Email Frequency

header hatHow many emails is too many? This debate has been stirred by LinkedIn’s recent announcement that it is reducing the number of emails it sends based on persistent user complaints of overload.

There’s new data to help you find the right balance with your email communications — not too many, not too few. A study by Return Path shows that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to frequency.

[Related: Avoiding the Email Trash Bin]

Decreasing send frequency may be the safe approach. Fewer emails should result less frustration from subscribers and therefore fewer complaints. But there are problems associated with not mailing frequently enough, says the report:

  • Lower Lifetime Value  Without timely, relevant content, subscribers may not find it worthwhile to continue their relationship with your brand. The fewer emails sent, the fewer opportunities to prove the value of the email program.
  • Lack of Inbox Presence  The average subscriber receives more than six emails each day, 53 percent of which are promotional. Sending too few will decrease your impressions and hurt overall inbox presence.

The report also outlines consequences of sending too many emails:

  • Decreased Engagement  The most likely action is no action, recipients will simply start ignoring your email, leading to a less engaged subscriber list.
  • Increased Opt-Outs  Disgruntled subscribers may go a step beyond ignoring your emails and actually unsubscribe from your email list.

The report advises that optimizing for send frequency requires an ongoing discipline of testing new send frequencies, collecting the right data, drawing the correct conclusions, and creating frequency recommendations for future campaigns. Your most active and engaged subscribers are your most valuable and most sensitive group; they will be the most likely to notice (and react to) changes in send frequency. Test thoroughly before making any drastic changes that may not sit well with subscribers.

The free complete report is available.