In the years since email has over-shadowed direct mail to reach marketing objectives, we have helped clients deploy hundreds of campaigns from event invites to periodic customer newsletters for acquisition and retention and everything in between. As you would expect, the performance of email campaigns can range significantly. Some of the contributing factors for the performance differences have been customers vs. prospects, contact’s level of consent, type of campaign, solicit vs. nurture and level of offer. However, we have always seen performance gains when we are able to implement multiple waves within a campaign. We have seen campaign gains of over two times the initial wave for opens and responses when three waves are deployed.

Multiple wave emails – does not mean mean sending the same email multiple times. Rather, each email wave should have a unique subject line and new content. Typically each wave is a variation on a consistent theme topic. Normally, the email would be sent 3 to 4 weeks apart.

A multi-wave campaign typically includes three waves. A multi-wave email campaign of this proportion is of a reasonable size from a planning perspective. Too many waves will make your future content harder to plan for – ensuring it’s timely, relevant and consistent from the first email wave – all the way through the last email wave.

To be cost-effective, consider planning, designing, creating and setting-up the multiple waves upfront as a single campaign. This helps maintain a low per-wave cost point. By creating three email variations, you can have each telling a different aspect of the message so that they compliment each other.

A 3-wave, multi-wave email campaign that lasts for 9 to 12 weeks is relatively period of time in the world of business. This means your results should not be complicated by changes in business conditions that could warrant campaign changes. An important benefit is that there is minimal additional cost to deliver three times the number of direct marketing touches. Typically, a three-wave campaign cost about 1.5 times the cost of a single wave. However, you get over 2x the performance benefit over a single-wave campaign. You do the math, it’s a very significant benefit!

We have found instances where we were able to take an underperforming single-wave initiative and create a very successful multi-wave campaign. Try tripling-up your next email campaign and you could improve your email campaign’s ROI by more than 30%.

Author: Mike Sullivan serves as VP of Strategy and Solutions at SIGMA Marketing Group. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.