The E-mail Exposure ‘Ceiling’: Ways to Measure and Make it Work
Can a cataloger ever go overboard in trying to build its brand and drive sales? Actually, yes, particularly when using e-mails as a marketing strategy. Send too many e-mails to your target market and you could hurt the brand and ultimately lose customers by hitting an “exposure ceiling.”
In his recent whitepaper, “The Email Exposure Ceiling,” Sundeep Kapur, director of customer service and e-commerce solutions for customized software solutions provider NRC eCommerce, says that because e-mail is a more personal means of communication than a print or radio advertising, people want to control what is sent to their inbox. If they feel a similar message is being sent too many times, it could turn them off and cause sales to drop. Kapur offers marketers several strategies to help measure a brand’s exposure ceiling.
* Track unsubscribe rates closely. “Generally, an unsubscribe rate greater than 1 percent on a house list means you’ve crossed the line,” Kapur says. That’s because every unsubscribe cuts into your potential target base.
He cites a travel company that averaged an unsubscribe rate of 0.7 percent when sending three e-mails a month to its house list. The company then tested five e-mail messages a month. But by the time the fourth e-mail hit, the unsubscribe rate inched up to 0.8 percent and grew to 1.1 percent after the fifth e-mail was sent. By the second month of testing, the company had decided its exposure ceiling was four e-mails a month. Sending the fifth email had resulted in a negative net effect, Kapur notes.
* Do the math. As obvious as it may seem, by conducting some basic cost and revenue analysis, many companies neglect this basic measurement. “Follow your campaign statistics,” Kapur says, “know the costs involved and keep track of the revenues generated.
What’s more, find the point where an e-mail campaign creates a benefit in revenue and/or brand awareness that your company decides equals the cost of campaign and the more subjective costs of unsubscribes and complaints.
In the case of the travel company, that firm tested five e-mail campaigns and determined that the revenue and brand awareness generated by four e-mails outweighed the cost of sending them and the slight uptick in unsubscribes. But the costs for the fifth campaign, including the unsubscribes surpassing the 1 percent mark, were greater than any benefits and not worth the negative net effect, Kapur says.
* Test the offer. Kapur suggests testing your message before your first transmission, no matter how small your list. “You can test subject lines, copy, images and offers,” he says. In addition, try segmenting the list into different groups, such as buyers vs. non-buyers and previous interactions. Testing the message with your customer database, he adds, will help you find your company’s exposure ceiling and ultimately show how to boost revenue and build your brand before encountering any negative effects.
To read the full whitepaper, “The E-Mail Exposure Ceiling,” visit www.ncrecommerce.com/exposure.htm