A common question I get from clients is how much is too much when it comes to email marketing, or sending out mass emails to your list of clients, prospects and partners. It’s a delicate balance to strike because too little communication and your contacts may forget about you; but too much email and they will wish they could forget about you – and ultimately unsubscribe. So, let’s go through how you can discover and strike that perfect balance for your business and unique audience.
Finding the right frequency for your email campaigns depends largely on three things:
- The purpose of your message – If you are offering daily deals or timely information, obviously, a daily email is going to be appropriate. However, if the purpose of your message is to send an article or newsletter, a daily email may be too overwhelming and too much content for folks to digest. In the case of an article, blog post, or newsletter once per week is generally the best frequency.
- What you are providing to your audience – Remember that your messaging will be most effective when it’s focused on what your client needs – their concerns, fears, challenges - and how you can serve them, not who you are, why you’re great, and what you’re selling. If you are providing content to your audience that serves them, often without even *selling*, your audience will be much more amicable to receiving regular emails from you.
- Setting expectations – When a new contact is added to your email list, make sure you set some expectation of the frequency and type of content they can expect. For example, when I signed up to receive Seth Godin’s blog posts I knew I’d be getting one per day. I expect it, and look forward to it. Setting that expectation is important because it not only shows your audience you are reliable, but also they are much less likely to get annoyed if they knew when they signed up what to expect.
All that being said, follow these few steps when learning what works best for your particular audience: what else can you do to find the right balance of email frequency?
Step 1 – Just start. Launch an email campaign at what you think is a reasonable frequency, whether it be once per week, every two weeks, or once a month. My general rule of thumb for professionals and service providers is to try once per week, which is what I’ve found both in research and practice to be the most effective.
Step 2 – Ask the audience. After you’ve been at it for a while, perhaps 1-3 months, survey your audience to see what they think. If you have a smaller database, you can simply ask a question or two and have recipients reply to your email with their answers. For larger lists build a survey using a tool like Survey Monkey. You will get a better response with shorter, fewer questions. Sample questions: Are the emails you get from me to frequent? Not frequent enough? Is the content I’m providing useful to you? If not, what information might be more useful?
Step 3 – Consider segmentation. You may want to split up your list into different groups and deliver emails at different frequencies. For example, a mortgage loan officer may send frequent emails about rates to prospects looking to lock in a loan; but once monthly emails to past clients just to keep in touch with them.
At all times, invite feedback from your readers and over time you will strike the right balance that’s right for your business and your clients. However, remember not to rest on your laurels; but keep looking for input and continue iterating.
What has worked for you in setting email frequency? I’d love to hear about it! Also, if you have any questions, put them in the comments below. I’d love to help!