In a post at the ExactTarget blog, Nate Romance recounts a visit with his tech-savvy mother, a woman who makes frequent online purchases through sites like Craigslist and Amazon. While scanning her email, she became annoyed with a particular message. “If they send me one more stupid email this week,” she said in exasperation, “I’m never going to buy anything from them again.”

According to Romance, his mother shops at this specialty retailer exactly once a year—to buy a birthday gift for his sister. But despite her regular-as-clockwork shopping pattern, she still receives between three and five email messages each week.

The problem, says Romance, is when companies like this place more importance on omnipresence than relevance. “One marketer actually told me that they considered an unopened, unclicked email to be a net positive for their brand,” he says. “Instead of looking at what they are gaining by sending so frequently, this company should probably be looking at what they are losing from this practice.”

He suggests a better practice: “Adjusting frequency based on previous purchase behavior shows that you understand your customers, you respect them, and you’ll be there for them when they’re ready.”

Cool it. Pay close attention to customer preferences. No one benefits from bombarding subscribers with a scattershot email strategy.

Source: ExactTarget.