more in favor of content, which is what many subscribers prefer, here’s a little trick I use:
When possible, I write my e-mail marketing messages so they read like content e-mails.
Often I actually include content (ideas, tips) in the e-mail marketing message.
When you write your e-mail marketing messages with an educational tone, the reader perceives it as content—even though it is ultimately selling a product.
They are happy. And you make more sales.
One other suggestion…
When you get a complaint from a subscriber about too many e-mail marketing messages, look up the complainer in your shopping cart software.
99 out of 100 times you’ll find this is a person who has never bought a thing from you…and therefore, why do you care what he thinks—or whether he leaves you?
By the way, if your info-publishing niche is marketing, like mine is, your e-mail marketing messages themselves are educational for your readers—showing them how to write e-mail that sell.
In fact, one of my best-selling e-books, “The E-Mail Swipe File“, is a collection of about five dozen of my e-mail marketing messages.
Each chapter includes the full text of the e-mail message, the results it generated and my analysis of why it worked.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.