17 Variables to Consider When Choosing Email Frequency

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, email ad revenue accounts for more than $150 million annually. How much of that goes to your company? If you barely eked out a handful of email blasts over the past year, the answer could be not enough. Look at these variables to see if your email campaign is as strong as it could be.

1. How regularly do you create content?

Your email list is absolutely useless if you have nothing to say. If you only post on your blog once a week, then you probably won’t want to send out recap emails more than once or twice a month. Now, not all email blasts contain blog content, but that means you’ll have to create your own for each newsletter. Let your content dictate your email frequency, not the other way around.

2. How often do you have sales or change your product offering?

Your product line, along with your content, can help you decide how appropriate frequency is. Look at Groupon, it has multiple deals each day and has built its success around daily emails. Obviously not everyone is Groupon, but if you regularly have sales or new products or events then you will regularly want to use email as a marketing tool. It’s the same lesson as the one above: let your offering dictate your frequency.

groupon3. What maximum frequency does your bandwidth currently allow?

Many companies tend to have a case of “the mind is willing but the body is weak,” when it comes to setting deadlines and starting projects. They have the ideas and desire to publish content more often but don’t have the bandwidth. Find your maximum bandwidth so you have a ceiling to keep in mind. However, you don’t want this to be your starting point. If you stretch your bandwidth too far out then the campaign will suffer and/or other projects will suffer.

4. Are you leaving room to grow?

Starting out with a monthly can help you build up the habit and grow into a weekly. Alternatively, sending out a weekly email opens the door to send out another blast for a special announcement or deal. Creating a cushion to increase your frequency means you can send more emails in the future without isolating your audience. If they’ve already hit their limit for the number of emails they’ll accept without unsubscribing, that last minute blast could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. (This is also why we found your maximum bandwidth, to see where you can grow into.)

5. Will maintaining that frequency be a priority?

Whoever is taking the lead on creating and scheduling your email marketing needs to make sure the project is a long-term priority. It’s easy to go from a monthly to a quarterly if no one is diligently keeping up with deadlines. Similarly, a weekly email blast can turn into a monthly and a daily can turn into a weekly.

shutterstock_108335896. What is the current frequency?

A lot of these questions are geared towards clients and companies who are looking to enter into email marketing, but they can also apply to companies evaluating their current tactics. Do you have a weekly email that you’re struggling to find content for? Do you have a forgotten monthly blast? Evaluating what has worked and failed in the past is the first step towards creating a successful plan.

7. What frequency have you used in the past?

If you’re considering increasing the frequency of your campaign, think about how your audience will respond to the extra emails. 27% of consumers said their favorite companies should invest in email more, so don’t be too afraid of hitting the send button.

Instead of increasing the frequency, you could also try increasing the segments that you send to or the amount of content that you include in each blast. Don’t email faster, email smarter.

8. What do your competitors do?

There’s something to be said for going above and beyond your competition, but eventually you reach a limit where the cost of production outweighs the benefits of incoming leads. Follow the email marketing of your top competitors to study their frequency and their content. Where do they lack that you can make up for?

A study by MailChimp found the frequency and engagement are negatively correlated. This means that your company needs to hit the sweet spot with engaging audiences without overwhelming them. This is also why you turn to your competitors, how often do their audiences want to learn about your industry and products?

9. Who is sending out the email?

Is the email coming from the CEO of your company? Would you like him or her to include a written letter or article in it? He or she might determine frequency for you if they’re only able to write something once a month.

This is also important for your conversion rates. Emails sent from marketing@ or info@ have a higher chance of getting caught in the spam filter, so determining who the email comes from can have a direct impact on sales.

10. Is Your Industry Seasonal?

A few consumer interest blogs profile the Christmas Creep and the Halloween Creep, an event that occurs when stores put out decorations for holidays way too early. If you’re a seasonal industry – decorations, pool cleaners, swimsuits, etc. – you’ll want to decrease you frequency in the off season and increase it during your season. For example, no matter how many sales the stores are having, I don’t feel like going swimsuit shopping when it’s 40 degrees outside, and will promptly ignore most emails advertising bikini sales.

shutterstock_11499573411. Will your subscribers have multiple options?

Some blogs and websites send out different types of emails each week. Once again, Groupon is an easy example of this. They send out the daily deals email for your location, but also send out weekly destination emails, tech gadgets, and other goodies. Users can opt out of the other types and stick to only the daily if they wish.

For your email marketing campaign, will your audience be able to choose how often they hear from you? What types of emails they receive? This brings us to our next question.

12. How do you plan on segmenting your audience?

We’re starting to get into the frequency weeds. No longer is it a simple question on how many times one should contact a list. We’re talking about multiple lists with multiple frequencies. It’s not for the faint of heart. In fact, more than 80% of email marketers send the same content to all subscribers. Segmentation is an opportunity for you to show your loyal customers that you know them and appreciate them while moving leads down the sales funnel. This is how you stand out from the crowd!

13. Will your email be optimized for mobile?

Remember, email smarter, not necessarily more. Rather than increasing the frequency or the content, make sure the email will look good and work correctly on smartphones. 75% of smartphone users are highly likely to delete an email if they can’t read it on their smartphones, so you’re losing potential leads and engagement with your dinosaur-age email.

14. What does your audience prefer?

We saw earlier that the majority of the population will delete your emails if they can’t read them on a smartphone, but some demographics don’t care much for email altogether. Subscribers younger than 25 prefer SMS to email. If your demographic skews young or your industry has seen mobile success, consider multiple opt-in options by splitting your budget.

15. When will your audience be most receptive to your message?

Know when your audience is active and engaging with your content. Emails sent on Monday have the highest conversion rate, but emails send on Tuesday have the highest open rates. Yes you should look at the data before choosing your time and frequency, but you should also look at your audience. When are they active on email? What do their schedules look like? Knowledge is power.

Print16. How will you measure success?

Sending a monthly, weekly, or daily won’t do your company any good if you’re not tracking campaign success. Go deeper than clicks and open rates, what is the optimal conversion? Do you want readers to check out your content and share it? Do you want them to buy your products? Keep asking why until you’re able to quantify success. If you’re nodding your head as if that’s common knowledge then think about this: 17% of marketers don’t track or analyze email metrics.

17. How often will you refresh your plan?

Email marketing upkeep requires you to reevaluate your frequency, update your email lists, edit your format and maybe even change your provider. Email marketing is like taking care of a pet, you have to take it to the vet for its annual check-up. Sending out blasts for weeks or months on end without considering changes is just as bad as sending without looking at analytics

I hope reading this has helped form a clearer picture of what your email marketing strategy will entail and why you’re doing it. Never do something just because everyone else is, make sure you go in understanding why it’s important and why certain decisions were made.