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Finding Your Frequency: How Often to Send Emails

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Anyone who has done email marketing has agonized over the question of how often they should be sending emails. People do want to receive them—in a survey by MarketingSherpa, 60% of consumers said they wanted to receive updates and promotions via email, the most preferred method. But if you send too many, your customers might get annoyed and stop reading them or unsubscribe. Send too few and you could lose revenue and your customers’ attention. So what’s the right number?

According to a 2015 email marketing study by Technology/Advice, receiving too many emails is the number one reason people unsubscribe. When asked how businesses could improve their email efforts, 44% said “send fewer emails.”

Monthly vs. Weekly

So how much is too much? In January 2015, MarketingSherpa conducted a survey on email frequency, polling 2,057 adults on how often they’d like to receive promotional emails from companies. The top choice (86%) was at least monthly, and 62% preferred to receive emails at least weekly.

According to the 2015 National Client Email Report by the Direct Marketing Association, the most common marketing email send frequency (35%) is two to three times per month. Weekly emails were favored by 21% of email marketers.

Send Selectively

To hit the frequency sweet spot, segment your email subscriber list so you’re not sending all emails to all customers. If you have targeted information to impart, be selective about who you deliver it to.

Survey customers to see what kind of information they want to receive, and make sure your emails contain valuable, targeted content. The Technology/Advice survey found that irrelevant content was the second most frequent reason for unsubscribing.

Watch the Numbers

As you fine-tune your frequency, keep a careful watch on open rates and unsubscribes. If either open rates fall or unsubscribes rise as your frequency increases, you’re probably emailing too much. If your email includes a purchase call to action, also keep watch on the revenue per email. Some studies indicate that transactions and purchase amounts increase the more emails a customer receives—if you experience the same trend, consider increasing the frequency of your sends to maximize revenue.

Guidelines can be helpful, but remember that only you can determine exactly the right email frequency for your business and your customers. Tailor your email plan to your company’s needs (do you need to communicate weekly specials? Provide daily updates?) and your customers’ preferences. Armed with that information, you can hit on the right frequency for both your company and your customers.