Email drip campaign or water-boarding?

We often are asked by clients, how often is “too often” when it comes to e-mailing prospects and clients. Can I e-mail them once a week? Twice a month? Just once a month?

One client just relayed a story regarding one of their sales reps who wanted to run his own campaigns… seems that the marketing department was not running them frequently enough for his taste, so he concocted his own campaign using SalesForce and away he went. There were many issues with this including the format of the e-mail and the timing, not to mention, exactly why is sales doing marketing’s job rather than spending time with customers selling (or helping them to buy).

Most importantly, it got me thinking… when does a drip campaign become a water-boarding campaign, where you are now torturing your prospects with too many e-mails?Here are some simple parameters or thoughts to help you answer the question:

1 – Ask yourself the Golden Rule question.. would I like to receive as many e-mails if I were in the buyer’s shoes, as I am now sending out. Would I be annoyed? What do I do when I receive this many e-mails from someone trying to sell me something? Chances are if you thought to yourself, “I’d be annoyed” or “I’d opt out,” then chances are your prospect is likely to do the same thing.

2 – Ask yourself whether you truly have something relevant, unique and interesting to say every week. If not, then just hold onto the e-mail and wait until you do. There is no harm in combining a few topics or other call-to-actions (e.g. links to blogs) into one e-mail newsletter.

3 – Look at the relevant metrics (opt-outs, opens, etc.) and see how or whether the additional frequency is hurting these metrics. If you have moved from dripping to water-boarding, you will see it in the data.

There is no one single answer for everyone, but there are good marketing tenets to follow to ensure that you are building a strong lead nurturing program that will last and work – that is, after all, what good marketing does.

By Sami Jajeh – November 10, 2010

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