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How Many Emails Is Too Many Emails? – Autoresponder Abuse

By Yaro Starak
6 Comments

Email AutorespondersI just unsubscribed from two email lists. One was from a well established online marketer with credibility and a huge following. I never purchased from him but I joined his email list to test him out. After submitting my address I was immediately sent a bunch of materials and a lengthy email. I saved them for reading later. A day or two more I received another lengthy email, then another a couple days from that.

Eventually a pattern ensued that every 2-5 days I would receive a large email, broadcasted out automatically from this online marketers autoresponder (incidentally this was another high profile online marketer using Aweber to handle email lists). The problem was I hadn’t found the time to read his first email and materials – it was information overload.

The other list I unsubscribed from was from an unknown online marketer targeting the podcasting market. He had an ebook about podcasting that he was selling and the email list was a free sample course to help sell the book. I subscribed on a whim but found the materials were targeted at podcasting beginners so after reading the first email and skimming the second I realised the information was redundant in my case.

Making Autoresponders Work For Your Target Market

There are some good lessons here. The first one is that if you do intend to build an email list, and as an online marketer you definitely should be, then you need to be careful to balance the size and frequency of your broadcast emails.

The first example I gave above was a case where I just got overwhelmed by too much information too quickly. That particular online marketer was probably taking careful note to track conversions and unsubscribers so I may in fact be a rare case of someone leaving his list or I may be indicative of a trend, which may force him to adjust how often he sends out his autoresponses. It doesn’t matter what is the case, the important point is you should be testing how your audience responds to your email broadcasts. Don’t be afraid to lose a few people, you can’t satisfy everyone, but definitely watch for trends – for example if a certain email in your broadcast sequence produces more unsubscribers it may need to be deleted or delayed or changed in some way.

How Many Emails Is Too Many Emails?

A general rule of thumb is definitely keep in touch at least monthly to maintain a dialogue with your email members. Anything more than that and your subscribers may have forgotten who you are so when they receive an email from you it appears “out of the blue” in a SPAM like manner and they may unsubscribe.

On the flip side, sending an email every day or 2-3 times a week will be too much, be careful not to bombard your readers with mail. Of course don’t make assumptions without testing first but in my opinion a good amount is no more than once a week, except of course if you are running an e-course, in which case 5-7 sequential days is fine until the course is finished and then move to weekly after that, then perhaps bi-weekly after a month or three then move to monthly later on.

The most important thing is to keep communicating. There are plenty of cases where an autoresponder may not lead to a sale until six months later when the prospect finally has a need to make a purchase. If your autoresponse series is helpful, informative and entertaining you should be able to establish and maintain a relationship with your prospects for as long as it takes to convert them to customers. You must be in their “headspace” when it comes time to buy.

Email Length

What I like about Perry Marshall’s emails is that they are all tiny. You get the main idea within a few sentences, often there is a link to follow if you are interested in the topic and that’s it. It takes about 30 seconds to digest his emails.

The online marketer that I unsubscribed from mentioned above had a habit of writing massive emails that I just didn’t have the energy to read through. If you can’t get the gist of an email with a quick scan then in my opinion that email is not doing it’s job.

I write large articles. If you read through this blog most of the major articles are between 1000 and 3000 words, definitely considered too big for quick digesting. I try and keep my email broadcasts short and to the point, but I can’t restrict my writing sometimes, especially with blog posts because I have a lot to say.

I’m well aware that it is important to consider my time-poor readers (99% of the web!) so I provide headings. You must make it possible for your readers to quickly scan and read the sections that are important to them and clear headings for each new idea is all it takes. This rule must be applied to email autoresponders too since people have a low attention span when checking their mail and it’s very easy to click delete. Anything you can do to get your point across quickly and easily is good and it’s even better if you can get an immediate response from a call to action as well.

Off Target

The second email list I unsubscribed from that I mentioned above was because I was not gaining anything from the emails. I was not the right target audience, hence I unsubscribed. This is going to happen to every email list from time to time, but it highlights an important consideration – get your targeting spot on. If you suffer from chronic unsubscriber numbers after each broadcast email you send then chances are you collecting the wrong people onto your list. Check the type of traffic you are funnelling to your mailing list to make sure it matches what you are providing from your emails.

Further Reading

Will Swayne has an article titled – The death of autoresponders? – that has some more points to help you make better use of autoresponders.

Yaro Starak

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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6 Comments

  • Good point Yaro,
    Many people in marketing make the mistake of “quantity over quality”. Once you sign up for a mailing list, they try to push as many lengthy emails as frequently as they can. I believe that a small amount of quality, straight-forward articles will have a much larger impact on people, and stand less of a chance being passed off as Spam. Treat all potential customers with respect whether in person or through a mailing list.

  • Hey Yaro,

    You’re right on with this post and now that you mention it I now realize there are more people like me that are sometimes adamant of signing up with any service or newletters because of the inundation of emails short after signing up with the service/newsletter.

    Off topic: Since I am new to podcasting I would love to know what is the URL to the marketer with the free ebook for podcasting that you mentioned on this post.

    Best regards and thanks in advance for your prompt response.

  • Jesus – it wasn’t a free ebook – it is $47 I believe. I just subscribed to his free newsletter.

    Do a search for “how to podcast” and I’m sure you will get an answer.

  • Thanks yaro will do :-)

  • Yaro – This is a very nicely done post that gave me a lot to think about for my newsletter. I do the once a week e-mail, and include a way to get a daily digest as well for all my posts. It seems to be working well, but perhaps your points will allow me to do things even better. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

  • Hi Yaro, What you said about information overload resonates with me. I was getting so many emails that I couldn’t possibly keep up with them all. I had signed up for a number of top online guru’s newsletters to become informed. I had to unsubscribe from a lot of them since I just couldn’t keep up with all the reading. I’m still keeping Jonathan Leger’s though as well as several others — Pat

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