The frequency of emailing contacts is a question you’ll see appear regularly. And true to form, the final answer is never the same between two organizations. Over time, different people have promoted different golden rules around this topic which more reflected their personal desires than that of any empirical evidence. For example, some individuals would state that more than one email per calendar month to a prospect was a bad thing, while others would say this was not enough.
From our perspective there is no dogmatic rule regarding email frequency, but quite a lot of advice floating around tends to forget the most fundamental part of email marketing; it must carry a value to the recipient. It follows there that the frequency for sending out mails depends on the type of message being sent and the quality of the content. For example, a company e-newsletter should be adhere to a strict calendar date of release (just like a newspaper or magazine) but a news release about an aspect of the organization, or a promotional pitch can be sent at any time. Now this may like complete commons sense but it’s surprising how many people tie themselves in knots over this.
A good first step to take is to draw up the different types of emails you may be likely to use to promote or communicate your organization to others. This will most commonly result in a list of between one and 5 types, from which you can then plot the regularity of each type, or merge / drop them during this stage as you realize that they are not needed after all.
Do not forget that at this stage you are making the basic assumption that people would be interested in reading mails from you. Well, if you have something to say that is both relevant and of value then you’re on quite safe ground. But do not go overboard. Remember, you’re making a commitment of time and resource, so ask yourself this question; will we be able to comfortably produce a newsletter six months from now based on the frequency we have set ourselves? Will we have the content to publish one, or will we be being struggling? If you’re at all unsure then reduce the frequency. It’s hugely important to pace your work and not over-extend yourself. Email marketing should be an important weapon in your plans but do not let it become the cuckoo that throws all your other plans out the nest.
Drawing up the types of emails you would send leads to a great opportunity – ask your contacts what they want! It’s good practice to ask contacts to subscribe via a list of the emails available from your company the regularity that they are sent out. It means the recipient can make a choice on what they want to get – there before creating a better online relationship between you and them. Developing credibility and trust is hugely important in email marketing, and taking this route will bring better results.
This steadily brings us round and back to the original question, and instead of making some rigid rules the better idea is to work within a framework framework and tighten it up during your planning. Our recommendations for the two most common types of emails are:
Newsletters. Small firms should consider either 6 or 12 per year. 2 or 3 is just too few, 4 is possible but the infrequency can mean recipients forget they asked for it in the first place. Large firms can consider a more frequent mailing campaign – right down to weekly if required – but readers can quickly tire of daily releases and the churn within your database can really overload you without devoting resources to managing your contacts.
Promotional emails. It does depend on the nature of the business but more than two per month will potentially test the patience of the recipient. Daily is really not a good idea!
Customer Surveys. Whilst getting customer feedback on services they have used can beuable, asking them to complete a question after every time they have used your firm will get ignored very quickly. Instead, restrict these to quarterly for better response rates and more even results. If you are planning a survey to capture more strategic information, or one that aims to discover opinions on your industry for example, then these are better done either annually or at most twice per year.
You will notice a common thread within this topic; getting the right email frequency is concerned with avoiding saturating the recipient. Achieve that and you are well on the way to having a successful email marketing plan.