How much email is too much?

How to know when you’re spamming your customers

One thing I hear a lot is “I don’t want to spam my customers”, “how much email is too much?”.

The way that I respond to this question is that, first of all, I believe that most merchants are sending less email than they should. I know that sounds a little crazy because we live in a time where everyone feels like they’re getting too much spam and too much email in general.

But the reason why MageMail has been successful in the first place is that it makes it easy for merchants to send more email.

Now, of course, we’re not talking about sending email blasts to your entire customer base every single day. We’re talking about personalized, triggered email that goes out to specific customers at the right time.

The reason why many merchants are not sending out as much email as they should is maybe they’re having a hard time getting that newsletter out every month, or maybe they haven’t had the time to figure out how to setup the fancy email automation with the platform that they’re using.

Here’s the thing – the experience of the end-customer is actually worsewhen they receive email not frequently enough.

Here’s an example – let’s say that you make a purchase today. You receive the order confirmation and shipping emails of course, and then you don’t hear from them for a year. A year rolls around and they finally have gotten around to putting together an email blast. But a year is a long time in internet time (shoot, 3 months is a long time!), and by this time you literally don’t remember this merchant at all. You think it’s just completely unsolicited, 3rd party spam and mark it as such.

Whereas, if you had been receiving an email every month or every few weeks, now the company is top of mind for you, so you remember who they are, even if you don’t read every single email that you get, top to bottom.

If you want to unsubscribe after receiving a few emails, you know that you can just scroll to the bottom in order to do that.

People are smart – they understand that email should always have an unsubscribe link in the footer. Also, on top of that, there is a growing number of tools they have to manage their inbox. For example, in Gmail as well as other email clients, they can mark an email as spam.

This prevents email from that sending from hitting their inbox in the future and also hurts the sender’s reputation so that other recipients are less likely to receive email from them as well.

I find that the way that most merchants tend to approach this decision is based off of a gut instinct or feeling about whether they should be sending more email or not. It’s based off of past experience, customer feedback, and other factors. And I understand that, as a business owner – I make gut decisions all the time.

But, when there is a data source that’s accurate that you can use to base your decisions off of, it’s usually a lot more accurate than our gut feelings are.

Mandrill has a feature called Sender Reputation which indicates, basically, what your reputation is among email recipients. If your bounce rate is high and your email is getting marked as spam frequently, this number will go down, and Mandrill will rate limit the amount of email that you can send out per hour.

So, in a nutshell, the answer to the question “am I spamming my customers?” is this number.

What most people don’t realize is that, even though I as the founder of MageMail am incentivized to get you to send more email because of my pricing model, I actually will proactively go in and disable an email if it’s not performing well in terms of sender reputation or spam complaints.

It makes no sense for me to make a short term profit for a month or two if your sender reputation is going to go down to zero. I need to sustain very long term relationships with my customers in order for my business model to work.

Just the other day, I had a customer with an email that was getting marked as spam too much, and I went in and disabled it. He was dissappointed because he wanted to keep the email enabled. I wanted to keep it enabled too because it means money for me and for them. And he asked me to keep it enabled despite my recommendations, but I had to hold the line.

Normally we can try to make some tweaks to a given email in order to get it to perform better – whether that’s the timing, content, subject line, or something else. So we’ll work together to improve upon your emails if that’s the case.

I literally will not let you send email that’s not doing well!

Well I hope that helps, let me know if you have any questions!

Showing 2 comments
  • Justin

    After having a look at your company profile and information, we are very interested in the activity you do to help small businesses increase revenue for online traffic. Please contact me back at my email to further discuss on how you may assist us. Thank you.

    • Erik Bullen

      Hi Justin,

      I replied to your request via the helpdesk. Please contact me at your convenience.



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