There are some email marketing activities that, although largely ineffective, are often mistaken as good practice. Buying email lists is one. Sending at an aggressive pace is another.
But one email marketing practice in particular is still used because on occasion, it returns immediate results at the cost of long-term subscriber relationships. That practice is resending email to subscribers who haven’t opened previous messages.
The central problem with resending and reusing old emails is that it’s simply not a sustainable approach. For one, you risk doubling unsubscribes from what is essentially a single email.
Resending and reusing email content also runs the risk of putting your emails in the sights of ISPs, spam filters and blacklists — a costly mistake, considering nonprofits lose roughly $24,500 in donations (PDF) a year due to spam filters.
Finally, email resending can contribute to email fatigue, where inundated subscribers lose interest in your message and your brand, and then disengage from your content.
These issues remain even if the sender adjusts body copy, the subject line, placement and the general format of the email in question. Resending emails, then, is a symptom of a larger problem: You and your recipient are out of sync. To get back in sync with your subscribers, consider these three alternatives to resending email:
1. Optimize your preference center
If you’re running an email campaign, sending a newsletter or conducting any other sort of marketing over email, you need a preference center. Essentially, it’s a system that sets subscriber expectations and engagement at the very beginning of the relationship.
Preference centers help foster a healthy relationship between sender and recipient by enabling the subscriber to set the cadence and content of the emails they receive from you.
Best of all, these centers are useful for introducing potential subscribers to a variety of email offerings while giving you a better picture of your audience, what they’re coming to you for, and how you can properly segment them across your campaigns.
2. Send your emails at a better time
Another solid method to bump engagement without resending is to send emails when your subscribers are most likely to be engaged. The problem here, however, is that there’s no universal “golden hour” to send. Determining the best time, then, means you’ll have to mine your engagement data.
Doing so should enable you to discover when your recipients are, well, receptive to your messages. It also should give you better insights into where and when they read emails.
If they open emails early in the morning, for example, it might be because they check email at work, which could inform your content and timing. A word of caution, however — if you decide to mine your data (and you should), be aware of time zones and adjust your timing accordingly.
3. Monitor your engagement
The best way to boost email engagement is to both understand and segment your audience. This means having a sharp eye on your metrics. Simply knowing who engages with what message, when and how often is the most reliable step to ensure engagement.
For example, highly engaged subscribers will still miss emails. And you know what? That’s okay. Not everyone is going to engage in marketing emails if they have other concerns to tend to.
If you’re worried subscribers are missing out on important campaign information, consider including a small “in case you missed it” section in a separate email designed for highly engaged segments.
Is a subscriber not engaging at all? No problem. Rest that address for a period and follow up with relevant content later. If they still don’t engage, ask if they’d like different content offerings or to be removed from the email list.
In conclusion, the most successful email marketing strategies rely on good communication with your subscribers. That means setting expectations with them when they first subscribe, asking for their cadence and content preferences, and periodically checking in with them to see if your messages are living up to expectations.
Resending emails to boost engagement, however, means you are off-balance with your reader. Reach out, communicate, and let resending email die for good.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.