Email marketing remains one of the strongest ways for companies to stay in touch with their customers, keep their customers informed, and ensure that they stay in the forefront of their customers’ mind when it comes time to make a purchase. One of the thorny issues for email marketing is the question of email campaign frequency. Just how often should you sent out your emails? Every day? Monthly? Quarterly?
We know from various email marketing research that sending our our emails too often is one of the leading factors that leads our readers to unsubscribe. In fact, the View from the Inbox study shows that 73% of users who unsubscribe from an email list report “too many emails” as their reason for unsubscribing!
This is a rough concept for some email marketers and business owners, because it’s very tempting to think, “If I send out more emails, I’ll get more click throughs, and more sales!” Alas this is not necessarily the case. In fact, sending out more can lower every email marketing metric you care about.
How often should you send out your email campaign?
First of all, it’s worth being clear that there isn’t necessarily one answer that fits everyone. There are some models that work quite successfully sending out multiple eblasts per day — though that’s clearly the exception. In the perfect world you would do random sampling and testing within your email campaigns; however, you need several thousand subscribers at a minimum before you can obtain statistically significant data that way.
So instead we’re going to look at some overall rules of thumb, based on research conducted by many email marketing companies, that should be applicable to most businesses. If your email marketing campaign falls within these ranges, you should be safely outside of any danger zones.
- Send eblasts a minimum of once per month: anything less than once per month is no longer a regular eblast update. The emails start to get so far apart that you’re losing most of the big advantages of email marketing — you’re no longer keeping your company in the forefront of customers’ minds.Certainly if you have some kind of truly important news you could send out a mass email about it, but it’s not really a newsletter at that point. It’s just a random email sent out to customers.The once per month point, however, can be very effective. It’s just inside the timeline so that your customers will remember you, and when it comes time to make a purchase decision, you’ll be in their head.
- Send ebalsts a maximum of once per week: moving down from monthly, the weekly eblast is another very effective frequency (as are frequencies in between). While some companies can have very effective daily email campaigns, that frequency is definitely in the minority, and many, many people will simply unsubscribe or even report the emails as spam. Clickthroughs and opens both drop dramatically once you get more frequent than weekly. Some larger companies have made their email campaign frequency research public, and showed that even dropping from twice per week down to once per week lowered unsubscribes by over 50% with more than an 80% increase in opens — and most importantly, higher sales as a result of the once per week frequency.
The most important thing is content
Finally, any time we’re talking about the idea email campaign frequency, it’s worth mentioning that the most important factor is the quality of the content of your eblasts. The best way to lower unsubscribes and increase click throughs is to increase the value and quality of the content of your email campaign. Don’t try to come up with “filler” content just to justify a more frequent email schedule.
If you’re considering an email campaign more frequent than once per week, you have to ask yourself whether the information is really that time sensitive? Can it really not get saved up and combined into a weekly eblast? Is the customer really going to miss out if they don’t know now (and if so, could you have told them earlier)?
Be sure that your eblast is providing useful information to your customers — not just information that they may not know, but information that they care about. Then make sure that information is presented in an attractive, understandable way and that it includes calls to action that allow you to measure the results.
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