How often should you email your list? Once a week? Five times a week? Once a month? What’s the right frequency? This is something I had all wrong when I started building email lists, and you might be in the same boat.
Why Does It Matter How Often You Email?
Before I give you the answer, let’s ask another question first. Why does it matter? Why does it matter how often you email your list? After all, these people are your subscribers. They should expect to receive email from you, right? You can email them as much as you want, right?
Well, right… but also wrong.
While it’s true that you can email your list as much as you’d like, your subscribers are free to leave at any time. They aren’t captives. If a subscriber is unhappy with your email content for any reason, he’s free to hit that unsubscribe button.
You would do well to keep your subscribers happy. Part of doing so is finding how often you should email your list.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Hopefully, your email content is awesome, helpful material that’s packed with value. If it’s not, something’s wrong. But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. I don’t care how amazing your content is. If you send too much, too often, your subscribers will be annoyed and will unsubscribe.
Or, if they don’t unsubscribe, many of your subscribers will simply stop opening your emails and your email open rate will drop like a rock.
If someone gives you a donut, you’ll gladly take it. Woohoo! Free donut.
If someone gives you a donut every 15 minutes, you’d soon grow sick of it. That’s too much sugar!
Yes, the donut is delicious. But too much is still too much.
Even if your content rocks – as it should – your subscribers need time to digest it. Remember that these are men and women who likely have jobs and other obligations. Most likely, they don’t’ sit in front of their email all day and don’t have time to read more of your content every 15 minutes.
Sooner or later, they’ll reach email overload.
Too Little Too Slow
On the flip side, emailing too infrequently has a similar effect: your subscribers will unsubscribe.
One of the reasons email marketing is so powerful is its ability to build real and lasting relationships. No other marketing method can do that. Facebook is nice. Twitter has its strengths. But email… Now that’s something unique.
But let me ask you, how close are you to people you only talk to once or twice a year? Not very.
It’s next to impossible to build a relationship with your list if you rarely contact your subscribers.
But even worse, emailing too infrequently makes you forgettable. People are funny. They sign up for email lists and then forget how they got on the list. When they receive an email from the list, they report it as spam. After all, they don’t remember signing up.
Don’t laugh. It happens.
If you let months pass without emailing your subscribers, you can bet some of them will forget who you are and how they got on your list. Many of them will either unsubscribe or report you as a spammer and then unsubscribe. Either way, not good!
How Often Should You Email Your List?
Emailing too often turns your emails into an annoyance. Emailing too infrequently makes you forgettable. So what’s the right balance? Is there a right balance?
I have come to learn over the years that the answer is yes… and no. There is no one size fits all answer to the question, “How often should you email your list,” sadly. If there were, I’d gladly tell you, “Ah yes! Email X times a week for optimal success!”
But no. That’s not how it works.
So How Often Should You Email, Then?
To answer that question, we need to consider a few variables.
What’s your niche? Now, this may seem immaterial to some, but I assure you it isn’t. Your niche has an impact on how often you should email your list. Certain demographics will be more open or less open to receiving email at various intervals.
Is your target audience retirees with more time on their hands? Is your target demographic young, working adults? Or, are you targeting men in their 50s who like to go camping, away from technology?
Each of these groups accesses and uses media differently and at different times. It’s on you to take that into account.
The Purpose of Your List
Why are people on your list? Did they subscribe because of a free lead magnet? Did they opt-in so you could send regular newsletters? Are they expecting coupons or other marketing content?
An email schedule that works for one group, may be completely wrong for another.
Those who just want bi-weekly or monthly updates won’t want an email every few days. That’s not what they signed up for, and it probably wouldn’t make much sense to send them email that frequently. As a great example, I think of one of my missionary friends. He sends out emails to his supporters every month or so, telling us what’s going on with the mission and how we can help. It wouldn’t make much sense for him to email us every few days, would it?
What about those who signed up for coupons and sale info? Should you email them when you don’t have any coupons to pass along or any new sale info? Probably not. Otherwise they’ll just be annoyed and unsubscribe.
And those who subscribed for a free product? As a general rule, I tend not to email my list more than once a week or every 5 or 6 days. I find any more than that is annoying, and any less is not enough. There can be exceptions, of course. When a new subscriber joins my list, he will receive an email every day or every other day for a short period, but that will quickly drop off to a more reasonable rate. I don’t want him to be overwhelmed! Remember, too many donuts is too many donuts no matter how much you love donuts!
Watch Your Stats
Ultimately, the answer to the question is highly individualized. How often should you email your list? It depends. The frequency that is right for my subscribers may not be right for yours. But we don’t have to walk around in a fog. We have something that will help us. Email stats.
Every good email service provider offers reports and statistics to show how well or how poorly your email campaigns are performing. Are your emails being opened? Did anyone unsubscribe after that last email blast? Are the links in your emails being clicked? These are important metrics that you need to know.
But they also help us find our mailing frequency sweet spot. If I send three emails this week and next, and I see that my average open rate dropped, that’s a clue. I need to go back to my previous emailing frequency. On the flip side, if I see an improvement, sweet!
Keep an eye on your metrics and experiment with various emailing frequencies. Try sending two emails a week for a couple of weeks. Then bump it up to three or take it down to one. How did your stats change?
No matter what your niche happens to be, as an entrepreneur, you need to get into the habit of checking and rechecking stats. Learn to love them.
Keep Your Subscribers Happy, but Keep Your Sanity Too
All that aside, make sure you’re not burning yourself out. It’s good to ask how often should you email your list, but remember, you’re still human and need time to breathe too. However often or infrequently you decide to email your list, keep your own sanity in mind. Literally.
Don’t commit to email your list three times a week if you don’t have the time or drive to be consistent. Don’t write checks your keyboard can’t cash. Ok, that was an admittedly terrible pun, but you get the point hopefully.
I’ve made the mistake many times of saying I’m going to do X at least Y times in Z time only to discover that I overcommitted myself.
So, again, while there is no hard and fast rule that says you must email X times a week, keep your subscribers engaged. But don’t plan do something that will just lead to burnout in the long term.