OK, you can laugh at the title of this post (or even groan at it – I don’t mind)! But the fact remains that you need to find the right email sending frequency; otherwise, it can harm your relationship with your recipients, and ultimately hurt you as a sender.
What do I mean by sending frequency? For the purposes of email marketing, it’s how often you communicate with your email subscribers.
How do you determine the right mailing frequency for your organization? Ask yourself the following:
- Are you sending product emails to your customer base?
- Is your mailing list more newsletter- or group-based?
- When people sign up for your list, are you setting expectations regarding how often they will receive emails from you?
These are all considerations that will help you figure out how often to send your messages. And please, be realistic and honest with yourself as you evaluate your current sending program. I’m sure your emails are full of great content, but that doesn’t necessarily mean people want to hear from you every single day. In fact, setting an expectation for daily emails may deter people from joining your list at all. On the other hand, if you don’t set the expectation up front, they may get annoyed at hearing from you too often and delete your messages, or worse, mark them as spam.
With consumer-based mailing programs (i.e., sending to folks who have purchased something from you or have requested product information), you can use tools like triggered and transactional messages. These can include order and shipping confirmations, surveys, and even abandoned shopping cart emails. These emails are sent as the result of an action that a subscriber takes (or doesn’t take), and should be taken into account in the overall frequency scheme. You don’t want to harass your customers with a constant barrage of survey or shopping cart emails, as they can detract from your promotional mailings. You can play with the frequency until you find the balance that works best for you. If you start seeing a spike in unsubscribes or complaints, that’s probably an indication that you’re sending too much mail and you should throttle it back.
Transactional mailings don’t play as large a part in newsletter- or membership-based mailing programs. When sending these types of mailings, you need to be respectful of your recipients and make sure you’re not sending more emails than the sign-up process indicated.
Now that I’ve gone on about sending too much, I should mention that sending too infrequently can also be an issue. Since they hardly ever hear from you, your subscribers could forget that they ever signed up for your emails. Not only can this result in your email list going “stale”, your recipients could mark your email as spam or unsubscribe altogether.
Deciding how much and how often to send can be challenging at times, so it’s good to remember your personal experience with email. Think about how often you like to receive messages. Are you open to receiving more email from certain types of organizations? Are there other folks you feel you don’t hear from often enough? Use your own experience as a guideline and adjust your email marketing program from there, taking into account your industry, content production level, subscribers, etc. You’ll know you’ve struck the right balance when your engagement rates are good, unsubscribes are low, and people spend money, donate, or respond positively as a result of receiving your messages.
Now it’s your turn: Have you found the “magic” sending frequency that works best for your organization? Or are you struggling to find that balance? Let us know in the comments!