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Finding your email sending frequency sweet spot

Nailing your optimal email sending frequency is a key component of your email marketing strategy. We’ve all been on the receiving end of email communications and know how annoying it can be to be bombarded by a brand. On the flip side, other brands miss opportunities to get the right message in front of you at the right time.

So how do you find that sweet spot? Sending enough emails to keep your brand top of mind, but not overdoing it and risking unsubscribes? This is a common challenge that digital marketers face and unfortunately there is no one size fits all approach to solving this problem.

Luckily for Marketing Cloud customers, Salesforce introduced Einstein Engagement Frequency, which finds the optimal range of emails to send to each subscriber and enables you to suppress sends from those who are at risk of oversaturation.

Defining saturation

What is oversaturation? An oversaturated subscriber refers to someone who is disengaged with your brand due to receiving too many email communications from you. Oversaturated subscribers have most likely tuned out and stopped opening your emails, skipping them or deleting them. They are also at risk of thinking negatively about your brand, unsubscribing or raising spam complaints.

What is undersaturation? On the other hand, an undersaturated subscriber is someone who is receiving too few messages from your brand. This segment of your subscriber base represents a huge opportunity for engagement.

Therefore, monitoring saturation of your subscribers is extremely important in order to identify oversaturated subscribers, reduce the risk of these members disengaging, and tap into additional lead or sales opportunities by identifying undersaturated subscribers.

Using Einstein Engagement Frequency in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Einstein Engagement Frequency (EEF) allows a marketer to optimise the number of emails sent to any one subscriber in order to maximise engagement. Being able to identify who in their audience is saturated, almost saturated, on target and undersaturated means a marketer can easily:

  • Identify the sweet spot of email send frequency for their audience

  • Create journeys tailored to each engagement segment, or;

  • Suppress an engagement segment from an email send

Analysing the Einstein Engagement Frequency dashboard

The EEF dashboard provides insights into three key areas over the past 28 days worth of data. Note that only commercial email data is analysed, not transactional.

The first graph looks at how saturated your entire contact base is. At a glance you’ll be able to see where the majority of your audience sits, painting an overall picture of your saturation health.

The next graph shows the correlation between saturation and email send frequency. For each email frequency, you can see what percentage of your subscriber base were on-target, undersaturated and over-saturated. This tool is extremely useful in figuring out an average email cadence for your audience.

Lastly, you’re able to see how different engagement metrics correspond to email send frequency. Essentially, you’ll be able to determine average click-through rates, open rates and unsubscribe rates for each frequency of email sends.

*Note: Steep drop-off indicates an incomplete data set for highest email cadence in this business unit.

Utilising Einstein Engagement Frequency in Journey Builder

Now that you can see the saturation levels for your subscribers, how do you act on them? One way is within Journey Builder, using Einstein Engagement Frequency Split, which enables you to split your audience by their saturation level. By splitting your audience in this way, you can deliver a number of tactics such as;

  • Targeting engaged but undersaturated subscribers for a promotional or sales journey

  • Running a win-back journey for oversaturated subscribers with a compelling discount or offer

  • Creating different journey paths for each saturation segment customising the channels of communication for each

Marketers can also temporarily exclude oversaturated subscribers from receiving email communications by adding them to an auto-suppression list while they remain in an oversaturated state. The setup for this is a little more complex, and would involve setting up an automation with a query to return oversaturated subscribers from the EEF data extension, and updating the auto suppression list with these subscribers.

Considerations of using Einstein Engagement Frequency

Before diving head first into using EEF consider the following to ensure you’re collecting the appropriate data to make the most out of this feature:

  • EEF metrics are calculated using the past 28 days worth of email data

  • Only commercial emails are analysed as part of this data. Transactional emails are not included

  • In order to collect enough frequency data, a minimum of five frequencies are required, i.e. sending to your subscribers in at least five different intervals (e.g. once a week, twice a week) across a 28 day period

Marketing Cloud makes it easy to check the quality of your data collection. When in the EEF dashboard, click the “Data Quality Score” button to see your quality scores for Frequency Density and Engagement Frequency Rate, plus tips on how to improve them.

Further tips for managing saturation

In addition to EEF, there are other ways to manage your email saturation to help you reach your optimal send frequency.

Research your industry - If you’re just starting out and trying to figure out an email cadence for your business, a good place to start is by researching benchmarks and averages for your industry. While you’re at it, take note of industry benchmarks for open rates, engagement and spam complaints to compare your email performance against.

Be upfront and set expectations - When a new subscriber joins your database, let them know how often they can expect to hear from you and what in regards to.

Give your subscribers some control - Take expectation setting one step further and let your subscribers determine their preferences and how frequently they’d like to hear from you.

Utilise segmentation - Not every message is going to be relevant to every subscriber, so ensure to use segmentation where possible to ensure subscribers aren’t bombarded with irrelevant content.

With no ‘magic number’ out there when it comes to optimal email frequency, finding the right cadence for your business can be a learning curve. However, Einstein Engagement Frequency makes uncovering that sweet spot for your business much easier, as well as equipping you with extra tools in your kit to make the most of undersaturated subscribers, and to hold back on the oversaturated ones.

As email marketing gurus, our team of marketing automation experts at Be Intelligent are experienced in designing solutions that put your customers at the core of our solutions. We can work with you to help define your business’ optimal email cadence, and put in place engagement strategies for each segment of saturation. If you’re looking to take your Marketing Cloud game to the next level, utilising functionality such as Einstein Engagement Frequency, you know how to find us.

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