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Dela Quist on Increasing Email List Size and Frequency

March 20, 2013 By Melissa Campanelli
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When it comes to email marketing, marketers have to free themselves from the fear of being perceived as spammers and go ahead and send more email messages.

This was the main message delivered by Dela Quist, the outspoken and unconventional CEO of email agency Alchemy Worx during his keynote address last week at the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s March luncheon at the Yale Club.

“There' s a lot of fear and self-loathing in the email marketing community,” Quist said. “Marketers limit the amount of emails they send because they're so afraid they're going to be perceived as spammers. They literally bend over backwards to not be perceived this way. But it's stupid to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Spamming is illegal; what we do is marketing.”

Having a large mailing list is also an important success factor for brands’ email marketing programs, despite all of the discussion around targeting and segmentation, Quist said.

“We're so afraid to be called spammers that we don’t test or experiment with list size,” Quist said. “The fact is the more email you send to more people, the more money you make.”

To drive home his point, Quist pointed to President Obama’s presidential election campaign’s email marketing strategy. Based on data from eDataSource and the Federal Election Commission, Quist explained that facing a tight race in mid-October 2012, Obama ramped up his email efforts, doubling his daily send. The Romney campaign, on the other hand, dropped its email send volume at the same time by 33 percent.

“Obama won because his list size was 10 times bigger than Romney’s and he mailed so frequently,” Quist said. "From a revenue-generating perspective and a poll perspective, Obama's success was directly related to the amount of email sent.”

Quist also discussed how frequency drives engagement. In one example, he showed how a marketer that sent three emails per week had a lower-than-average clickthrough rate (3.46 percent), but a higher-than-average sales per subscriber rate (1.09 percent). What’s more, the unsubscribe rate for the thrice weekly mailing was lower (0.134 percent) than the weekly mailing (0.139 percent).

 

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