As an email marketer, your biggest challenge is determining how often you should send emails to your customers. Too many emails can lead to unsubscribes and decreased engagement, while too few could cause your campaigns to get lost in the mix.
This article will walk you through best practices for determining ideal email frequencies, from evaluating customer segments to understanding subscriber preferences. With insights from marketing experts, it will help you create a comprehensive strategy that suits your business goals and customers’ needs.
What Is the Optimal Frequency for Email Marketing?
The debate around the optimal frequency for email marketing continues to rage on. To be successful in your email marketing efforts, you must consider a range of factors, including the industry you’re in, the nature of the product or service you’re offering, and the type of emails you plan to send.
Industry stats show that, while 35% of users send out 2-3 emails per month and 19% send 1 email per month, it is estimated that companies should usually send anywhere between 2-4 emails per month. In terms of best practice, a study conducted by Omnisend found that small businesses doing business marketing should aim to send 10-19 emails per month.
Even though customers have, globally, expressed a preference for receiving promotional emails at least once a month but no more than 5 emails per week, the rate at which marketers can send out emails is not unlimited. As an old rule of thumb for the industry goes, as email marketing frequency increases, so does the diminishing returns.
Open rates below 10% are not great, but they can still be considered fine depending on the other conversions happening or new goal strategy implementations. That being said, there are moments when customers expect active communication from brands, such as e-commerce companies, in the regular purchase cycle.
So, how often should you send emails? Generally speaking, most businesses’ “sweet spot” was 2-4 emails per month, varying drastically depending on the product or service offered. For example, fashion brands may need to send daily emails to keep up with the pace of their industry, while an insurance company likely doesn’t need to send as many emails.
The nature of the email also plays a role in determining email frequency. If promotional emails are sent, they should be sent more often than messages with essential updates. Similarly, a monthly newsletter or newsletters should rarely be sent twice monthly—unless subscribers have explicitly agreed to those extra emails.
When determining the proper email frequency, set expectations early, test different variations and frequencies, and personalize whenever possible. This will ensure that your emails are delivered effectively and allow you to maintain a good reputation and domain health.
More recent data suggests that, in general, most marketers err on the side of sending fewer emails, which is often in line with customer satisfaction and engagement.
Email marketing frequency varies widely between industries, with 15% of consumers being open to receiving a promotional email daily. At the same time, 33% of respondents prefer weekly emails. Interestingly enough, online dating might even be an exception to this rule, being the only industry in 2017 that showed an increase in the emails sent comparably to 2016. According to Zettasphere, this number sits at 6.21 weekly emails, the recommended ‘sweet spot.’
Additionally, studies suggest that people who receive up to four emails monthly make more purchases than those who do not receive marketing emails or individuals who receive fewer than four emails. Lastly, surprisingly, those who receive seven or more sales and promotional emails per month spend more than those who receive between three and six emails per month.
This data indicates that there isn’t necessarily a precise answer regarding the preferred frequency for promotional emails—which means it’s essential to personalize your approach and constantly test different strategies.
Nature of Product or Service
The kind of product or service a company offers can heavily impact the frequency at which emails should be sent. An active approach requires frequent and constant contact with customers to promote products or services. For instance, companies in the fashion industry may find that they need to send emails multiple times a week to capture customer attention.
Other industries may require emails on a less frequent basis. An insurance company, for example, might send emails less often due to slower customer lifecycles. Understanding the needs of customers and markets is essential in finding the perfect balance to ensure emails are neither too frequent nor insufficient in number.
Nature of Email
Furthermore, the nature of the emails being sent matters as much (if not more) as the frequency at which they are being sent. Marketing emails should target customers interested in the company’s offerings rather than being sent to an indiscriminate chunk of the subscriber list. It’s also essential to ensure a varied mix of emails being sent; too many promotional emails vs. meaningful ones can lead to losing subscribers.
The subject lines sent to marketing emails should match the content in the emails, ensuring that what is promised is what is delivered. Personalized promotions should also be mentioned here since they have been repeatedly cited as a critical factor in driving engagement.
Finding the right email frequency largely depends on testing and experimentation. Communication and setting expectations at the beginning can go a long way. Companies should also monitor their unsubscribe, top click-through rate, and open rates to understand when increasing or decreasing frequency would be beneficial. Companies can build trust, establish relationships, and improve their overall success by understanding how customers interact with their emails.
What Happens When You Send Too Many Emails?
Sending too many emails can come with consequences for companies and organizations, both financial and reputational. As email marketing campaigns become an effective way to reach customers, companies may gradually increase the frequency of their emails to reach as many users as possible. That being said, there is a point of diminishing returns when sending too many emails, and companies must remember this when building their email marketing strategy.
Customers who receive more emails than they expect or want can become annoyed and unsubscribe. According to recent data from Return Path, email volume and read rates have a negative correlation, with experts noting that emails sent at least 19 times a month significantly reduce open rates compared to those sent only a few times a month.
In addition, higher email frequencies also correspond with an increase in spam complaints. It’s easy to understand why – chances are customers won’t see the value of a business sending multiple emails within a short time frame and will think of these as intrusive. This sentiment was echoed by Hubspot when they discontinued their blog notification system due to sending up to 4 emails a day and receiving a decrease in engagement and losses in subscribers in response.
In addition to risking customer engagement levels, sending too many emails may also carry significant risks to the success of a company’s digital campaigns. Increasing email frequencies can lead to increased opt-outs, resulting in lower click-through rates, email revenue, and sales performance in the long run.
Every email sent should be high-quality, relevant, and sought after by the customer. Even if customers don’t immediately notice the direct effects of an increased email frequency, metrics such as unsubscribes and bounces must be overseen to ensure quality and compliance.
On the other hand, not sending enough emails poses its own risks. Allowing any interactions between you and your target audience to fizzle out can lead customers to forget about the brand, resulting in decreased loyalty. Sending fewer emails can also limit the ability to generate revenue and maintain the effectiveness of promotional campaigns.
The best practice is to find the “sweet spot” – the number of emails to send that balances frequency, opens, clicks, and overall engagement levels. Many marketers believe this sweet spot falls into a range starting at two emails a month up to a maximum of one email per week. However, it is essential to remember that this sweet spot will vary depending on the industry and target audience.
Unsubscribe/Marked as Spam
The more emails a customer receives, the more likely they are to unsubscribe. According to a survey conducted by Return Path, 80 percent of respondents reported that they found “irrelevant or useless” content to be the primary reason they decided to unsubscribe from emails.
Moreover, sending too many emails quickly could potentially annoy customers, creating a risk of customers unsubscribing from emails or marking them as spam. To illustrate this point, a case study conducted by a major insurance company noted a dramatic increase in opt-outs when they changed their email cadence from 6 emails a year to 50.
This is an excellent example of the potential dangers of changing email frequencies without proper planning.
While unsubscribing and marking emails as spam are common reactions to receiving too many emails, companies should also be conscious of customer disengagement, which occurs when customers no longer find value in emails sent by a company and stop engaging with the content. Return Path surveyed 1,300+ marketers to determine the optimal email frequency and found that customers responded differently to emails sent up to 19 times a month.
While all respondents saw a slight rise in engagement when they increased their emailing frequency by up to five emails each month, engagement levels remained flat after that, indicating that sending more emails didn’t result in more responses.
Companies must also consider the practical reasons for sending emails consistently, such as timely updates about special offers and new products, keeping customers engaged, and providing information that aids customers along their buying journey. This information can help to increase revenue, build relationships, and foster customer loyalty.
No Noticeable Change
Although there may not be an immediate reaction from customers to a sudden increase in email frequency, reduced opens, clicks, and conversions may still occur. One example of this phenomenon comes from a local university that experienced decreased opens and click-throughs after switching from monthly to weekly emails.
This illustrates that although users may appear unaffected by a sudden increase in frequency, eventually, the cumulative effect of too many emails could cause customers to disengage with emails over time.
Another thing to remember is that when customers receive too many emails in a short time frame, they may ignore them without responding or unsubscribing. That lack of action might lead managers and marketers to believe their emails are working correctly.
These metrics should be monitored even more closely than ever, as an increase in email frequency can easily lead to a drop in subscribers who are overwhelmed or irritated by the amount of messages being sent.
Overall, sending too many emails can significantly impact both the customer experience and the success of the digital marketing campaign. Companies should analyze both internal and external variables, such as email service providers, domain reputation, new subscribers, etc., before making changes to the email strategy. Set expectations early and allow customers to choose how often they want to receive messages, A/B testing as needed, and keep subscriber lists clean.
How to Find the Right Email Frequency
Finding the right email frequency for marketing emails can be a tricky balancing between saturation and engagement. Marketers must consider customer data, preferences, and perspectives to determine optimal email marketing frequency. Customer data consists of open rates, unsubscribes, and click-through rates and can help inform the best approach for each set of subscribers.
Additionally, customers’ preferences regarding how often they should receive emails must be considered to ensure they are not overwhelmed with emails. Segmenting your mailing list based on customers’ preferences and interests will also help ensure you deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.
Preferences centers offer a great way to give customers more control over the communication they want from a business. Subscribers can select how often they may want to receive emails – multiple times per week, once a week, bi-weekly, or monthly.
This creates the opportunity to tailor your email program and mailing lists and optimize the delivery of targeted messages at regular intervals. Surveys and market influencers can provide valuable insight into customer behavior and habits when determining customer email reception.
A/B testing is also beneficial for understanding customer responsiveness to different email frequencies. This involves sending the same email twice to the same audience. Still, this time, with different subject lines – for instance, one group receives an email twice a week, compared to another group that receives only weekly emails.
As previously mentioned, segmentation of the customer list can identify critical customers who require different frequency levels – automated emails could be sent to highly engaged audience members more than once a month. In contrast, less frequent emails can be sent to new subscribers and people who have not opened or engaged with any emails.
Experimenting with different send schedules to observe how response levels change can be very helpful in understanding the sweet spot for frequency. For example, emails sent out on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays perform better than on other days – demonstrating the importance for marketers to track metrics like unsubscribe rates and open rates to determine their best frequency.
The correct email marketing frequency requires attention and adjustment as customer lifeworlds, interests, and preferences evolve. The best way to find the right frequency for your business is to track metrics and test different frequencies to find the best balance for your customers and your objectives.
The philosophy underlying double opens is the idea that we have one single action that we want the subscriber to take and that it’s so important that we’ll email her with varying positioning until she takes the action.
In contrast, new user lifecycle emails often fail when they consist of 10 emails highlighting 10 different features of our product. That shows a lack of conviction to the user that he should act on any of those features, and we prove the user right by not committing additional emails behind any of those features to ensure that the user tries them.Source: Noah Kagan for Customer.io
Let Subscribers Choose
A preference center enables subscribers to choose how often they would like to receive emails from a business. This allows customers to feel in control, giving them more autonomy to decide how frequently they would like to stay informed about the business’ promotional activities and special offers.
As customers select how often they desire to receive emails, businesses can take advantage of click-through rates as a metric to determine how often they should be sending emails to subscribers in general – allowing them to optimize the scheduling of emails. Additionally, customers can update their subscription preferences when signing up, in re-engagement campaigns, or even as an option on an unsubscribe page.
Things get complicated since customers’ preferences vary. For example, eCommerce companies may want to email shoppers more often if they are nearing the end of their purchase cycle. At the same time, fashion brands may wish to increase the number of emails users receive if they bought something last month. It all goes down to the e-commerce company’s perception of its customers receptiveness.
This is why surveys are essential to create more comprehensive customer segments by allowing marketers to create segments based on individual preferences. Businesses can also create manual segments within their customer list based on engagement level and customize delivery times according to what works for each group of customers – boosting engagement and opens.
Moreover, demonstrating transparency and openness to customers by introducing the type of emails they receive will set realistic expectations and nurture the relationship between customer and business.
Experimenting with increasing the frequency of emails can lead to an increase in clicks and open rate, however, this should be done carefully, and all changes should be tracked accordingly.
A thriving preference center, a good segmentation strategy, and clear criteria on messaging types are essential elements to make the most out of email communications and put subscribers in control of their communication.
A/B testing refers to splitting an email list into two and then sending the same email to each group but with a slight variation (such as the subject line, images, or body copy). The basic theory behind A/B testing suggests that groups exposed to the variation should show better results than the control group tested against the original version.
Noah Kagen from Customer.io suggests sending the same email twice, with a different subject line each time. This helps marketers gauge the effectiveness of the subject line and understand where the confusion lies if customers are not engaging with the email.
Follow-up experiments include SimpleRelevance’s weekly emails with dynamic templates for customized content, testing whether individualized content has more success than a one-size-fits-all template. Faizan Fahim shared his experience proofing A/B test results, featuring a consistently higher open rate on emails scheduled on 2nd and 4th Saturdays.
Manual segmentation also works by creating two lists and experimenting by sending emails to one list daily and the second twice a week. This would allow us to measure the impact of frequency on subscribers before diving in head first with additional tests.
Additionally, segmenting the audience by engagement level helps target the active customers versus those who aren’t nearly as responsive with multiple sends. Furthermore, targeting the same email to a few dozen people is essential to ensure testing doesn’t annoy customers and won’t lead to losing subscribers.
Ultimately, A/B testing helps determine the best frequency for different customer groups and the effectiveness of customization for each group. SimpleRelevance performed lifting tests on its automated emails and determined that increased sends lead to increased levels of engagement from clients. This proves that marketers can find the ideal email frequency for their subscribers with good experimentation techniques.
Keeping Your Subscriber List Clean
When managing an email list, it is crucial to keep it clean. If a business neglects its subscriber list, it can result in lower click-through rates, damaging the open rates and domain reputation. Email service providers look for low engagement and customer spam complaints as problem indicators. These are considered red flags. Thus, it is essential to stay ahead of this process and periodically clean the list of disengaged contacts so emails reach the right audience.
To completely understand the success of an email marketing campaign, businesses should watch over their send frequency. With every increase in email frequency, there is a risk of losing subscribers due to an overload of messages.
To tackle this situation, automation workflows can be set up to reactivate inactive customers before they fall off completely. Moreover, adding a link at the end of emails that takes subscribers to a form to update their subscription preferences will help maintain a clean email list.
Businesses can also take proactive steps to listen to subscribers and inform them about changes in the mailing frequency. For example, surveys can be sent out asking for information such as birthdays, which can be used for promotional emails.
The aim is to have an interested subscriber base rather than quantity. Hence, focusing on customer loyalty rather than total count will improve the overall performance of campaigns. Attempting to re-engage those who don’t respond after the initial contact is necessary, but it’s best to let them go when those attempts fail. Cleaning the email list roughly every six months according to essential list cleaning best practices is recommended for maximum efficiency.
Overall, enabling customers to choose the number of emails they want to receive and performing A/B testing to find the optimal frequency are notable techniques that ensure keeping a clean subscriber list. The email campaign was a success.
By maintaining a clean list and being ahead of cleaning workflows, businesses can ensure enhanced customer experience, drive engagement, and even upgrade their domain reputation in the long run.
Tips to Boost Engagement with Emails
When it comes to email marketing, finding the right frequency can be a tricky task. Too many emails and people may unsubscribe, yet not enough emails and customers may become disengaged. Businesses need to find the optimal frequency for their promotional emails so subscribers feel valued and respected. That brings us to tips that can help boost engagement with emails.
Customer stories and testimonials are great ways to illustrate the value of a product or service. Not only do they provide real-life experiences from other customers, but they can make promotional emails more effective by providing examples of how the product or service helped solve a problem.
Another way to ensure customer satisfaction is by giving them control over business communications. Preference centers allow customers to select which type of information they wish to receive regarding newsletters, promotions, and marketing messages. This benefits the customer, as they don’t have to opt out of unwanted emails and companies manually, and they can segment their subscriber list accordingly.
Apart from the apparent advantages of list segmentation, preference centers also enable manual customization of delivery times. For instance, someone who works during regular business hours might prefer receiving emails after work. This enables businesses to customize their deliveries if subscribers have listed different time preferences.
On a related note, practicing good email list hygiene is essential. This means regularly scrubbing your list of invalid or inactive email addresses. Unsubscribers should always be removed promptly, and those with hard bounce issues should be replaced with valid contacts at the same frequency rate.
A/B testing is another method for determining the most successful campaign email frequency. This can include a campaign monitor instance comparing the impact of sending weekly campaign emails against monthly ones – such as click-through rates (CTRs) and open rates (ORs).
Content is also essential to any email strategy as it directly impacts engagement. To keep content fresh, businesses should: • Personalize messages with subscribers’ names, interests, and favorite topics; • Optimize emails for viewing on mobile devices; • Provide value through fascinating facts and helpful tips; • Discover new insights using surveys or polls acquired from customers via email.
Viewers opening emails cannot be underestimated; thus, subject lines are crucial. When creating subject lines, the goal should be to avoid annoying customers while ensuring they continue engaging with a business.
A compelling subject line has to be relevant, informative, creative, and appealing. Shocking, bizarre, and funny subject lines tend to raise brand awareness but could also make people unsubscribe if used too frequently. The same applies to repeating the same email strategically, which could build familiarity and result in some people unsubscribing.
To sum it up, regarding email frequency, the key is respect. Respect your subscribers’ preferences, their interests, and the amount of emails they receive from you. Manage expectations by telling subscribers how many emails they will get and how many emails spam more frequently. People should know what to expect when they sign up for your messages.
Email Subject Lines
The subject line of an email can single-handedly determine its success – it captures a potential recipient’s attention and encourages them to open the message. A great subject line elicits curiosity and promises something relevant to the recipient.
Words and phrases like “now” and “limited-time offer” can create a sense of urgency. These words suggest that interested readers must act before an opportunity passes. Additionally, if businesses want to make a good impression with an unopened email, it is essential to create a catchy, branded headline that stands out.
For maximum engagement, there are some attention-grabbing subject lines that businesses can use to increase their chances of emails being opened. A humorous approach or offering discounts, bonuses, or other prizes is an excellent start. Asking a question can also entice people to open the mail – this helps create intrigue and allows them to visualize what they would get in return.
In addition to composing effective subject lines, businesses should ensure they understand their target audience correctly. Everyone prefers different types of content, which is why understanding the subscribers’ tastes is so important. Finally, using headlines on emails helps guarantee readers get something even if they scroll past what does not interest them.
Personalized promotions are one of the most effective ways to engage with customers. They capture potential buyers’ interest and help build relationships with existing customers since everyone enjoys being acknowledged.
Integrating customer stories and testimonials into promotional emails increases trust between a business and its customers. Customers appreciate when their individual experiences are considered and included in promotional deals. Having their own story shared encourages potential buyers and reaffirms already established clientele.
These personalizations need not be limited to written text either. Promotional emails should offer equally engaging visuals. This can include pictures, short videos or even infographics that show how a product or service has been helpful in the lives of real customers.
By using personalized promotions, businesses can differentiate between different groups of customers and send highly targeted messages that match their preferences, interests, and desires. Ultimately, this helps to establish long-term relationships and ensures valuable customers remain loyal.
As businesses strive to optimize email marketing campaigns and build better customer relationships, it’s essential to understand the optimal frequency for sending emails. An ideal frequency for promotional emails varies between industries – each business should do its research and experiment with differing send schedules to observe engagement levels.
Respect for customer preferences, good email list hygiene, A/B testing, personalized content, creative subject lines, and effective promotions are all critical aspects of succeeding with an email marketing campaign.
Finding the right frequency is a process of trial and error, but once mastered, it can significantly positively impact customer loyalty and financial performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often is too often for marketing emails?
For the best results, email marketers should aim to strike a balance – not too much or too little. It is best to start with a moderate approach and gradually increase frequency as needed.
If emails are sent too often, there may be an increased risk of unsubscribes; however, readers may forget about your product or service if emails are sent too sporadically.
How many marketing emails can I send a day?
For most businesses, sending 200 emails per day is the maximum recommended. Monitoring engagement with your emails regularly and adjusting your frequency accordingly is essential. This will help ensure your emails reach subscribers’ inboxes and encourage readers to interact with your content.
How many emails a week is too many?
Striking a balance is critical when it comes to email frequency. Aim to stay within the range of one to two emails per week.
Adjusting your approach based on feedback and analytics can help ensure you send only the right number of emails.
How many work emails are too many?
The consensus seems to be that, while some work emails are unavoidable, email overload should not be taken lightly. To ensure a healthy work-life balance, limit yourself to checking email only a few times each day and not letting your inbox build up to more than 15 to 20 messages.
What is the 80/20 rule in email marketing?
The 80/20 rule in a successful email marketing campaign is an effective way to maximize your subscriber engagement. It states that most of your opens and clicks will come from 20% of your emails, so focusing on that 20% is critical to successful email campaigns.
By understanding the 80/20 rule, you can create more effective email campaigns that will engage your subscribers and drive more conversions. You can do this by focusing on the 20%