More and more companies are jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. That means that marketers are communicating more frequently with their customers and prospects. But when the content is self-serving or isn’t newsworthy, companies are missing the opportunity to communicate on a meaningful level, risking reader frustration from a clogged email box and social-media feed. Content frequency is important. After all, even if you know the company and are interested in the products or services it offers, how many people have the time to read and respond to new messages every day?
Yet there are some circumstances where daily communication is acceptable and even desired. For example, what about people who get their newspapers online? What about consumers who sign up for a daily health tip, religious or spiritual guidance or motivational saying? What about members of the media and others who need to keep up-to-date by the moment? These are specialized conditions that reflect the personal choices we make about the type of information we want to access and the frequency with which we want to receive it.
Contact Frequency: It’s in the Eyes of the Beholder
When it comes to receiving information, the desired or ideal frequency of contact is in the eyes of the beholder, not the sender. So what criteria should companies use when determining how frequently to reach out to their target audiences? Here are some suggestions:
- Ask customers for their preferences. Some will say weekly or semi-monthly. Others might prefer less-frequent communications such as monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.
- Find out what type of information customers want to receive. Do they want product or service announcements? Do they want to receive press releases? Are they looking for insights on industry trends? Do they want project updates, reminders or to know what you’ve done for them lately?
- Determine how much information customers desire. Do they want the basics? Short and sweet and to the point? Or do customers want all of the details? Are they looking for breadth or depth?
Contact Frequency: It’s in the Eyes of the Sender
Knowing what prospects and customers want is only half the story. The rest involves developing a plan that takes frequency, messaging and marketing mediums into consideration. Very often, however, companies have only one goal: to make a sale and generate more business. Sometimes that goal gets in the way of identifying a more strategic approach to address how often to contact prospects and customers. When messages are customer-centric and tackle the all-important question of “what’s in it for me?”, recipients might be more open to increased frequency of communications.
It’s important to try to be realistic. If you only reach out once or twice per year now, it’s probably not enough. One way to evaluate whether frequency has to be increased or decreased is to examine your historical patterns and ask these questions:
- Are they consistent?
- Do you produce press releases rarely, sometimes or often?
- What about email campaigns or newsletters?
- Are you sharing other forms of communications such as bylined articles, white papers, case studies or newsletters? If so, how often?
The Bottom Line
In the end, it’s not just about frequency that’s important when putting together a communications plan. How often your customers want to hear from you is a direct reflection of the quality of content you are providing. The more relevant and timely your content is, the more receptive they will be to hearing from you on a more frequent basis. Additionally, it’s important to take in consideration the communication channels used and what action steps you would like customers and prospects to take. To effectively communicate with customers and prospects, be sure to deliver the right message, through the right message and the right time.