You’ve heard before and now you’ll hear it again: timing is everything.
In the fast-paced, “information overload” world of digital marketing, there’s really nothing more important than making sure your message is given to the right people at the right moment.
If marketing emails are an essential part of your online strategy to expand your outreach and engage with your audience, then timing for you becomes even more urgent.
- How often should you send out an email to your audience?
- How much is too much?
- How do you know if you’re not sending enough?
- When should they be sent?
These questions can make or break your marketing email campaign until they’re answered, which is what this post will do!
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1. Know your past success (and failure!).
If you’ve already been sending emails to your subscribers, customers or followers, you should have plenty of information from your email service provider to help you determine what email frequency might be right for you.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- How often are you already sending out emails?
- Has this been consistent or have you experimented?
- Have your open rates been impacted? If so, how?
- Has your number of unsubscribers changed over time?
The information you find to answer these questions can help you analyze your email marketing strategy in greater depth. Your open rates can help you understand whether your audience looks forward to reading and engaging with your emails while your unsubscribe rates showcase the exact opposite effect.
These numbers provide you with valuable insight into the receptiveness of your audience. Keep in mind that frequency isn’t the only number to affect this, but it’s a great starting point.
If you don’t already have an email service provider, check out ConvertKit.
2. Have a full understanding of your goals.
This battles step one in significance. It should be an integral part of any marketing strategy.
You simply can’t move forward without a plan and you’ll never get desired results if you don’t know they are in the first place!
Here are some questions to ponder:
- What is your biggest goal for your email marketing?
- How can you cause your audience to take action through your emails?
- What’s the best way to deliver this information to your audience?
The best way to get proven results from your emails is to have a regular mailing for them. This usually comes in the form of an email newsletter, something consistent that your audience can rely on.
Your email newsletter could contain practically anything, but you’ll probably want to include news updates and information relevant to your business or brand.
However, this doesn’t need to be the only form of email contact your audience receives from you! You can also send more timely messages to help you accomplish your goals.
For example, maybe your business is hosting a special holiday event or sale. You might have seasonal offerings to highlight or emergency announcements. Whatever the occasion, you’re likely to want to keep your audience informed, and direct single marketing emails can be a great way to accomplish this.
Make sure you tell people before they sign up what to expect from you so they know how many emails to expect from you. Example below.
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3. Shift your focus to your audience.
Once you have identified and created concrete steps for your goals, it’s time to focus on the recipients of your emails. Knowing the needs and wants of your target audience will help you identify the content and features they’re most interested in receiving.
A few questions about your audience to answer:
- Who are the people you have on your email list? What are their demographics?
- Why do you think they signed up to hear from you?
- Do their needs and interests vary? Or are they limited and similar?
You may be tempted to start out by making a universal decision on how often to send out your emails, but that’s not where your email marketing strategy should start.
Start by identifying the groups of people on your list and determine how you can create a plan that equally appeals to each individual as well as the audience as a whole.
Email reports and analytics will become your new best friend if you allow it! They’re a large part of figuring out who you’ll want your target audience to be.
If you’d rather hear from your recipients directly, consider sending out a brief online survey to help you better understand who they are, where they’re coming from, and what they’re most interested in. Offer an incentive at the end of the survey to increase the likelihood of getting the valuable responses you need.
After all, the best way to get answers to your questions is to ask the right sources. If you’re not sure what your audience wants from your business or brand, ask them.
If you want to know whether your emails are being informative or annoying, ask. If you don’t know the demographics of your audience, ask. You won’t be able to craft a fair email marketing strategy without knowing who you’re writing to.
A good way to ensure you’re getting the right people into your email list is by setting up your subscribe forms correctly. A good way to do this is to create an email course that caters to a specific audience. Example below.
4. Put it all together and get going.
Once you’ve begun to answer all of these important questions and piece together your information, you have the start of a roughly formed email marketing strategy.
But the biggest question still remains: WHEN should I be sending out my emails?
As you may have realized through answering all these questions, there’s no specific answer, no magic number and no quick formula for success.
Since the need is different for every audience, business and brand, your email marketing strategy will need to be specially designed.
Finding the right balance between too much and too little is key. While the default choice might be once a month, your target demographics might be comfortable with even more emails.
You’ll want to match audience expectations, never more than they believe they signed up for, but also never less than what they want.
This means the easiest answer to the question is experimentation.
Start with a high frequency of helpful, action-oriented content, then slow down. Since people are habit-oriented, eventually you want to establish regularity and stick with it.
Don’t blast your audience three times a day for a week and then neglect them for two months. That kind of radical change will never attract more subscribers and won’t help you keep the ones you already have!
5. Email away (with caution)!
Remember that sending an email to someone is effectively interrupting their day. You’re asking for their time and attention, which you never want to do excessively.
Once you’ve found the perfect email frequency for your business or brand, you can expect email frequency can result in more opens, less unsubscribes and expanded opportunities to reach out to your audience through email marketing.
Mercy Barrial is a senior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Communication Media Studies and Journalism and planning to enter the marketing industry after graduation. She serves as Chair of the Media Team, Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Wheaton Record, and she works as a Media Relations intern for the Marketing and Communications Department.