As a marketer we’re frequently pondering on two major things – how to generate leads and then, how to keep them engaged effectively.

Since email makes for a majority strategy for the latter, we often battling over the question of just how many times should one touch base with the leads. Once a week, twice a month or maybe more?

The fear of losing the lead to an unsubscription or being marked as a spammer is the main reason why every marketer has multiple brainstorming sessions before deciding on a frequency. They put themselves in the shoes of the customer and think how exactly they would respond to a message – sometimes they nail the frequency and at other times, they either lose the lead or lose their interest.

email spam

According to the 2015 National client email report, the average number of emails sent per month varied a lot. A majority of marketers touched base with their customers about 4 to 5 times a week.

how many emails a month

Now the marketers may have chosen different frequencies either based on their business goal, suggestion from a co-marketer or simply because they thought it was a good idea. And none of these reasons enable any other marketer to draw a conclusion about the frequency one should maintain.

This is when a survey by Marketing Sherpa came in. The survey did not focus on how many times the marketers emailed their subscribers, but rather on how many times did the subscriber prefer getting an email from the business.

chart of the week - email marketing

Weekly or monthly – the fear of being forgotten

From the survey conducted by them, it became evident that subscribers chose to get emails either weekly or monthly. Anything more than that wasn’t welcome and probably was even deemed as a spam.

Today, most marketers choose to interact with their audience on a weekly basis. The monthly frequency is a tactic that most don’t swear by simply because of the fear of being forgotten. And considering the rising digital competition in the market, they are right.

It is becoming increasingly important to remain in the eyes of your audience, without turning into a stalker or an eye-sore for them!

A few reasons why marketers commonly choose the weekly frequency over monthly frequency include:

  • When a receiver doesn’t know when the business would reach out to them, the complaint rates are higher as they weren’t expecting a message.
  • The business forms a rapport of being inconsistent in customer engagement or lacking interest in doing so.
  • Since the business forms the wrong rapport and people start to get irritated by their emails, the customer lifetime value also dips.
  • It increases the marketer’s challenge of keeping the email list clean – you would never know which subscriber is truly interested in your business.
  • The business loses the chances to get more conversions and sales, and eventually increasing the revenue.

And if the above reasons weren’t enough, inconsistency and under-mailing increases the probability of being marked as spam!

email marketing frequency


So is the weekly frequency for everyone?

Unfortunately, the answer is still a no.

While the weekly frequency might work for some businesses, it might not for the others. It is important for the marketers to identify who their target audience is, what they are looking for, how actively are they seeking it and where before deciding the email frequency.

For example, you have a blog that shares productivity tips twice a week. For someone like you, you would want to send across a newsletter once a week to the subscribers to catch up with all the content. Mailing them on a daily basis might or once altogether in a month, might result in content overload for the reader.

Now taking another example. You have an eCommerce business and you’re obviously running multiple sales and offers on products to attract more business. Now if a certain brand wants to run a sale from today till two days later suddenly, you obviously will need to mail the subscribers to notify them of it. This is irrespective of how many emails you have already sent to the subscriber regarding ongoing sales.

For instance, this is an email I got from Jabong – an eCommerce store on Sunday:

jabong email 1

But I also got an email from them on Saturday regarding another sale..

jabong email 2

So, what is the best fit frequency for you?

Deciding the email frequency best fit for you

Depending on what your end goal is from the email marketing campaign, you can decide on what your ideal frequency rate is using this 5 step process:

1. Identify the possible frequency rates you could follow and test, test, test!

There is no better way to find the best for your business, other than testing. So start with identifying the possible frequencies you would like to maintain for your campaign. For instance, if it is a lead nurturing campaign that you think might require more assistance – say, 3 times a week maybe; test out at least three frequencies instead – 3, 4 and 5.

2. Segment your email list as effectively as possible

To conduct the above test, you will need to segment your email list effectively. It could be based on the interaction data they have made so far, their demographics or any other filter that makes sense to you. If your email list isn’t too large, you could simply conduct the test on a periodic basis on them, instead of trying to segment the list. But be ready to optimize on the go if you don’t want to lose subscribers.

3. Create newsletters to suit the frequencies decided

Once you’re done deciding the frequencies and segmenting your email list, it is time to create the content that you would be sending across in the emails. Create newsletters to suit the frequencies decided for the different segments. The one thing that you need to ensure is that your messaging is consistent across them all. The content that you share needs to add value every time you touch base with the subscriber.

4. Dig deeper into analytics to find the best fit

Once you run the test for a set duration of time, dig deeper into your campaign analytics to identify what worked the best for your business. A few metrics that you should measure include the open rates, click rates, conversions, unsubscription rates and if there is any change in the way the subscribers are interacting with your business.

Over to you

When deciding the frequency for your email marketing campaign, make sure you’re taking into consideration the customer’s perspective. While you might want to touch base with the subscriber more often, he might prefer only occasional interactions with you.

Understand the way your subscribers interact with you based on present and past data before deciding on the email frequencies you would even want to test. The email frequency is a vital part of a newsletter campaign – it could practically make or break your entire marketing efforts.

grow email list cta

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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Content Marketer at Exit Bee. Most of the times found trying to create compelling copies for blogs and digital campaigns, keeping a watch on what's happening on social media or ranting on Twitter. At all other times, not found.

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