Email newsletter frequency is one of THE classic debates in marketing.
How often should I send newsletters? How often is too often? And how infrequently is not often enough?
The reason why the email newsletter frequency argument keeps raging on is that there is no “one size fits all answer” that works for every newsletter in every business.
But while “it depends” might be a true answer, it’s not an especially helpful one!
So we’re going to go a step beyond “it depends” and work out the factors that determine success in a variety of different contexts.
Click on the links below to jump ahead:
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1. Email Newsletter Frequency – What the Research Says
In the USA, it was behind 69% of all unsubscribes.
On the other hand, research has shown that 60% of subscribers want to hear from brands at least weekly (and almost 90% want to hear at least monthly).
Let’s come at it from the other direction. One massive study of 199 million messages over 600,000 inboxes found a sharp rise in messages being sent to spam when more than five emails a week were received.
And of course, sending a lot of emails can negatively impact your sender reputation – making it more likely that your messages are filtered out.
2. Who Should Send Daily, Weekly, and Monthly
There are some general rules you can follow here.
Who should send daily? Time-sensitive data
- Information services that provide time-sensitive data. For example, stock market tips, cryptocurrencies, news websites, weather updates from ski schools, etc.
- E-learning providers taking people through online courses.
- Software providers taking new users through a detailed onboarding journey
Who should send once or twice weekly? Lifestyle brands
- Do you work in a sector that has high repeat purchase frequency, like fashion? Then you should send a lot of emails.
- Similarly, if you provide services that people are likely to use regularly then a high frequency will keep you front-of-mind. This works for restaurants and bars, beauticians, business coaches, gyms, etc.
Who should send once a month or less: infrequent services or luxury goods
- Anybody who provides products or services that customers only buy once, irregularly or without much enthusiasm: such as tree surgery, window replacement, funerals, legal services, medical services etc.
- The frequency of your emails should also be tied to the price of your offering. Keep the frequency of emails for very expensive services down.
- Charities are also best advised to send only a couple of emails per month. Too many and you will annoy your audience.
And of course, if the demand for your services is SEASONAL, the ideal frequency will change. November and early December are a great time to send lots of messages about your bespoke Christmas card services. March and April… not so much!😉
What is right for YOUR newsletters will depend on a lot of factors, such as:
- Who your audience is and why they signed up
- What the content of your emails is and how valuable it is to your audience
- How much valuable content you can produce
- What it is that your business does
- How many other emails you’re sending as well as newsletters
One thing all the studies agree on is that only you can work out what’s the ideal email sending rate for your business.
3. Email Newsletter Frequency – Six Ways to Get It Right
#1 How much good content can you produce?
After “too many emails”, the next biggest reason given for unsubscribing is content that is irrelevant or not valuable.
Poor content is at fault for 32% of unsubscribes.
You should only send newsletters when you have something valuable or interesting to say. If you’re too busy to produce something that your audience will find useful every day or every week, then send less frequently!
Your capacity is a key factor in determining your ideal frequency
😎TOP TIP 😎 There’s no excuse for sending out the same newsletter more than once.
Except when there is…
Improve your engagement figures by sending your latest newsletter out again:
- With a different subject line and
- At a different time of day AND
- To ONLY those subscribers who didn’t open the original one
A carefully-filtered second send can add value for users who would have wanted to read the first one but for some reason missed it.
#2 Let subscribers set their preferred frequency
Tell people how often you’ll be mailing them on your sign-up forms. It’s important to set the right expectations as well as provide choices.
If you can offer different options: perhaps a daily update or a weekly roundup?
If that doesn’t work, make sure you let people know that they can follow you on social media as an alternative.
#3 Be aware of everything else you’re sending
Your email newsletter frequency on its own may not be the problem. By itself, your newsletter series might not seem like too many emails.
But when you combine it with the free triallist onboarding sequence, one-off special offers and requests for feedback you’re sending out to the same people at the same time it might be what pushes them over the edge 😱.
Make sure you know which of your mailing lists each subscriber is on so that you can set filter rules up to prevent too much going out at once👍.
#4 Start fast, then slow down
It can be hard to tell when your users are most engaged.
But that moment somebody signs up to your mailing list or when they complete a purchase?
You know they’re engaged then. You’re front-of-mind and they’re taking positive action in response to your marketing.
THAT’s the best time to email them.
As a rule of thumb, ramp up the email frequency when you see positive engagement actions and dial it down when you’re not getting that response.
Send more newsletters to the highly engaged subscribers and adopt a slower pace for the rest.
#5 Study your industry, copy the winners
What are your competitors doing? Is it working for them? The top-level figures are much less important than what’s going on in your sector.
Surely you’ve signed up to some newsletters yourself? What works in those newsletters and what doesn’t?
The great thing about email marketing is everybody else’s tactics are right there in front of you. So study them and copy them!
Try splitting your mailing list into two groups. Send content at the usual rate to one group but send it more or less frequently to the other.
Obviously, it’s easier to test emailing less frequently than more. You don’t need extra content!
After a few weeks (or days or months, as appropriate) check the differences in engagement rates, clickthrough, conversions, unsubscribes, etc between the groups.
Best practice is one thing, but it’s no substitute for your own experimental findings🤓.
Good luck figuring out the best email newsletter frequency for your business! We hope this helps you…
Find out more about email newsletters that get results with Get A Newsletter.