Hey, Big Sender
Entrepreneur|October 2017

The surprising case for bombarding your customers with emails.

Lissa Harris

Don’t annoy your customers.

If there’s a cardinal rule of email marketing, that’s it. Thus, most marketers describe the ideal email strategy as a careful balancing act between frequency and engagement. Sure, you need to send enough emails to stay on the customer’s radar. But send too many and your subscribers will flee, your click and open rates will plummet, and you will find yourself branded a common spammer.

For a time, Dela Quist shared this fear. Quist, CEO of British and U.S. email marketing firm Alchemy Worx, “started out where everyone else did, worrying about open rates and trying to get them as high as possible,” he says. Then he began digging into the numbers, looking at client campaigns for evidence that a business could get better results by sending less email. “What we found was, no matter what we did, more email generated more revenue. You could not stop that happening,” he says. So, data in hand, Quist began preaching a different gospel: Nothing is likely to make you more money than sending another email.

In essence, Don’t worry about annoying your customers. The data says they don’t hate email.

Quist’s “more is more” attitude makes email marketers nervous, but he gets results. Alchemy Worx’s client list includes names like Tesco, Expedia, and Hilton. One client, the U.K. insurer Aviva, saw the number of insurance quotes requested grow 48 percent after rolling out a strategy to email customers more often.

Quist’s philosophy comes from a simple insight—that email isn’t mail. It’s natural to think of email as the digital cousin of the bulk mailer: expensive to send and a mailbox-clogging misery to receive. But, Quist argues, that’s the wrong way to think about it. Given how cheap email is to send—and how painless it is to ignore—it makes sense to treat it like television. Once you start thinking about email as a broadcast medium, Quist says, you can begin to fret less about taking up precious space in a finite inbox, and think more about maximizing how many people your message reaches, and how often.

“The Sermon on the Mount would never have happened if Jesus had had to wander around and tell everybody individually,” he says. “Sometimes broadcast is a good thing.”

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