Spam Alert! How Many Emails Does It Take?

The other day I happened upon an interesting post written by Dan Sumner titled 8 Product Promotion Tips You Won’t Want To Miss. As I am want to do with interesting posts I left a comment, one that disagreed with one of the points that Dan made in his post. I got to give it to Dan, unlike some other posts where I disagreed with the blogger, Dan was most professional and we had pleasant discussion about it and by the end of it we both gave in a little saying that we were both partly right.

The discussion was about the the following point in Dan’s post.

Importance of the product – As I mentioned above. Your subscribers need to know how important this product is to them. One email just isn’t going to cut it. You need to email every day to get the message across. Drill it into your subscribers that they need this product. Many people need convincing that they need something that works!

How Many Emails Before The Spam Alarm Sounds?

In my comment I said to Dan that I thought an email a day promoting the same product was a bit over the top. Perhaps it would work with some people but if anyone was to do that to me I would jump ship and ditch that sucker.

According to Dan, “I have read a lot of research in one of the mastermind groups I am in and the numbers point to more sales after at least two emails on the same product. It does work. Some don’t open the first email due to title and time etc so you it’s always worth shooting a few email in a big promo”

OK, so maybe a second email wouldn’t go astray because not everyone will open the first one and so a second one may be needed, but how about a second, third, fourth or even more? Exactly how many emails promoting the same product are you willing to get before it pisses you off and you consider unsubscribing from the list?

Perhaps you wouldn’t unsubscribe at all? Perhaps you love getting these emails so much that you wouldn’t buy anything unless you get at least a half dozen emails, anything less just shows the guy on the other end isn’t really interested in selling his product?

I thought the best way to find out exactly how people feel about it would be to run a little poll.  :happy_tb:

How Many Emails Before It's Considered Spam

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Naturally, the more people who take part in the poll the better the results are going to be, so in order to get a great result now would be a great time to share this post by giving it a Stumble, Tweet or any of the other social sites that you’re a member of.

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 57 Comments

  1. The number sent is irrelevant. If it is unsolicited, it is spam. It doesn’t even need to be promoting or selling anything. It is still spam if you are mailing me crap out of the blue and I don’t know you from a bar of soap.

    However, being a fine, upstanding bloke such as yourself, Pete, you are up front and transparent with your potential subscribers by letting them know what to expect in your newsletter (including the occasional product/service promo). That’s not spam. It’s not even spam if you send a hundred a day (god I hope you don’t) :-)

    1. Hey Steve, for the purpose of this post you have subscribed and the guy is promoting a product and sending you an email a day promoting said product.

      1. He’d have to be some kind of special awesome guy before I’d even open more than one a week from him. His efforts would be wasted. It is highly unlikely that I would even see more than one of the promotional emails.

        Actually, it is likely I wouldn’t even see the first one… I am VERY picky with what I do and don’t read. :-)

        1. I’ve been getting daily ones from Andy and I’ve subscribed to keep track of a particular plugin he’s been working on and even so it’s still bugging me to the extent I’ve stop reading them

  2. I think it very much depends on the product that’s being promoted and your need/requirement. For something im not interested in if I get more than one or 2 emails I think its a nuisance, on the other hand if its for something like the cinema or protein supplements etc, something I tend to spend regularly on I would welcome more email providing they are saving me money. Sometimes when I get one of these emails I flag it and think I will come back to it later before the offer expires and like most things forget and when I get the next email or even 3rd letting me know the offer expires soon Im glad I received the email and its welcomed.

    1. OK khaled, so three emails are welcome, but say you’re still getting an email even after the third, fourth and fifth one, you’re still OK with that?

      1. You are right the answer is no any more emails would be annoying, but I wouldn’t un-subscribe if I regularly purchased with the company as annoying as it may be.

        1. Hey khaled, they are so lucky to have you as a subscriber :homage:

  3. To me, Sire, the issue is not so much the number of e-mails I get as it is the frequency. If someone sends me one promotional attempt a week (maybe two) I’d be OK with that and remain on their list. If they’re popping me every day, trying to get me to buy a product that will result is a quick unsubscribe.

    It also has to do with interest. If I sent you an e-mail a few times a week telling you how much you need to buy my book on how to publish what you write, you’d probably unsubscribe because you have no interest in that. But because I use the list only to alert subscribers of new posts, you’re still on the list.

    I have joined lists that promised to deliver important news about the publishing industry then got nothing but “buy my book” ads. I jumped ship quickly.

    Dan is right (IMO) that repeated exposure to an advertisement increases sales: it’s much the same as the old direct-mail advertising Rule of 7: a potential customer needs to be exposed to your product at least 7 times before they truly register awareness of it and feel it might be legitimate and worthwhile. At that point one in ten will investigate, and one in ten of those will buy. So for every 1000 cards mailed out (on a product that has any real worth) you can expect an average of 10 sales. Which could be turned around and said that for every 10 sales you make you will have annoyed 990 people. :-)

    1. Frequency is definitely the key Allan, and I don’t think I would be too upset if the emails were spaced out over time, but in Dan’s situation he is talking about an email a day over 7 days, probably more if the promotion was over a couple of weeks, and as far as I’m concerned that is overdoing it.

      Even if I didn’t unsubscribe the repetitive emails would cause me to ignore them altogether.

      1. That’s true too – if I find I’m skipping over someone’s email routinely it’s time to unsubscribe.


  4. Twitter:
    I think that the numbers are somewhere more around 4 or 5 total emails (thankfully not the same day) before I end up unsubscribing. Some tend to be more because they will send one, and then I don’t get another for a couple of weeks. I’ve started getting about 3 a week from a company my husband likes to order from (why he doesn’t use his own email address when purchasing is beyond me), and I’ve been deleting them before I think to unsubscribe. And we had a relative that shared her baby’s first birthday pictures with us. The professional photographer that she used sent us two emails at first, I guess figuring in case someone didn’t open the first, but I opened my emails this morning and there were three more with ‘offers’ trying to get me to purchase some of the pictures. When I see more in my email inbox like that all at one time, I unsubscribe a lot faster.

    1. Hey Allie, sounds like your hubby has the right idea mate, using his wife as a spam filter and all :wink_ee:


  5. Twitter:
    I went with the “2” answer, but Allan’s right in mentioning frequency. It doesn’t even have to be a product. I dropped participation in one social media network last week because they were sending 3 emails a day; way too much, especially since the site wasn’t even all that engaging.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Could You Be Too Cute With Your Blog Or Website?My Profile

    1. Wow, three a day, yeah I reckon I would have dropped them too. Seems to me that some internet marketers think more of the sale than keeping their lists. It’s amazing how they fail to see that overdoing it not only costs them the sale but their subscribers as well.

  6. I voted for four. But like somebody else said, it’s really not the number, it’s what’s in it and how you ended up on their email list. Also, why promote just one product? If you have many of them to offer you might seem more confidence-inspiring?

    1. In this situation Erica all the emails are promoting the same product.

  7. Was the infolinks link in the text at the bottom of the survey intentional. I clicked on it to share the survey before it had time to “pop up” the link. Now, I’m not sharing the survey. If the infolink goes away, I’ll be happy to share. :)

    I’m referring to the phrase: “time to share” in the text below.

    Naturally, the more people who take part in the poll the better the results are going to be, so in order to get a great result now would be a great time to share this post by giving it a Stumble, Tweet or any of the other social sites that you’re a member of.

    1. Unfortunately I do not have any control over which words the infolinks chooses to highlight Boyd, but while writing this comment I can say there was no link on that group of words.

      1. I thought that might be the case, so I went ahead and spread the news to several of the social sites. (fyi, Digg says they can’t read your URL.)

        1. Thanks for that Boyd and that’s a little weird about Digg, maybe they’re just dugg out :laugh_tb:

  8. One email a day it fine, but as long as the email cotent is giving value. If the emails are just pitching the product then it get old after the 5 email. If you create value for someone else then one a day will work great.

    1. Would you consider those emails of value if they were consistently promoting a particular product Tyler?

      1. If your just hammering away at just the product and creating no value then that to me is big time spam.

        But if you are creating value, helping others and then at the end of the email you promote the product. I feel that is ok each day.

        1. I agree on both points Tyler.

    1. I sometimes wonder if anyone has that much valuable information to offer that they can could actually email several times a day.

  9. I know that about 3 emails is my limit. If I didn’t open the first, second and third then I’m not going to. You can send them all day everyday and I’m not going to respond. Just my thought

    1. Not a problem Ryan, I’ve always wanted to know your thoughts on this subject. :wink_ee:

  10. I think that you are totally right, I agree, one email should be enough.. If someone is interested in the product, they will do some research and will find out how to purchase it, more emails would be act like aggressive, I think.

    1. Hey Susanne, you know now that I’ve thought it about more, especially after reading some of the comments, I reckon I can live with too emails :tongue_laugh_ee:

  11. Interesting post. I voted three but now that I think about it, it would have to heavily depend on the content of the email. If what the email about is actually useful then helpful, I would not regard it as spam.

    1. Hey Robert, the sort of emails I’m talking about are promotional ones whose sole intent is to get you to buy something.

  12. I hate unsolicited e-mails. I usually unsubscribe to them because I don’t like to have clutter in my inbox. Unfortunately, spam works on certain people and it seems to be effective.

    1. Hi Robert, the assumption for this post is that you are subscribed but find out that suddenly you’re getting email promoting the same product on a daily basis.

  13. I face this problem more frequently because I am using a smartphone, I get all my emails on my phone and a continous flow of them pisses me off to eternity. However, I am so lazy I dont even bother to unsubscribe fromk the list but just keep deleting them without a look.

    1. James, James, James, I think it’s time you unsubscribe because that tiny bit of effort will end up saving you a lot of time :wink_ee:

  14. I guess, three and u are out, but, still, it depends- what kind if email, how often, sometimes , u can unsubscribe after the first one

    1. True, but like mentioned at the beginning of the post we are talking about daily emails all promoting the same product.

  15. It’s interesting that most of the people think it takes 1 or 2. I usually wait for after 3 or more, just because that’s how I feel about mail spam. It’s far less important to SEO Marketing than you would think.

    1. Actually Austin, most people say two or three, only one person voted for one.

  16. My answer is 2. Any emails more than that, I consider, is a spam. Would be so annoying if you keep getting emails with same content/product. Two is good enough for me.

    1. Yep, two sounds like a good number.

  17. Hi Sire,

    Well, for me is I really don’t mind if how many emails I get from a someone’s product. If that someone sends me 10 emails of same content, I would just delete the other 9 and leave one to read on.
    The only thing I hate is, those porn emails which I have no idea where it came from.

    1. Wow Brooke, you must be one in a million :homage: :laugh_tb:

  18. I would agree with you, I think that an email a day is too much, though I have read similar research that says that it does take multiple emails to get people to have a notable response to an email promotion. If your promotion is time sensitive, I think you can get away with a high amount over a shorter period of time. Maybe every other day, or something along those lines, with an inclusion in the email something like “your time is running out”… that kind of a thing. I do think that this can annoy people, but there are also people who read your email, take an interest in it for later, then forget about it. They can use the helpful reminder!

    1. Hey Paul, every other day would be a lot better than a daily barrage, that’s for sure. Personally, if I was promoting something that was time sensitive I would start with the initial email and then follow up with another two leading up to the end of the special. I would also make sure those emails contained something of value and not just a reminder. Perhaps include a bonus or something?

  19. I think anything more than an email a week, is kind of overkill. Chances are if your sending out more than that(unless of course they signed up to receive them more often) then you may end up annoying those receiving them.

    1. It would certainly annoy me and I doubt I’m the only one.

  20. I tend to treat all unsolicited emails with any offers (business to business or retail) as SPAM. I get several hundred spam messages a day, and some of them make it through my filters. I wonder how anyone could buy something that’s advertized as unsolicited bulk emails…
    Roman Bershadsky recently posted…Roman Design wins “Best in Flash” awardMy Profile

    1. They wouldn’t be unsolicited Ben as we’re talking about people who have subscribed to your list.

  21. For me, it comes down to the content. If the title makes it sound like something interesting, there is a fair chance I will read it. If it is random, unsolicited mail then I’m not likely to find it interesting. If it sounds ‘salesy’ then it could easily put me off reading subject matter which might otherwise have appealed. Send me the same random rubbish more than 2 or 3 times and you’re history.

    1. Matt, for the purpose of this exercise it’s not unsolicited as you’ve subscribed to the list. The person sending it to you is selling something and the mail is sent on a daily basis and its trying to sell the same product. But then I thought most of that was explained in the post. :doh_tb:

  22. I believe it would be seven because e-mail marketers should be using the 7-day scheme. It is a series of e-mails for a whole week that allows the people on his list to get to know him and establish a relationship. If he fails to do this for a week, and just sends me the same product over and over again then I might just ditch him.

    1. Maybe, but we’re not talking about the 7-day scheme John. Besides, I reckon that would annoy the heck out of me after the third day.

  23. It would have to be 3 a day for me although 2 a day would get my back up ha ha. Although I do agree with most opinions here its not so much the number but the content. If I find the content useful or interesting 3 times a day then I wont unsubscibe ;-)
    craig recently posted…Common Computer Terminology (App to Cut)My Profile

    1. Craig, we’re talking about one a day being too many! Shit, if some turkey was giving me three a day I’d shove him to the curb straight away :guns_tb:

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