Email marketing is a key component of most lead generation campaigns. Leveraging a strong email data base via a competent marketing automation system allows a campaign to closely track every recipient’s actions as they move through the sales funnel, and target content and tactics that convert that interest to a sale. But how target audiences respond to email marketing campaigns can mean the difference between a new lead and a lost opportunity. A recent survey by Marketing Sherpa has some valuable insights that, while some might seem obvious, are too often ignored. Here’s a sample:

  • Frequency. By far and away, customers and prospects prefer an email marketing cadence of no more than once a week. A smaller number believe monthly is the right amount.
  • Content. It should go without saying, but apparently it needs to be repeated: Content that isn’t relevant to the prospect’s needs is not helpful. Nor are emails that only push a sales messages or are repetitive, or simply boring. Emails in this category are likely to elicit an unsubscribe.
  • Conversion Strategy. The survey found that more than half of recipients rarely or never found emails to be useful to them. And while that may seem like a bad sign, the good news is that 44 percent found them to always, often or sometimes to be useful when it came to purchasing decisions. That’s a sizable pool of prospects to reach and convert with a good list.

The lessons for marketers are clear:

  • Have a cadence that meets the preferences of your target audiences. That means no more than one email per week. If you are seeing an increase in unsubscribes, consider decreasing the frequency with a test sample to assess whether that’s a factor.
  • A strong call-to-action is important, but too much of sales or marketing content is a turn-off.
  • Make sure the content is interesting. Repetitive content or boring messaging is a wasted opportunity.

A well-designed email campaign can produce solid results. But it must meet the preferences of customers and prospects to deliver the right results.