What is the Best Frequency for Email Marketing?

What is the best frequency for email marketing?

Is there an optimal email frequency? Should you send one email a quarter, a week, a month? Less than that? Is less more, or is more more? This is a question that every digital marketer needs to try and answer to maximise conversion and ultimately profit.

Marketers need to try and get the balance right between overexposure and underexposure.

With overexposure you risk sending too many emails and the recipient may not have time to read the email or will feel like they are being spammed. They will become ‘emotionally unsubscribed’.

On the other hand, with underexposure, opportunities and sales are lost as the customer does not receive emails frequently enough.

The 2010 UK SMA National Client Email Marketing report found that most companies send emails around two to three times a week.


Evaluating current email frequency and customer response behaviour

In order to try and answer the question, first you need to assess the impact of your current frequency on customer activity and perceptions. If you send too many emails your recipients will unsubscribe. A study completed by marketing agency Merkle, found that 73% of survey respondents cited ‘sending too frequently’ as the main reason for unsubscribing. Oh dear.

Another measure to look at is the average number of emails you and your competitors send per week, month or year. Econsultancy reported that the average frequency for emails in 2009 for US retailers was 11 per month.

It’s no use just looking at your sector’s average and using that as your model though; you will need to investigate further. You need to identify other points:

- List activity. The % of your list that open, click and buy within a set period of time.

- How quickly does your recipient react? Find the average time for the last open, click or purchase.

- Break down your list activity by different measures. The frequency may work for some but not for others.

- How long has a subscriber been on your list? The longer they are on the list, the less responsive your emails will become.


Other ways to solve your frequency dilemma include:

- Reduce email frequencies automatically for lower responding customers. Amazon is very good at this, and will often send triggered emails if you’ve been browsing on their site.

- Change frequency on different segments. One frequency will not fit all, so test and react.

- Give customers a choice on frequency. Give them options in their preference centre to change content and frequency.

- Re-engagement campaigns.  Use discounts or specific content to encourage email subscribers to become active again.


Have you solved the email marketing frequency conundrum? Please share with us below.

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