Optimal email frequency – how often should you send?

How often should you send?

It’s important you find a good balance for your customers. Send too few emails, and you’ll be missing out on great opportunities to get the right product in front of the right customer. Send too many emails, and you’ll see your open rate drop – or worse, your unsubscribe rate increase.   

Look online and you’ll find a million different answers from a million different sources. Everyone has an opinion on the optimal frequency for your email marketing.

This idealist search for ‘the right frequency’ represents the life’s work of hundreds of marketers. But the unfortunate truth is no-one’s figured it out because a nice, uniform answer simply doesn’t exist.

Products, brands and audiences differ wildly across the wide world of ecommerce – and optimal send frequencies logically follow suit.

Optimising your brand’s send frequency is going to take a little more work – but don’t worry, we’ve made it easy. If you’ve come here expecting a nice, easy-to-implement number – I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you.

Automation and ‘Email Blasts’

It’s important to remember email marketing has changed radically over the last ten years.

A while ago, digital marketers would strive to collect subscribers, and then send out a steady beat of email ‘blasts’. Nowadays, software allows us to be a little more clever than that. This is where ‘lifecycle marketing automations’ come into play. We can target email to send to the right people at the right time, based on a huge variety of factors. The result is incredibly relevant marketing – and in this context, ‘relevance’ is synonymous with ‘effective’.

That being said, regular email campaigns are still a vital part of any good email marketing strategy. They’re still a great source of revenue for your business. And to ensure they stay that way, frequency is important to get right. Now more so than ever. (When you have automated drip campaigns, follow up, and other lifecycle automations firing emails off to your customers in the background, you don’t want to be sending out too many emails on top).  

Protip: marketing automation platforms like Klaviyo allow you to enable ‘Smart Sending’. This ensures your email campaigns don’t go out to subscribers who have recently received an email from your brand, and stops inbox fatigue.  

Test – Let Your Audience Decide

One of the best ways is to simply let your audience decide for themselves how often they want to receive your emails. You can do this quite easily with some simple testing.

A good place to start is to check your website analytics or your website’s average high traffic times. This will give you the best start at boosting clicks, and make the results from the following test a little better. From there:  

  • Split your audience into a few equal parts.
  • Put each new segment on a different send schedule.
  • After a few weeks, analyse the data. Which had the worst unsubscribe rate? Which received the best opens? The best clicks?

Modern marketing is all about the data. It allows us to base our strategies on something more concrete than the musings of misogynists in smoky rooms. Create your own insights, and put them to use!

Preference Centres

Testing is great – but it’s not perfect. The result is a universal average. That’s better than having no send frequency standard in place – but still not good as allowing your subscribers to choose themselves how many emails they receive on an individual basis…

In a report by ExactTarget, they found a whopping 54% of people unsubscribed because they felt they were receiving too many emails. The ideal solution is of course allowing them to select a schedule of updates from your brand that suits them. And this is where Preference Centres come into play.

A Preference Centre is simply a set of options for your subscribers to choose between – most importantly, how many emails they will receive from you. This puts the subscriber in control in hopes that this will encourage them to stay with you longer.

A lot of marketers will include a small link to their Preference Centre before the required unsubscribe link in their footer. This is in hopes that frustrated subscribers will decide to adjust their settings rather than leave completely. Others allow subscribers to choose from the get-go – including their Preference Centre options in their Welcome Series. It’s up to you to decide where to include yours, but we strongly recommend you set one up if you haven’t already! They can be created with relative ease in most marketing automation platforms. Get in touch if you need a hand!

Segment, Segment, Segment

Preference Centres don’t have to just include frequency settings! You can also ask your subscribers what categories of emails they want to receive. This too, will affect the amount of times you email them throughout the week.

Some customers want to know everything about your brand, and would hate to miss out on any news. Others only signed up to hear about your latest sales and discounts. You can ask your subscribers outright what they want to receive, and segment them accordingly.

By setting up multiple mailing lists in your email marketing platform, you’ll be able to boost the relevance of your marketing materials (there’s that magic word again!). Start off with a newsletter mailing list, and a product mailing list. Add all new subscribers to both by default – but give them the options to unsubscribe from one without unsubscribing completely!

Wrap Up

The perfect communication cadence for your brand and audience can be achieved by implementing a mixture of testing, segmentation, and better permission marketing principles.

This can all be achieved in most advanced marketing platforms! We’d love to help you set them up for your own ecommerce business. Get in touch any time and one of our lifecycle marketing strategy experts can show you how it’s done!

As Andzen's Head of Customer Strategy, it's my job to continue the growth of our great company throughout Australia and beyond. My passion is helping businesses solve problems and reach new audiences through creative digital solutions and clever marketing automation.

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