E-mail Frequency-How Much is Too Much?

When I think about companies who send out too many e-mail messages in a given month, I think about a particular funny graph by comedian Demetri Martin:

(The girl = interest in a company; "interested in hearing about her cat" = e-mail messages)

The more frequently I get bombarded by marketing messages, the more likely I am to tune them out entirely. I’m not saying there’s an exact scientific method to e-mail campaigns, such as what the best day or time of day to send. But there are studies that suggest that the number of e-mails sent per month or week could determine how likely your subscribers will start leaving, or even worse – marking you as spam.

How often you should send out marketing messages depends on a number of factors: what industry you’re in; whether you’re sending B-to-B or B-to-C; and what kind of relationship your subscribers have with your company. There’s no right answer that works for everyone. It’s more about taking educated guesses and carefully measuring, monitoring and tweaking your messages to find the best method that works for your business.

Here are a few tips and areas to check to determine if you’re sending too much:

Unsubscribe Options: If you find that people are unsubscribing more and more, you can try giving them an opportunity to choose how often they want to receive your messages. They may simply choose once a month, rather than dumping you altogether.

Open rate: Does the open rate increase or decrease with higher frequencies?

Click-through rate: If you reduce the email frequency and instead load a message with more content than usual, does this raise or lower the number of click-throughs?

Check a year’s worth of e-mails: You might not notice a change in data from week to week or even month to month. It’s better to get a broad range of time to cultivate more accurate data.