How Often Should Your Email Newsletter Go Out?

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

Even in today’s social media-obsessed world, businesses still see results from classic email marketing campaigns. The key is making the correct strategic decisions regarding audience and content as well as the right tactical decisions about how often to send out material.

Making the correct tactical decision on email frequency is challenging, especially for new small business marketing campaigns. There is no scientific, one-size-fits-all email marketing playbook from which all businesses can reliably mimic. A lot of planning and experimentation goes into finding the right balance for your business; in fact, the most successful email campaigners are always tinkering to improve.

If You Are Just Starting Your Email Campaign

When you’re just starting out as an email marketer, you haven’t been around enough to develop a dependency among loyal readers, and the first wave of emails may see a painful amount of unsubscriptions. On the other hand, you have not yet established any bad habits.

When you first start out, treat each of your initial email blasts as a science experiment. Create different lists of approximately the same size and same audience demographics; the idea is to limit as many variables as possible so you can identify cause and effect with your subscribers. Then test several different frequency rates. Perhaps the first 1,000 names get an email once per week, the second 1,000 get an email twice per month and the third 1,000 get twice per week.

Use the natural feedback of your subscriber market to assess what is most effective. Find dependable online software to help keep track, then measure your results to find the best tactics. You should focus on the emails that generate the highest open rates, the highest click-through rates and the lowest opt-outs.

Changing an Existing Email Newsletter

The dynamics are different if you already have an existing newsletter schedule. Subscribers become comfortable with routines, and it may be more jarring for them to see an email’s frequency jump to twice per week when they’re used to hearing from you just once a month.

Existing subscribers tend to react to changes in email frequency in one of four ways:

  • Unsubscribe

  • Disengage

  • No appreciable change

  • Engage more heavily and help generate more revenue

Until you begin experimenting, though, you can’t really know how your audience will react. Just as with an initial campaign, conduct A/B testing and run different tests on different audience segments.

Common Newsletter Tactics

Even if each individual business is unique, it may help to see where other businesses are at and how they operate.

Research from the 2015 Direct Marketing Association’s National Client Email Report says that most businesses send marketing emails or newsletters out two to three times per month. The vast majority of companies send out their emails between one and five times per month.

Most of consumers suggest that they prefer to receive emails at least monthly. Approximately 60 percent of surveyed consumers want to receive promotional materials at least weekly.

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