In the fall, we were intrigued by an article on Forbes.com that discusses the value of resending emails to recipients who didn’t open your email the first time. It created some nice discussion in our office, so we turned to our friends at Windows IT Pro, and they helped put some of our thoughts to paper (so to speak!) below:

The findings

The article states that during one test with the method, results showed that the second email helped reach 53.2% more people and saw 32.6% unique opens. Impressive stats, but it’s important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves. While it’s true that numbers don’t lie, imagine if all marketers partook in this strategy? In a world where inboxes are already bursting at the seams and spam traps are more efficient than ever before, here are the reasons why your marketing team should think twice before sending again.

It’s not a sustainable approach.

Although the first test maintained a normal .34% unsubscribe rate, you’re still doubling the net loss of contacts in your database. And just like any questionable marketing scheme, just because it works the first couple of times, doesn’t mean it’s going to maintain continuous inbox placement.

Resending virtually the same email twice runs the risk of email fatigue and of being flagged for spam or blacklisted. Even if you’re only resending to those who didn’t open up the first email, there is no way of telling if your recipients deleted your original message on purpose.

Engagement Matters

The re-senders noted they tweaked the email to have minor changes in the subject line, placement, and colors of the buttons. So if your recipient did happen to delete it the first time, they could be even more annoyed that you tried to dupe them into reading it again. Don’t make them delete it again, or worse, unsubscribe.

One of the most interesting stats from the article was around open and click rates on the second email. It said:

The follow up email never performs as strong as the first. Analyzing a few sample email campaigns, we’ve seen a 44% drop in open rate, and 46% drop in click-through rate on the second email. This is likely because the follow up group represents more of your inactive readers.

These large drops in open and click rates can have a long term (negative) affect on your deliverability. If ISPs see that you’re continuing to send email to unengaged users, your reputation can suffer. Are you willing to take that risk?

Alternative approaches

Rather than upping your chances of inbox placement with frequency of sending, we suggest increasing your deliverability odds by optimizing the time at which you send them.

Timing is everything and while you can argue that the second email serves as a reminder, customizing your emails to be sent at a time you know they will be reading it is just as efficient–it just doesn’t run all the risk of algorithms picking up that you are sending duplicate email messages.

There are companies that send to their recipients daily, but they send the emails within 24 hours from when the last email was opened or clicked. Being sensitive to not bombarding your recipients here is key.

For those recipients lacking engagement at all, a better strategy is actively resting their addresses for a period of time and following up with relevant, wanted content.

Although the engagement numbers are tempting when resending, other methods like monitoring deliverability times closely, offering a preference center, and setting the proper expectations as to the content and frequency of your email during opt-in is more ethical, efficient, and much less risky.

And as always, testing your sending times, subject lines, and every piece of your email campaigns can work wonders when helping to optimize your sends.

To learn more about how to set expectations at the point of sign up, watch our quick webcast Great Expectations: Setting Your Email Marketing Up For Success with our compliance expert, Luke Martinez.


This post is a guest post from our friends at Windows IT Pro. 



Jillian Wohlfarth
As SendGrid's Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, and more. When not writing and editing, you can find Jillian frequenting Denver restaurants in search of the best queso.