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What's the best frequency for an email newsletter?
👉 you might be surprised by the answer
A question I get asked a lot is “what’s the best frequency to email?”
It’s actually quite a complex question. The obvious answer is “it depends” - but let’s break it down a bit to try to shed some light on what frequency you should email with.
The first thing worth stating is that the ideal frequency varies by audience and topic.
Managers in corporates who are overwhelmed with emails from colleagues, bosses and suppliers have less capacity for reading newsletters than (say) a small business owner with more control over their inbox.
And some topics are more of the “OMG I need to get this fixed quick” type where the reader wants as much information in as short a time as possible - meaning a high frequency will be accepted and even preferred. Stock tips and “make money” type emails tend to fall in this category.
Other topics are more long-term interest where the reader may not have an urgent problem, but wants to get new ideas and insights at a manageable pace for them. Newsletters with advice on strategy or big organisational change fit here and readers will most likely prefer a more sedate one allowing them to take on board and discuss the ideas brought up.
And it’s vital to remember that no market is completely homogeneous.
For any email topic there will be potential readers who would prefer frequent emails, and potential readers who would prefer less frequent ones.
Daily, weekly and monthly newsletters can co-exist in the same market and all find their niche of people looking for that frequency. So whatever frequency works for you, there’ll be a group of readers out there it works for too.
All that said, there are some universal rules of thumb I would always follow:
By and large, people who love your work are more likely to become paying customers. And people who love your work tend to want to hear from you more frequently rather than less.
Most people find it easier to find a few minutes to read a short email multiple times a week rather than find 10-15 minutes to read a huge email once a month.
Once you’ve established a cadence to your emails, you’ll tend to keep the subscribers who appreciate that frequency and lose the ones who hate it. Consistency is key, otherwise you’ll lose everyone.
The biggest barrier to emailing more frequently is almost always your capacity to create more emails rather than your audience’s capacity to consume them.
My advice is always to to use trial and error. Try increasing your email frequency a bit - e.g. from from once a month to once a fortnight, or from once a week to twice a week - and see if you can maintain that frequency. You can always go back if you can’t manage. But once you’ve increased frequency, leave it at that for a while to see how people react.
Over the years I’ve gone from monthly to weekly to 2 or 3 times a week. Each time I’ve had a small number of people complain, but a larger number of people engaging more and many eventually buying from me.
Email frequency is one of those things where everyone says they want to get fewer emails. But their actions show that if you send more, they buy more.
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