How often should I be emailing my list?
It’s probably the one question I get asked most often, and the answer is – there is no one correct answer, it depends. I know that may sound like a cop-out, but let me explain.
There are a number of ways in which you can approach this quandary, each of which I have detailed in the list below;
Match your frequency to your niche.
Let’s imagine you run an email subscription, serving investors, called “The Daily Market Update“, where you provided information about stocks and shares that trade on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The subscribers to that content would not be very happy with one email per month, as the information would be outdated very quickly (stocks and shares change by the hour, never mind each month!), so as the title suggests, a daily email would be more appropriate (and expected).
Your content type can dictate your frequency.
If what you provide in your email content is short form, each email taking 10-15 mins to create, then chances are, you can afford the time to generate a considerable number of emails on a weekly/monthly basis.
However, on the other hand, if you specialise in long form content, where you’re doing lots of research, writing, creating accompanying visuals, videos etc., then that could (will) constrain your ability to produce valuable output (some of my long form content can take me more than 6 hours to create!), so you may find that you can only manage 1 email per week.
Of course, there’s nothing preventing you from having a hybrid approach, creating both short and long form content for your email campaigns, with short content going out once or twice per week, and your long form content going out once or twice per month.
Send out content whenever you're inspired.
Some people aren’t that good at creating ideas on demand for their email content and only really do it when they get inspired. It could be something they read, an interaction with a client, or perhaps just a fleeting thought that jumps into their heads – whatever it is, it triggers a worthy email that they can then share with their subscribers.
Whilst this approach is okay, it is key to at least be consistent. Don’t be that person who sends an email every few months, to the point where some of your subscribers struggle to remember who you are whenever an email arrives.
If you only get inspired once or twice a month, then keep a log of them, decide on a frequency that you’ll be able to maintain over the long term and start to build your library of content.
A great way of getting creative more often is to catch yourself being inspired, figure out those particular circumstances, and try to put yourself in those situations more often!
Let your subscribers choose their preferences.
The most flexible way you can deliver content to your subscriber list is using their personal preferences. You can ask them how often they’d like to hear from you and which topics in particular they’d like to receive.
For example, if you run a copywriting business, you might ask your subscribers if they’d like to receive content from you on a ‘weekly‘, ‘fortnightly‘, or ‘monthly’ basis‘.
You could then determine what in particular interests them; would they like to receive your content on ‘website copywriting‘, ‘email copywriting‘, or ‘sales page copywriting‘.
Even though this will be more of an effort from your perspective, the tailoring to accommodate preferences will only encourage your subscribers to stay with you for longer.
Periodic planned sales campaigns.
Once you have established your subscriber on your list, then you should be delivering consistent value to them on a regular basis. Part of the unwritten agreement is that you are able to pitch services and products to them, but just don’t do it with every email you send – otherwise you’ll have them reaching for that ‘unsubscribe’ link!
Personally, I only ever have 3 or 4 email sales campaigns per year (so, every 3 or 4 months) as that’s what I’m comfortable with – but you may have a different opinion, of course.
When you’re running a sales campaign (depending on which type of sale it is), you’ll most likely increase (significantly) your email frequency, but each one will have its own part to play in your campaign. When I’m running a campaign, it’ll probably run for about 2 weeks, and be made up of about 10-12 emails in total, across the period.
I won’t get into the structure of a good sales campaign in this article, but you won’t be surprised to know there is a proven approach that is best adopted if you want to maximise your results.
Curation and newsjacking with regular updates.
You can become the news curator for your subscriber list. If you keep up to date with all the goings on within your particular sector or niche, you can then create email content that not only delivers the message you want to share, but it also gives you the chance to offer your perspective on it.
It could be a change to legislation, a product or feature launch, a recent unexpected event, or even a complex subject that could be well served by a simple breakdown explanation for your audience.
If you really want to get super-efficient at this particular ‘spoke in your email marketing wheel‘, you could introduce *RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds into your system, meaning you’ll get content curated for you that you can then share with your list.
ConvertKit, which is the email marketing that I recommend to solopreneurs, offers an integrated RSS solution, however it can also be done using other tools outside your email marketing platform, and then shared by you via email.
Just like email marketing sales campaigns, the use of RSS feeds needs careful planning to ensure you have the right (i.e. relevant, interesting, or valuable) content being sent to the right subscribers on your list, at the right frequency.
*An RSS feed takes the headlines, summaries, and update notices, and then links back to articles on a website’s page. This content is distributed in real time, so that the top results on the RSS feed are always the latest published content for a website.
General best practices for your email frequency.
Consistency will trump all other strategies, so make sure your content goes out regularly and consistently.
Be persistent in your objective of creating and delivering high-quality content via your email marketing channel, for the long term. As the Roman poet, Ovid, said… “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence”.
Every email you send MUST always provide value to the recipient otherwise there’s no point in sending it. It should be educational, engaging, entertaining, or thought-provoking – if it’s isn’t, go back and rewrite it before you send it to your list!
Do what makes sense and be dynamic enough to respond to your subscribers’ preferences as they mould and change over time. A disengaged subscriber will soon hit that ‘unsubscribe’ link and be unlikely to return, so make sure you treat them as you’d like to be treated. A higher than normal unsubscribe rate could indicate that either your content has become irrelevant or that your frequency is too much for your list – just be aware of your numbers and respond accordingly.
So, in summary, to answer the initial question, “How often should I be emailing my list?“, the answer is… “As often as you feel is appropriate for your business, your subscribers, and your content.“.
And after you write every email, read it back a few times, and ask yourself these questions;
- Is this email educational, engaging, entertaining, or thought-provoking?
- Does this email convey what I want it to say?
- Would I be happy (and grateful) to receive this email?
If you can answer “Yes” to these 3 questions, then there’s every chance it’s good to send.
Email marketing proficiency is something that’s acquired over time through experience and learning from others, so don’t be too hard on yourself when you’re just starting out – we all need to be beginners, there’s no way round that!
If you’d like to learn more about how to structure an effective marketing email, then check out the article shown below; in this, I go into each of the 8 key elements that you need to have if you’re to maximise your success. Click here or on the image below… 👇