If you’re wondering how sending less email can lead to bigger revenue, the answer is pretty straight forward. Send high quality emails to people who are interested in your brand. What sounds simple is a bit more complex to execute. That’s the primary reason most retail brands send general messages to mass audiences, because it’s easy. However, that’s lazy marketing. You shouldn’t waste your customers time with general messages that aren’t relevant to their interests. You’ll also find that increasing personalization leads to better marketing results. Here’s how we recently worked with Red Wing Shoes to help them sell more boots by sending less emails overall.

What’s the “right amount” of email?

The best answer I have is, “it depends.” That’s because sending emails are similar to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You might remember this fairy tale from your childhood.

This porridge is too hot!
This porridge is too cold!
This porridge is just right!

...but in email-terms, it tends to sound like:

This message doesn’t match my interests!
This message is poorly timed!
This message is just right!

Getting to content that is just right takes some work and understanding of your audience. That’s because your consumers have individual personalities and interests. The answer is not in the quantity of emails, it’s in the quality of the message that is just right for your consumer. Reaching your audience in a personalized way means knowing how your audience is interacting with your brand currently and previously. Are they browsing, buying, reviewing, sharing, or even uninterested?

Where to start?

Your lapsed audience is an easy segment to identify. These are people who haven’t interacted with your brand recently. They haven’t engaged with emails, visited your website, or made any recent purchases. Sending less messages to your lapsed audience is an obvious way to reduce the overall amount of emails you send to them. This will increase engagement percentages, since your email universe will consist of active readers and eliminate people who haven’t taken any action lately.

Send your inactive segments less email than your active segments. But don’t cut them off completely. The lapsed segment of your audience should receive reactivation messages and be removed from other email campaigns until they’ve restored their interest in your brand. In this case, Red Wing Shoes when their inactive audience received 2 reactivation messages during the same time period where overall email sends were reduced. This is one way Red Wing Shoe’s revenue increased even though less emails were sent.

Which type of email will increase revenue?

The best answer I have is, a message that relates to their recent behavior. When I say behavior, I’m really referring to reading their digital body language to see how they’re currently interacting with your brand:

  • Last Browse
  • Last Purchase
  • Last Email Open
  • Last Email Click
  • Last Social Share

Beyond these common data sections, you will likely have additional information about your audience that you can use to create hyper-personalized messages. In this case, Red Wing Shoes used a combination of these data elements and some additional assets.

The result, Red Wing Shoes increased their email-attributed sales by 40%, while sending 11% less total emails over the same time period last year. All thanks to sending emails with a data-driven approach focused on audience behavior.

It's also worth noting that their databased increased 27% year-over-year. Yet, they still sent less total email, despite having significantly more contacts.

Personalization for a greater ROI

Here’s some examples of Red Wing Shoes’ emails that helped increase revenue, while sending less overall messages.

Sent to people who recently purchased boots:

Customers who recently purchased a pair of Red Wing Boots received an offer for workwear accessories, rather than boots. This is an example of smarter email practices. Red Wing Shoes knew that this audience segment was more likely to purchase accessories to complement the boots they already purchased, than another new pair of boots.


Waterproof Footwear

It’s sounds obvious, but waterproof footwear can make the difference between wet and dry feet during a long workday. That being said, people who have previously purchased waterproof boots are likely to respond to email offers that lead with waterproof boots, which is why it’s a great example of a high-performing segment.


Creatures of Habit

You can learn a lot from people’s website and purchase behavior. Another personalized segment that that led to higher revenue numbers for Red Wing Shoes included sending emails with dynamic content based on what customers had bought before or searched on their website. These are samples of three different emails that were personalized to individual segments based on audience behavior.


Reeling People Back In

Announcing a sale is a common tactic to use to recapture your audience’s attention when they haven’t bought anything from your brand in a while. Use these general emails for your lapsed segments or general audiences where you don’t have enough data to personalize your e-mails.


Tips to remember

Email marketing has been around for a long time. What started as a numbers game, acquire as many email addresses as you can. Then send your message far and wide has shifted towards quality.

As Red Wing Shoes has proven, revenue is not necessarily related to the amount of communication you have with your audience, it’s about the personalization of the message. Your audience values the experience they have with your brand far more than the price, or even your product. It’s your job as a marketer to reach them in a way that matches their interests. So, stop sending crazy amounts of emails to people who haven’t interacted with you recently, or worse the same message for everyone in your database. Instead, send customized messages your audience will appreciate. It’s simple in nature, but its execution can be complex. If you find that’s the case, give us a call. We’re happy to help!