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When it comes to email marketing, frequency of communications plays an important role in getting customers to open your emails AND in getting them into your showroom.

However, flooding their inboxes with daily communications poses risks. Too many emails and your customers will lose trust in your business and unsubscribe from future marketing. Based on a 2018 Affinitiv survey, 56% of customers unsubscribed from a retailer’s promotional emails because they were contacted too many times. In a market saturated by digital promotions, how often should you contact your customers and how much is too much?

Affinitiv recently analyzed over 23 million emails sent to auto dealer customers to see what the impact of marketing frequency is on open rates and response rates. We calculated these at a customer level, meaning unique customers contacted made up the denominator for both of these metrics, while the numerator consisted of unique customers who opened at least 1 email, or had at least 1 RO after receiving a communication. Customers were segmented based on the monthly average number of communications they received.

Unique Open Rates and Unique Response Rates

  • 1X month: 19.4% open rate and 15% response rate
  • 2X month: 28.8% open rate and 18.4% response rate
  • 3X month: 39.5% open rate and 24% response rate
  • 4X month: 46.6% open rate and 27.6% response rate
  • 5X month: 51.7% open rate and 30.7% response rate
  • 6X month: 58.1% open rate and 35.9% response rate
  • 7X+ month: 69.4% open rate and 31.4% response rate

Unsurprisingly, unique open rates see a steady trend upward as number of communications per month increases. On the other hand, unique response rates follow a similar upward trend but start to see a significant decrease starting at 7+ emails per month. This suggests that customers may start to lose trust in dealerships who they feel may be abusing their right to reasonably market to them.

Furthermore, we analyzed the impact of frequency on opt-out rates. The highest opt-out rates occurred for those receiving only 1 email per month. Since overcommunication can be ruled out, these customers likely fall into the category of those who find the content irrelevant.

Interestingly, increasing the number of communications has no significant impact on opt-out rates until customers start receiving 7 or more emails per month. 

For maximum response, dealers should target their customers no more than 6 times per month with relevant content. Marketing strategies that pinpoint customers with targeted messaging based on where they are in their lifecycle yield much higher returns compared to non-strategic approaches.

Dealers also have an opportunity to leverage targeted and relevant marketing through platforms that utilize artificial intelligence (AI). Getting in front of your customers is imperative for continual growth of your business but it’s equally imperative to maintain a balance, so as not to sacrifice their trust and loyalty.

Includes contributions by Jeff Giere, Strategy Analyst at Affinitiv.

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