Photo: Daniel von Appen via Unsplash
In the past two weeks, we’ve reviewed how to build a healthy email list and how to consistently create content that your audience wants to read. This week we move on to a somewhat more practical matter: Choosing a sending frequency.
When deciding how often to send to your list, there are two basic factors to consider:
As a customer, how much is too much? As a business owner, how little is just a waste of your hard-won email list? Striking a balance between frequency and value is critical to successful email marketing.
How Often Can You Produce Content?
Last week’s post on how to create a content strategy should have helped you settle on several topics and types of content that will be of interest to your target audience: how-tos, quizzes, contests and giveaways, an all-inclusive guide, or maybe a little of everything.
With this information in hand, you’re ready to answer the question, “Realistically, how often can I produce content?” What’s right for one business may be completely unmanageable for another, and that’s absolutely okay. The most important thing is to create a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
Are you a small business owner who handles the marketing yourself? Is marketing or social media kind of lumped in with one or another employee’s job description? Do you have a dedicated employee for marketing? Do you have a marketing team to divide the work across?
Frequency will vary according to your answers to those questions. If you’re lucky enough to have a marketing team, then you have a bit of an advantage over someone like me, who balances blogging with client work, social media posting, and sales support. One post a week is the best I can do! But if you can do more, you should—as long as the content you’re producing is relevant and useful.
Bonus Tip: Create an actual schedule. Planning your emails in advance allows you to better space out the topics you want to cover, the types of content you want to use, holidays for which you plan to offer a special or sale. It’ll also save you time in the long run to brainstorm a bunch of ideas at once rather than have to start fresh every week.
How Often Does Your List Want to Hear from You?
Are you familiar with the term “email fatigue?” If you’ve ever noticed a steady decline in customer engagement—opens, clicks, even unsubscribes—that’s a sign that you may be sending your list too many emails.
It’s a good idea to check your metrics periodically against the averages to see how you’re doing. Statistics like open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, etc., will vary by industry, but MailChimp provides a useful table of benchmarks for 46 of the most common. It should give you a good baseline for comparison. If your opens and clicks are significantly lower than the average, email fatigue could be a problem.
HubSpot reports that 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many, so let’s take a look at a few solutions:
SendGrid’s 2017 Global Email Benchmark Report found that the average send rate is currently about 8 times per month, slightly down from the 2016 number, but don’t take that as a sign that that’s what you should be doing, too. Every business will be different in what works best for their audience.
Considering the growing popularity of email personalization and segmentation, it seems likely that this trend of quality over quantity will continue. If you want to maximize the impact of your email marketing, it’s more important than ever to strategize your content and find a distribution schedule that doesn’t overwhelm your list.
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.