Email Frequency: How Often Is Too Often?

email-frequencyWhat is the best email frequency? How often is too often?

That is one of those questions that is often asked in the world of email marketing. Frequency. Timing. Do I send once per quarter? What about monthly? Or weekly? Is a daily email too much? What about several times per day?

Ready for the answer? The short answer is one that you are not going to love. You already know what it is, but I’ll say it anyway. It depends.

So much of what works in email marketing relies on testing. Test different frequencies, ask your subscribers, and then test again. However, there are 6 general guidelines for frequency that may prove to be useful starting points.

  1. You should send quarterly if…you really don’t have much to say or don’t have the time/resources available to say it. One thing to keep in mind is if you send quarterly, your chances of having deliverabilty issues increase. Why? First off, folks are less likely to remember who you are and that they subscribed (delete/spam). Also, the email address could no longer be valid resulting in hard bounces and possible spam traps.
  2. You should send monthly if… you have a newsletter. I believe that this is the minimum frequency.  The goal with a monthly email is often to inform. At WhatCounts, we send out monthly newsletters (subscribe here!). Our newsletters is meant to keep our subscribers up-to-date on the latest happenings at WhatCounts. We include recent blog posts, upcoming events, and other tidbits of email knowledge. However, if your goal is to sell a product or service (think: conversions), monthly is too infrequent.
  3. You should send bi-monthly (2x per month) if…you want to hit the sweet spot for most subscribers. It’s a nice balance between monthly and weekly. Most organizations and/or individuals can crank out solid content every few weeks. It’s doable. It’s repeatable. That being said, this is where some pause and say, “Do we have enough to say every other week?” If you are worried about not having enough content every other week, think about ways to pull existing content (blog posts, press releases, website copy) and repurpose.
  4. You should send weekly if…you are selling a product or service. This would be the minimum. If you have a sale or an updated service offering or new product, let your subscribers know about it every week. Some choose to send on the same day and time every week. We would recommend testing – always. Remember also that you don’t have to pump out a ton of copy in each email. It can be simple – short and to the point as our client and friend Jason Keath does with The Social Fresh 7. Feature a handful of products. Promote a few blog posts.
  5. You should send daily if…you are Daily Candy! That was an easy one. Daily emails can work. The key on these are that you must be able to produce quality actionable, valuable, relevant, and timely content every single day. Most email marketers are unable to keep up with this cadence. And that’s okay. If you can – and have the resources to pull it off – go for it. The only caution on a daily email is be sure to track your metrics carefully and often. If you see a drop in opens, clicks, or conversions – consider pulling back a bit. If you see complaints and unsubscribes increase – test whether every other day changes those numbers.
  6. You should send more than once per day if…you are HARO! If you’ve ever subscribed to Help a Reporter Out (Peter Shankman), you’ll see why more than once per day works. I would not recommend this frequency unless you have super-time sensitive emails like HARO does. This is where automation comes into play, unless you have a large team dedicated full-time to content production and sending emails.

Note: This list does not include automated/triggered emails that can be sent multiple times per day based on a user action or time-based event.

So there you have it. The definitive answer on how often to send email marketing campaigns.

DJ Waldow

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