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Secrets of the Perfect Email Frequency | SMB Forum by

How often should you send your customers marketing emails? It’s a delicate balance, according to a new report that assessed over 199 million emails and how subscribers interacted with them.

If you send emails too often, your customers will feel overwhelmed and start ignoring the emails. Worse, they might unsubscribe from your emails. Worst of all, they may report your emails as spam and cause all kinds of trouble for you in the future.

Sending marketing emails less often might seem like the obvious solution, but the report suggests that emailing too infrequently causes just as many problems as emailing too often. For instance:

  • You miss out on branding opportunities: If customers aren’t getting many emails from you—but they are getting emails from your competition—you’re missing out on a chance to keep your brand top-of-mind.
  • You miss out on chances to make the sale. The less often you reach out to customers via email, the less likely you are to spur them to buy.
  • You could hurt your sender reputation. If you don’t send marketing emails at least once a month, you won’t build a strong sender history and your emails could get blocked.
  • You’ll struggle to keep a clean list. Email addresses can go bad quickly. If you send emails less than once a month, it will take you longer to catch invalid email addresses and maintain a clean list.

So what can you do to develop the ideal balance between too much, and too little, marketing email? The report offers a two-step process that’s not what you might expect.

First, segment your email recipients into three categories:

  1. Primary: These recipients engage actively with the emails, regularly opening, deleting or acting on emails.
  2. Secondary: These recipients get a lot of promotional emails but engage with only a small percentage of them.
  3. Dead: These recipients almost never do anything with their marketing emails. These accounts are likely abandoned emails.

Then approach each category differently.

  • Focus mostly on the primary recipients, since they’re the most valuable. In addition to interacting with email the most often, they’re also the most likely to complain about it—so be careful before adjusting their frequency one way or the other. Gather as much data as you can, and run tests with small subgroups of primary recipients. Pay attention to complaints whenever you do these tests so you can adjust frequency before you offend too many of these subscribers.
  • When it comes to secondary recipients, you don’t need to worry as much—which gives you greater leeway to experiment. Since they aren’t as valuable, and don’t complain about emails nearly as much as primary recipients, you can test different frequencies on secondary recipients without much risk of making things worse—and a great likelihood of making things better.


Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

Author information

Maria Valdez Haubrich

Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at