Email marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses – when done right. It has one of the highest returns on investment of any marketing channel. It allows for targeted, personalized messaging that leads to higher open and click-through rates compared to other digital ads.
Finding the optimal cadence is key to maximizing results while avoiding annoying your subscribers. Send too many emails and recipients will tune you out or unsubscribe. Send too few and they’ll forget about you.
So what’s the right balance? Read on as we explore how often you should be sending marketing emails.
Factors to Consider When Deciding Email Frequency
In this section, we’ll break down best practices on email cadence so you can send emails frequently enough to stay top of mind without overloading your subscribers’ inboxes.
Dividing email lists into relevant segments, like existing customers versus potential prospects, is crucial because frequency expectations likely differ across groups.
Take the time to segment your audience and tailor your email cadence per segment based on their unique preferences and needs.
For example, prospective customers will need to receive more frequent emails to build awareness of your brand before converting, whereas existing happy customers may find too many emails annoying.
Industry and Niche
Some industries and niches naturally lend themselves to more frequent email marketing than others. For instance, a daily deals website can probably get away with emailing subscribers more often than a high-end fashion brand selling designer clothing could.
Be sure to research what cadence frequency is standard for your particular industry and niche, as well as what customers expect. Competitor analysis can provide great insight.
Business Goals and Objectives
Your email frequency should directly align with and support your strategic business goals and marketing objectives.
If your goal is to boost conversions for a limited-time sales campaign, more frequent emails may be warranted to maximize results. On the other hand, if you are focused on building general brand awareness, fewer high-quality emails to highlight your brand assets may be preferable so as not to annoy new potential customers. Carefully define the ideal cadence to meet goals.
Having truly engaging, valuable email content goes a long way toward justifying increased frequency. If you don’t have stellar subject lines, compelling design, and useful information that your subscribers really care about, it’s best to limit email quantity.
Mediocre content will quickly cause recipients to tune out more frequent emails. However, without stellar value-add content, blasting more emails will only frustrate and annoy.
Past Email Performance
Analyzing key metrics and email performance data like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates can provide guidance on whether your current cadence is working or if it needs adjustment.
If you notice those rates declining over time, assess whether over-emailing and fatigue could be to blame. Let the data and insights direct any modifications you make to increase or decrease frequency as needed.
Benefits of Sending Marketing Emails
Nurture Leads and Build Relationships
Developing an ongoing email cadence allows you to continuously nurture leads and prospects to guide them through your sales funnel.
Consistently providing valuable content through your emails builds trust and fosters relationships over time. The key is to avoid excessive emails that look more like spam and turn off recipients.
Drive Website Traffic and Conversions
Well-timed call-to-action emails can effectively drive engaged recipients to targeted landing pages on your website, leading to more conversions. Just be sure to tailor the frequency and cadence to align with the specific campaign goals you want to achieve for traffic and conversions.
Increase Brand Awareness
Thoughtfully crafted branding emails make customers gradually become more familiar with your company, products, and services, building brand awareness. Prioritize quality messaging over blasting out excessive emails so you don’t create fatigue around your brand.
Promote Products or Services
Emails highlighting sales, new product releases, special offers, and promotions can boost interest and purchases for your products or services. Take care to segment your lists appropriately to deliver the most relevant offers at the optimal frequency for each group.
Share Valuable Content
Consistently emailing industry tips, guides, resources, and other valuable content at the right cadence establishes your authority and makes you a trusted source while avoiding overwhelm. Educational emails sent at an ideal frequency satisfy subscribers’ hunger for your expertise.
Risks of Over-emailing
Bombarding subscribers with excessive emails will inevitably frustrate recipients by cluttering up their inboxes and wasting their time.
Email overload caused by over-emailing will very quickly cause your subscribers to tune out your messages and potentially unsubscribe altogether. The more frequent the emails, the more aggravated your subscribers will become over the constant notifications and unnecessary emails crowding out important messages.
Pretty soon you’ll have a list of annoyed recipients who dread seeing your sender name because they know it means more email clutter. Keep the subscriber experience top of mind and avoid inundating inboxes.
Increased Unsubscribe Rates
One of the most detrimental effects of over-emailing your list is that it gives subscribers major incentive to unsubscribe in order to stop the flood of messages. This subsequently shrinks your available email list over time, limiting your reach.
The graph below shows the correlation between email frequency and unsubscribes:
With every overly frequent email campaign, you essentially invite subscribers to opt out of future communications.
The constant emails become an incentive and justification to hit unsubscribe and shrink your hard-earned list. Be sure to find the optimal cadence and frequency to retain engaged subscribers.
Damage to Sender Reputation
Blast emailing people without their clear permission and consent can get your messages flagged as spam, which significantly hurts your sender reputation and deliverability rates. This damage can be difficult to undo once subscribers mark your emails as junk or spam due to excess frequency.
Over-emailing creates suspicion around your sender domain and IP address, making reliable inbox delivery a challenge in the future. Avoid this scenario by always honoring subscribers’ email opt-in and opt-out preferences.
Legal and Compliance Issues
Spam regulations strictly prohibit over-emailing people who have not actively consented to receive messages. If you disregard opt-in requirements, it could result in fines, blacklisting, lawsuits and other legal penalties for non-compliance with CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and other policies.
Once flagged for spammy over-emailing tactics, you’ll need legal help resolving the compliance issues caused by contacting people without consent. Tread carefully to avoid needing a lawyer.
Decreased Open and Click-Through Rates
As fatigue inevitably sets in from receiving too many emails, open and click-through rates will steadily decline over time. It’s crucial to optimize your email frequency and cadence to prevent this fatiguing effect and keep engagement as high as possible.
This graph from MailerLite shows that the average open rate can be impacted by sending frequency.
If you fail to find the right cadence, expect to see those open and click rates plummet as subscribers are worn out by the constant barrage of emails. Monitor your metrics closely for signs of declining engagement.
Common Email Frequency Strategies
Sending a newsletter, promotions, or other emails on a weekly basis can help build engagement by keeping your brand top of mind. This frequent email cadence works well for things like promotions that require urgency, digests of great content from the past week, or relationship-building messages.
Of course, your subscribers may eventually suffer email fatigue if every week they receive multiple messages. Be cautious about overusing this frequency if you don’t have extremely strong content. Evaluate performance metrics to ensure open and click rates remain satisfactory.
Emailing subscribers every other week is a moderately frequent cadence that avoids potential overload from weekly emails.
This bi-weekly frequency is best suited for non-urgent updates that still deserve regular communication, as well as longer sales cycles that require consistent nurturing over time.
Every two weeks strikes a balance between staying engaged and giving subscribers a break from constant emails crowding their inboxes. Alternate your email types between promotional and educational from one bi-weekly send to the next.
Emailing your list on a monthly basis with announcements, special offers, recaps of the prior month, or subscriber-only content is a great way to stay top of mind without risking overexposure.
This monthly frequency limits inbox clutter while allowing you to showcase important updates or promotions on an ongoing basis. Monthly also works well for newsletters that summarize helpful information or company news from the past 30 days.
For promotional campaigns, new releases, or general company updates that do not necessitate a fixed monthly or weekly schedule, sending occasional emails as needed works very well.
This may mean reaching out quarterly, or even just a few times per year around big announcements. Occasional emailing reduces fatigue from fixed intervals while allowing flexibility.
Automated emails configured to be sent when subscribers take specific actions, such as abandoning a shopping cart, can be highly effective.
The frequency varies based on user behavior and scenarios. Personalized triggered emails feel relevant and timely without crowding inboxes like fixed schedules, as they are only sent when the subscriber prompts it.
Finding the Right Balance
Finding the optimal email frequency that maximizes engagement without overwhelming subscribers takes careful testing and adjustment. Tactics to find the right balance include:
Testing and Experimentation
Rigorously A/B test different email frequencies, such as daily, weekly, or monthly, to see which cadence resonates best with your audience.
You can also test different days and times for sends to optimize performance. Experimentation is key to dialing in the right mix over time through continual refinement and improvement.
Monitoring Engagement Metrics
Keep very close tabs on key email engagement metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates to help gauge how your current frequency is performing.
Watch for any declines in open or click rates, or spikes in opt-outs, which could indicate you are over-emailing and causing fatigue. Use the data and insights to tweak your frequency as needed.
Asking for Subscriber Feedback
Surveys, polls and other tactics to directly gather feedback from your subscribers provide valuable insight into how they feel about your current email volume and cadence. Ask their opinion on frequency to help fine-tune your approach for the best subscriber experience. Don’t rely on assumptions alone.
Adapting to Seasonal Changes
Be prepared to dynamically increase email frequency around major promotions, launches, or seasonal events like holidays or back-to-school campaigns. Then, scale back into periods of less activity to avoid overwhelming subscribers during slower business cycles. Automation helps adapt cadence to changing needs.
Best Practices for Effective Email Marketing
To maximize the results and engagement of your email marketing, incorporate these best practices regardless of the frequency:
- Personalization and Relevance: Take the time to segment your email list based on metrics like past engagement and purchase history. Customize the content of each email to align with the interests and needs of each recipient segment. Highly relevant emails that provide personalized value are far more likely to drive openings, clicks, and conversions. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.
- A/B Testing and Optimization: Continually carry out A/B testing of email components like subject lines, content, layouts, images, calls-to-action, and frequency/timing to see what resonates best with your subscribers. Let data-driven optimization guide your refinements over time. Never settle on an approach without continual testing.
- Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): Every email you send should contain a strong, clear call-to-action that drives the desired next action based on your goals, whether it’s a click, download, sign-up, purchase, or something else entirely. CTAs give emails purpose.
- Mobile Responsiveness: With increasing email access on mobile devices, it’s absolutely essential to ensure your emails render and function well across all platforms and devices. A mobile-friendly, responsive design is a must-have – if an email is frustrating on mobile, subscribers will quickly tune out.
- Consistent Branding: Maintain a cohesive visual identity through logo placement, color schemes, typography, and other branding elements so your emails are instantly recognizable. Consistent branding boosts familiarity, recognition, and trust across all communications.
Tools and Resources for Managing Email Marketing Frequency
Email Marketing Platforms
All-in-one email marketing solutions like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and others streamline subscriber management and email creation, making it easier to coordinate your cadence.
Their automation and tracking tools provide data to refine frequency. For example, Mailchimp’s automation tools allow you to set up triggers to deploy campaigns based on user actions.
Analytics and Tracking
Monitoring key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates through tools like Google Analytics, Mailchimp Analytics, Constant Contact Insights, and others provide valuable insights on how your current frequency is performing. For instance, if you notice declining open rates over time in Google Analytics, you may be over-emailing.
Email Scheduling Tools
Dedicated scheduling tools like Mailshake, Sendinblue Schedule, and MailerLite Campaigns allow you to space out emails appropriately and plan your cadence in advance through visual calendars and bulk scheduling. For example, Sendinblue Schedule allows you to map out a weekly newsletter cadence visually.
The most important factor is continually testing and optimizing to find your ideal email cadence aligned with audience needs. But the right tools can facilitate this through automation, tracking, planning, and more. Use them as part of a comprehensive frequency optimization strategy.
Determining the optimal email marketing frequency requires a tailored approach based on your unique business goals, audience preferences, and past performance data. While there are general best practices, no single cadence is ideal for every situation.
The key is testing different frequencies to find the right balance where you maximize results without overwhelming recipients. Use the information in this guide to help you determine the right sending frequency for your audience.