How Often is too Often When it Comes to Your Emails

How Often is too Often When it Comes to Your Emails
Corin Tomasello

Your customers are on their phones most of the day and according to a 2015 BlueHornet survey, nearly 60% of people surveyed said they checked email more than 4 times per day!  The same survey found that consumers look at their phone more than 150 times a day, on average. Clearly, email is one of the places to be to stay top of mind with your clients.

I know what you’re thinking: how often should I email my list?  Can I email them too much? I won’t sugar coat it for you, of course, you can email too often! No one wants to be that company that people get to the point of not even opening your emails anymore or worse opting out/unsubscribing from your list altogether.

If you email too much, you run the risk of annoying the customer. Remember, it’s all about how the customer feels, and if they feel annoyed they won’t buy from you and they won’t recommend you to their friends.

Creating Captivating Emails

The first thing I recommend you do to make sure that your emails don’t end up getting ignored by your buyers, is to base your email strategy on the perspective of your perfect buyer. When do they need to hear from you, and what do they care or need to know about? When you put it into the perspective of emails based on customer need, then frequency and timing falls into place. Email and marketing automation is not one size fits all anymore; your different buyer personas may have different email frequencies.

You’ll want to devote time to create the initial strategy and then test it. If you notice an increase in opt-outs, then you have a clue that you may want to revise your strategy. Before you make any changes, I recommend asking your subscribers about their experience with your emails. A short survey works wonders to give you more insights into your email strategy. Any feedback for optimization that your buyers suggest, that you can do easily, you should implement. No one wants to take their time to give you their thoughts only to have you not listen them.

Email Frequency Guidelines

Quarterly emails:

Use case} a local gym where clients *may* be working out a few times a week. In this scenario, your emails are more of an update on the gym like a new class schedule. Send quarterly if you don’t have much to say or don’t have the resources in place to send more frequently.

With quarterly emails, you run into a higher chance of deliverability issues as prospects are less likely to remember who you are and/or that they subscribed to your email list. You also run the risk of their email address no longer being valid which results in hard bounces and possibly having your future emails marked as spam by your email marketing provider.

My gym example works for less email frequency because clients are interacting with you in other ways and may see things at the gym so you remain top of mind for them.  The email about the newest class schedule is something they’d likely care about.  

Monthly emails:

Use case} a doctor’s office where you want your patients to stay proactive about their health, but they (I hope) aren’t coming into the practice all the time. A monthly frequency works well for a company newsletter.

I personally believe that this is the minimum frequency, so you can at least have 12 touches with your clients each year to keep customers informed of what’s new. You can combine recent blog posts, upcoming news or events, employee of the month; whatever you want to keep the connection with your buyers.

However, if your email goal is to sell a product or service, monthly is too infrequent. You will not get the conversions you need because your one email will be buried in a digital mountain of emails from other companies with frequent offers & reminders.  

Twice a Month (bi-monthly) emails:

Use case} pretty much any industry that isn’t selling something. This is a sweet spot for a lot of industries and provides a good balance for your frequency.

Most companies I work with can have enough updates and information to fill this email frequency and provide value to the customers on their email list. You can cycle through your content so in case they missed your last email they have a second chance to see it.

Again, I wouldn’t recommend this if your goal is to sell something, but it’s good if your email strategy is focused on being a thought leader in your industry or to provide general information to clients.  

Weekly emails:

Use case} If you’re selling a product or a service, I’d highly recommend you start with this email frequency! This is your minimum.  

If you have a sale or new products to offer weekly frequency is a great way to stay top of mind without running the risk that you’ll annoy your prospects.  It shouldn’t always be ‘sale, sale, sale’ when it comes to email content. You still need to provide value to your email subscribers.

I recommend leading with content that matters to the buyer persona you’re targeting and then mentioning the product/service (remember: valuable content first & how you can help later). I highly recommend that you send the email on the same day and time each week.

People will become accustomed to receiving the latest news from you on Thursdays at 11am, but again you’ll want to test and ask for feedback on the time to see if your particular buyers may pay more attention at a different time. These don’t have to be long emails; in fact you should keep them short and simple. They can be the two sections I mentioned so it talks about a new article you’ve written and includes a new product or a weekly special.

The call to action each week will help with those all-important conversions so you can see the return on investment from your email strategy.  

Daily emails:

Use case} If your company name has “daily” in it, then daily frequency may be a good fit.   Daily emails can work. The key is that you MUST be able to produce high-quality valuable, relevant, and actionable, content every single day. Most companies can’t keep up their email cadence to this pace.

In my opinion, that’s what social media is for, but if your primary customer expects to hear from you daily, then you better deliver. You’ll want to make sure before you start this email frequency that you have the resources in place to pull it off. I recommend knowing who’s accountable to creating these emails and setting a time each week to build all 7 so you’re not scattered or trying to throw something together.

Another thing to consider is tracking your metrics. There will be more fluctuation with a daily frequency. It could be a holiday, or the topic, or maybe some buyers are feeling like you’re blowing up their inbox. Have an email preferences page ready so customers can change the frequency to something that better suits their needs from you. If you see a drop in opens, clicks, and/or conversions, you can test to see if an every other day frequency could help positively impact those numbers and use social media for the other daily content.

I wouldn’t recommend sending more than one email/day unless your content is incredibly time-sensitive. You’ll need a large team that’s dedicated to content & email creation; plus you’ll need a robust marketing automation system that helps trigger emails so that team can keep working efficiently. But again, if you’re a PR firm that sources content (think Help a Reporter Out) then it may make sense to adopt this email strategy.

Need some help with the ins & outs of your email strategy? Contact Charisma and we help you find the right fit for your customers.