How To Avoid Email Fatigue and Deal With It if You Already Have It

How To Avoid Email Fatigue and Deal With It if You Already Have It
24 February, 2024 • ... • 5332 views
Arina Topoleva
by Arina Topoleva

There’s a growing problem with email fatigue in e-commerce, which affects marketing campaigns and reduces subscriber engagement. As businesses seek to connect with their audience through emails, it is crucial to understand the concept of email fatigue and its future impact on business success and sales.

What is email fatigue?

Email fatigue refers to feeling overwhelmed or exhausted by the sheer number of emails a person receives. This is a common occurrence, when people often receive a large number of emails every day.

Factors contributing to email fatigue include:

Information overload: The constant checking of emails leads to information overload, which makes it difficult for people to keep track of genuinely important messages and prioritize them.

Repetitive content: Multiple emails with similar or repetitive content, such as newsletters, advertisements, or notifications, can contribute to a sense of monotony and disinterest.

Fear of missing important information: The fear of missing crucial information buried in the email may drive individuals to check their emails more frequently.

Time pressure: Managing emails, viewing each message and responding to it takes a lot of time, distracting from other tasks and responsibilities.

Work-life imbalance: Constant email notifications, especially after hours, can disrupt the work-life balance, causing stress and anxiety.

Spam: Irrelevant emails in the mailbox lead to frustration and reduce the overall effectiveness of email communication.

A meme that describes email fatigue
Source: @poofytoo

To fight email fatigue, subscribers organize their inboxes, unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters, and use tools such as filters and labels to better prioritize and manage emails.

Businesses, in turn, can promote the conscious practice of using email and explore alternative communication channels to send non-urgent or repetitive information so as not to lose touch with their customers.

Email fatigue statistics

Numerous events happen in a single minute on the internet, including the sending, scrolling, and uploading of millions of messages and texts, as well as the consumption of hundreds of thousands of hours of content. Emails are widely among them.

Even if it’s not work-related, regular mail users receive daily emails containing advertisements, subscription information, and other digital marketing content from various services and business contacts. And in the growing e-commerce era, this flow isn’t getting less, rather the opposite.

  • As of 2022, full-time employees in the United States and the United Kingdom, receive 32 emails daily on average. Aside from texts from messengers and other notifications. 
  • Statista survey says that, in December 2023, the global email count reached over 241 million within a single minute.
  • In daily email volume, as of April 2023, just the United States, were sending nearly ten billion emails

Other countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, India, and Germany followed closely with each recording 8.3 billion daily emails.

What are the causes of email fatigue?

Email fatigue is really becoming a widespread phenomenon that affects a significant proportion of people.

Here are several factors that contribute to email fatigue the most:

1. Frequent sending of emails

Email fatigue occurs when excessive and intrusive marketing communications are introduced too frequently. The number of emails a person receives per day can vary depending on their role, industry, personal connections, and communication habits.

Some people may receive only a few emails a day, while others, especially those whose positions involve intensive communication, may receive hundreds or even thousands of emails daily. 

Professionals in fields such as e-commerce, marketing, customer service, or project management, where email is the primary means of communication, are more likely to encounter a large volume of emails. Such a volume of repetitive messages in a short period of time can lead to irritation and detachment. Thus, people working in certain industries are more likely to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emails, which leads to email fatigue.

2. Irrelevant and non-personalized content

Irrelevant and non-personalized content may also cause email fatigue.

It is not always spam. These are emails that just do not meet the needs, interests, or preferences of the recipient. 

They are often too general, unrelated to a specific situation, and may not be of any value to the recipient. These include emails that are sent out to a large number of recipients without taking into account individual preferences or characteristics.

For example, travel offers sent once a week or a month may be not relevant for people who travel once or twice in a year, Valentine’s suggestions can be devastating for lonely people, or traveling to winter resorts by bus may not inspire those who live too far from mountains.

Emails that contain travel promotions as an example of non-personalized content

3. Neglecting mobile responsiveness

People open emails not only from a computer, but from mobile devices. If emails are not optimized for mobile phones, for example, they have a small font that becomes unreadable on the phone screen, or a message that is too long, or it contains a lot of attachments – all of this causes nothing but irritation and a desire never to receive such emails again.

Here is an example of non optimized mail. Look at that text, would you read it if you opened it from your phone? Seems unlikely.

And here is why – no clear message useful for a particular user is provided and a user would have to look through a text to understand a context, which most likely looks too small from any mobile device.

Email newsletter containing a long text and unclear message as an example of mobile unresponsiveness
Source: Really Good Emails

What is the impact of email fatigue on your campaigns?

Understanding the effects of email fatigue is crucial to realizing the urgency of solving this problem. Ignoring the signs can have detrimental consequences for your marketing campaigns and e-commerce potential.

  • Decreased engagement

As subscribers get tired, the level of engagement in emails decreases. Users open messages with similar content much less, do not click on links, stop interacting with content or unsubscribe from this newsletter altogether. 

  • More unsubscribes

Email fatigue often prompts users to unsubscribe from newsletters. When they don’t receive any useful information from these emails, and moreover, constantly experience stress and negative emotions at the sight of a certain brand, then the next step may be to unsubscribe. 

Losing subscribers for a business can negatively affect the number of sales at the end. As it is said, retaining current customers is often more affordable than finding new ones. And if the client unsubscribes because of the lost trust, then it will be doubly difficult to return it back.

  • Increased number of spam complaints

If subscribers feel overwhelmed by your newsletters, some may mark an email as spam or use the “report as spam” option in their email client. These complaints indicate that the recipients consider the email unsolicited, irrelevant, or potentially harmful. 

  • Reduced visibility to all subscribers

Excessive spam complaints can negatively impact a sender’s email deliverability, and email service providers may take action to prevent such emails from reaching the inbox. This means that your email will not reach the customers from your mailing list.

How to avoid email fatigue

Now that we have identified the causes of email fatigue, let’s look at effective strategies to prevent and eliminate this problem, providing an effective marketing approach.

The goal is to develop such a strategy in mailing that is ecological for subscribers and beneficial for your business. 

1. Clean up your email list

Start by regularly cleaning and maintaining the mailing list. Delete inactive contacts who are not interested in your content. To do this, you can arrange a newsletter with a survey and check who really responds to your messages and who does not.

Or even simpler, you can identify users who have not opened your emails for a long time and ask them: “Do you want to unsubscribe or continue receiving our emails?”. If they don’t respond after a while, just exclude them from your mailing list. 

Quality is better than quantity – make sure that your audience is interested in the content you offer.

An email newsletter asking about client’s preferences after some time of being not active
Source: Really Good Emails

2. Divide your overall list into segments

Segmentation is a powerful tool for adapting your messages to specific groups of your audience. By dividing your mailing list based on demographics, behaviors, or preferences, you can send more targeted and relevant content, reducing the likelihood of email overwork. 

Simply put, if you have a pet store, send discounts on dog toys to those who have dogs, and offer cat products to those who have cats. Don’t dump everything together.

A newsletter that suggests a promotional material for a dog owner
Source: Really Good Emails

3. Develop an effective mailing strategy

Developing a well-thought-out mailing strategy is crucial to prevent email fatigue. 

Determine a constant frequency of mailing which will maintain the right balance between being informative and not too frequent. 

For example, once a week on Thursdays if you offer weekend leisure and activities, and on Saturdays if you want to offer a special sale starting next week. Avoid busy working days and hours, so your email may get lost among more important ones.

4. Use personalization to attract users

Personalization goes beyond addressing subscribers by their names. Use the data to personalize content based on segmentation, past interactions, purchase history, or preferences of your clients.

Is it a new customer who hasn’t purchased yet? – send them a promo code for the first order.
Is it a loyal client who makes purchases twice a week? – give them a bonus or make a special offer to support their loyalty. 

Is it a client who has purchased a casual outfit, make a list of other items that will complement this particular look. 

An example of a newsletter that provides personalized content. Based on previous preferences it suggests other items that a user would find interesting based on previous choices.
Source: Really Good Emails

5. Give users ability to manage their preferences

Allow subscribers to customize their preferences. Allowing them to choose the frequency and types of emails they receive helps you to make a better targeting for these clients in the future, reduces the risk of email fatigue, and increases overall satisfaction. 

Ask them if they want to receive special offers from you once a week or once a month. You may also make a survey to understand which type of content from your newsletters they are interested in the most.

An example of how user preferences can be organized in mailing

How to fight email fatigue and keep your subscribers engaged

To cope with email fatigue, keep the right balance to make subscribers engaged without being overwhelmed. 

Keep your brand voice constant, but don’t forget to bring new impulses and creative energy to your email marketing campaigns. Use automation tools to make them look not only attractive but also effective. 

If you feel that your audience is not engaged enough, change the visual style, try new content that your audience hasn’t seen before, or make a survey to plan the future content better. Try different hypotheses and see what your subscriber reacts better for.

1.  Engage users by asking for their feedback

Engaging users by requesting their feedback is a strategic approach in email marketing that promotes a sense of collaboration and customer-centered communication. Encourage subscribers to leave feedback on the frequency and content of your emails. 

Here are some of the best practices on how to ask for a feedback using general knowledge of marketing strategy:

  • Create user-friendly surveys: Use surveys to get an idea of subscribers’ preferences, allowing you to make adjustments to your strategy based on the data. When using the survey format, make sure that it is user-friendly and understandable. Avoid long, complex forms and choose short, well-structured questions instead. The simpler and more enjoyable the feedback process, the higher the likelihood of active participation.
  • Craft a compelling subject line: Get the attention of your subscribers right in the subject line that you are asking for their opinion about your products. Make it clear that their feedback is not only welcome, but also necessary to provide a better customer experience. 
  • Use clear and concise language: When requesting feedback, use clear language. State the purpose, the specific information you are looking for, and how their input will contribute to improving your products, services, or the overall customer experience.
A newsletter asking users for feedback about their product. It provides a clear purpose of the survey in a user-friendly way, encouraging subscribers to leave feedback.
Source: Really Good Emails

2. Send product updates

Informing subscribers about new products, features, or updates can revive their interest. Share valuable information that adds value to their experience and reminds them of the benefits of staying connected to your brand. 

Here’s how you can achieve this with email marketing automation tools:

  • Segment your audience: Yes, we’ve already mentioned it before and will mention it again. You can segment the audience based on their previous activity and engagement. For example, there are those who would like to be updated about new features weekly, and there those who prefer to receive newsletters with only significant product updates.
  • Timing and frequency matter: Keep track of the time and frequency of sending emails with updates about your product. 

If you have an event in the future, pick the right time to announce it and to remind about it again later. If it is busy weeks of the year, for example, Black Friday or winter holidays, keep in mind that your mail can remain unnoticed among many others and will not help to re-engage.

A newsletter that provides updates about new features. A brand uses a single newsletter to tell about upcoming changes of a product.
Source: Really Good Emails

3. Engage users with promotional offers

Offering exclusive promotions or discounts can awake interest and encourage subscribers to use your content or products. 

Limited-term offers create a sense of urgency, prompting even the most silent recipients to act. Discover valuable insights on how to engage subscribers and maintain a strong connection with them:

  • Highlight key benefits and features: Clearly state the key benefits and features of your brand new offers. Use concise and convincing language to demonstrate how they improve the user experience. Use visual elements such as images, infographics, or even GIFS and short videos to provide a visual representation of the update.
An email that provided an exclusive promotion and discount
Source: Milled
  • Create a sense of urgency: Instill a sense of urgency by encouraging immediate action. Make it clear to subscribers that the offer or content is time-dependent, encouraging them to act immediately. Phrases such as “The offer is limited in time” or “Act now to get exclusive benefits” can create a sense of urgency.
An email that creates a sense of urgency.
Source: Milled

4. Use “long-not-seen” emails

Identify subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails for some time. For example, if they added something to their cart and did not purchase, you can remind them about the pending order.

Craft targeted campaigns specifically for this segment; featuring compelling content or special offers by re-engagement emails may offer new interactions to those users who may have drifted away. 

  • Offer incentives or exclusive content: Create an additional incentive to re-attract subscribers. This can be in the form of a special discount, early access to new features or exclusive content. Let them feel that by resuming participation, they are gaining access to something valuable and unique.
An email that reengages a subscriber by offering early access and a discount
Source: Really Good Emails
  • Provide options to update preferences: Offer subscribers the opportunity to update their preferences. Sometimes disconnection is the result of receiving content that is no longer relevant. 

Ask them one more time about  the frequency and type of emails they receive, providing a more personalized approach tailored to their current interests.

An email that provides an option for a user to update their current preferences to offer the best usage of newsletter subscription.
Source: Really Good Mails

Conclusion

Email fatigue is a real problem in the boosting era of e-commerce that businesses must address to maintain the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns. By understanding the course, applying preventive measures and actively re-engaging subscribers, as well as providing well targeted integrations with their customers, businesses can ensure a sustainable and successful email marketing strategy. Remember that a well-thought-out and personalized approach is the key to establishing a positive and lasting relationship with your audience.

Look here if you want to learn more about how to create an email newsletter.

24 February, 2024
Article by
Arina Topoleva
At the core of my professional identity is a passion for global connections, communications and digital marketing. With a vision based on an inspiring aesthetic, I am trying to bring a unique flavor to all my projects, creating content that would contribute to a user-based perspective in content marketing.
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