Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, a Chicago SEO expert with B2B and B2C clients throughout the U.S.
Email campaigns walk a fine line between overdoing it and underdoing it. Bombarding subscribers with emails is irritating and usually leads to a high unsubscribe rate; touching subscribers too infrequently runs the risk of having them forget about you altogether.
What is the ideal email frequency? Campaign Monitor, a leading email automation platform, has determined that two weeks is the perfect distribution frequency for most businesses. Is that the right interval for you? Consider these issues to make the right decision.
B2B or B2C?
Consumers tend to be more receptive to frequent emails than B2B buyers and influencers. In B2B, people are busy, dislike distractions, and are always looking for reasons to cut down distractions and spam. Unless your B2B email content has unquestionable value to the subscriber, it is best to err on the side of less frequent distribution.
Just How Valuable Is Your Content?
Whether B2B or B2C, the more valuable the content, the more frequently subscribers will want to see it. Many retailers, for instance, send a deluge of emails announcing storewide sales, limited offers, closeouts, rewards points, and other ways subscribers can save money. Since everybody always wants to save money, subscribers are willing to sift through multiple emails if it means finding that one piece of information that gives them a real bargain.
Can You Vary Frequency Based on Seasonality?
For seasonal businesses, ramping up email frequency during the busy season(s) is an excellent option for building brand loyalty. Subscribers will appreciate extra contact at the right time, and appreciate not hearing from you when they have other things on their mind. A good example is accounting businesses. As tax preparation time approaches, subscribers are in need of tips and updates on tax law changes — maybe to the tune of one a week or even one a day.
What Is Your Conversion Strategy?
If you’re in the event planning business and your email goal is to book attendees by a certain date, you’ll need an aggressive distribution schedule, especially as the registration deadline approaches. On the other hand, if you are introducing a new product and seek trial orders, sending daily or weekly emails hyping the product may be more of a turn-off than a turn-on. Not sure what your conversion strategy is? You may have to take a few steps back and create or review your overall business plan.
Are Your Subscribers Customers, Prospects or Both?
Existing customers are presumably more receptive to hearing from you than warm prospects, and much more receptive than cold prospects. So, consider the composition of your list. If your list is predominantly customers and your email goal is engagement, frequent emails could certainly work to your advantage. However, if your list is mainly prospects and your goal is to generate leads or online orders, you’ve got to be very careful not to bombard them and drive them away.
Can You Give Subscribers an Option?
A nifty solution is offering subscribers the option of, say, daily emails or a weekly digest. This puts subscribers in control, which they like, and also enables you to customize delivery based on stated subscriber preferences. Allowing subscribers to opt in or out of specific types of email campaigns — industry updates, promotional offers, company news, etc. — helps them zero in on just the information they really want. The key to success is making the opt-in and opt-out process intuitive and straightforward.
Testing Makes Perfect
As with all things email, testing is the only way to know for sure how many emails are too many, and how few are too few. If your mailing list is large enough, test frequency with a test group — it’s much less risky than making changes to your entire campaign.