Seven? Maybe only five… or how about… ummm zero? Per week, month, quarter???
Yeah, it’s confusing.
Discovering an email cadence that works for your audience is no easy task. Marketing pro’s like Susan Rutgerson, the Director of Digital Campaigns at Endurance International Group, HostGator’s parent company, dedicate their careers to knowing how to do this right, and still find it tricky.
Rutgerson, who’s tasked with managing millions of email sends each month, says the answer isn’t as simple as once a week or twice a month. The answer, it turns out, is more about content and, more specifically, the value of that content.
She says, “If the content in your email is highly valued by your readers, you might be able to email them every day, but if your content isn’t strong, once a month could be too often.”
So, it sounds like there’s no hard and fast email marketing rule, but that to be successful, it’s about providing valuable content to customers.
Is Email Marketing Still Relevant?
Let’s back up for a moment and understand if email even still matters as a marketing tool.
With online video and a social media boom that varies from platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat to real-time beacon technology, do customers give email the time of day?
The research shows this answer to be emphatically “yes.” Worldwide email users are slated to rise to 2.9 billion by 2019, so business owners would be foolish to discount email marketing as a means of reaching their audience.
Customers also tend to trust emails they signed up to receive more than TV ads, branded websites, online video & banner ads. So, even while there’s more competition in the digital marketing space than ever before, email is indeed still thriving and continuing to grow.
What Value is This Email Bringing My Customer?
So, we’ve determined that email marketing is still relevant and that it’s a trusted source of information, but this still doesn’t get us to a precise number of emails we should be sending.
Rutgerson recommends that before you hit send be sure to ask yourself, “What value is this email really bringing to my customer?” She says, “If you don’t have a good answer, you may want to re-think your strategy.”
This question of value is the one that must be asked. It’s the closest any of us will get to truly understanding the power of email marketing and to landing on a specific number of sends.
How to Determine Value?
Value is inherently subjective, so how can we calculate what that means for each customer?
A lot of determining value depends on time. Rutgerson explains that “Understanding email frequency has a great deal to do with where your reader is in their relationship to you.”
- New customers: Typically want more info on how to do X, Y, or Z plus new product updates or community-building engagement.
- At-risk customers: May need special offers, bundled pricing, or testimonials that re-engage them.
- Tenured customers: Expect less frequent communication, but richer content like case studies, white papers, or eBooks.
Knowing your audience takes time and active research. Consider each email send a test, and carefully review your analytics to make improvements as you go.
Oh, and never be afraid to simply ask your audience what they want. This could very well be the most valuable question of all.
Henry Green is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their online presence through marketing, social media, and website optimization.