Small Business Marketing: Cracking the Email Frequency Code

“How often should I send emails to my customers?” 

This is a question we get a lot, and we totally understand why. No one wants to spam their customers, after all. Blowing up someone’s inbox is basically a one-way ticket to the spam folder or worse, the unsubscribe form. At the same time, you don’t want the fear of appearing overbearing to keep you from sending enough emails – do that and you’ll run the real risk of leaving customers and prospects disengaged.

So is there a magic number of emails you should be sending to your subscribers every month? Let’s take a look.

How Much is Too Much?

There have been plenty of studies looking at how often customers want to receive promotional emails. MarketingSherpa conducted one in 2015, asking 2,057 adults how often (if ever) they would like to receive emails from businesses they had visited. A whopping 86 percent said they wanted to get an email at least once per month, and a little over 60 percent said they’d be OK with receiving one at least weekly. So both of these groups would be open to more than once a month or once a week, but that’s about as specific as it got.

Daily emails barely cracked 20 percent, while twice per week and three times per week struggled to even capture 10 percent of those surveyed. Clearly, this is where the “too much” line is drawn. Take note, everyone!

The Trouble With Under-Mailing

Sending too many emails makes you look spammy, but sending too few emails can cause problems too. When they signed up, you promised regular updates and exclusive offers to your subscribers. If that’s the expectation level you set, you have to meet it or risk losing your loyal followers. Think of it this way — the fewer emails you send out, the fewer opportunities you have to get in front of your customers when they’re finally ready to convert. Not only will you miss revenue opportunities, but you’ll also be limiting your brand awareness.

Finding the Balance

Email marketing company Omnisend contributed to the debate last year with research focused on the open rates and conversation rates of emails based on their frequency. When emails were sent just once a month, the open rate was highest at 25 percent, followed closely by emails sent twice each month, which had an open rate of 23 percent. When it came to the conversation rate, though, those twice per month emails performed better. Conversation rates for emails sent twice per month were 0.27 percent, with the next highest going to emails sent three to four times per month at 0.21 percent.

Hmm… so this seems to be pointing at a nice sweet-spot, optimizing both open rates and conversions, at around 2 emails per month. Personally, I feel really comfortable with this. Sure, certain promotions or a “hot lead” status may call for more frequent emailing, but 2 per month is the recommendation we typically make to clients related to general lead nurturing.

Wrapping Things Up…

There’s a delicate balance to be found in email marketing. Finding the right balance for your company will take a bit of trial and error, but you’ll get there! If you want to know how many emails your subscribers want to find in their inboxes every day, keep an eye on your open, conversion and click-through rates. Numbers don’t lie, so determine what your numbers are telling you and adjust your strategy accordingly. Or better yet, just ask your customers what they want! It really can be that simple.

In the meantime, remember these key takeaways:

  • Send at a minimum one email per month to keep customers engaged
  • You’ll see higher open rates and conversions if you send two to three emails per month
  • In most cases, sending multiple emails in the span of a week = unhappy subscribers

If you need someone to take a closer look at your marketing strategy, you can always contact us at Higgins Marketing Group. Helping small business owners succeed is our passion, and we’d be happy to work with you to develop a plan that’s going to meet your goals. When you’re ready to talk strategy, give us a call!