This post was inspired by a recent conversation on the Ecommerce Expert Shopify Facebook page about the best newsletter frequency.
I like to send newsletters every other week, but other store owners admit to be emailing customers once a week, once a day, one person even admitted to 2 x daily contact. So what’s the best formula?
According to DMA National Email Client Report 2015 most companies contact their clients less frequently year on year.
Research revealed that only 1 in 5 brands send emails on a weekly basis. In 2014 19% of all companies were sending 1 email a month – down by 7% from a year before.
Specialists want to warn companies that reducing contact can lead to lower brand awareness. This is also niche and customer specific – but how often customers like to receive newsletters?
If you ask individuals if they get too many emails, almost all will say yes. But this data doesn’t reflect our perception. After all, none of us admit we’d ‘like’ more adverts on TV.
Marketing Sherpa has a proof – according to their research, customers prefer hearing from brands on a weekly or less frequent basis. Please have a look at the chart below:
It depends on your target audience – and your niche, Ecommerce experts agree. After all, a fashion brand is going to have more regular news to share than a web designer. But don’t assume that fewer newsletters automatically lead to better results. This has some risks too, just have a look below.
Sending not enough emails:
- Missed opportunity to sell – being visible and present in your customers’ minds mean more sales. Don’t be shy.
- Irregular contact affects trust – you see, customers want to know you’re here to stay and have solid grounds. They want to trust you with their money and personal data – and to know you deliver. By not sticking to your mailing schedule you give signals you cannot be relied on.
- Subscribers will forget about you – after all, they subscribed for a reason, if you disappear from their point of view, they will not visit your store next time they’re shopping online.
Sending too many emails:
- Less engagement – people can soon be indifferent to what you have to say if you bombard them with new messages
- Customers unsubscribing – once they’re gone, you lose a chance to market to them
- Damage to your reputation – too many unsubscribes can flag your email address as spammy and direct your messages straight to a junk box
Testing, testing, testing
How to find the best email frequency? By testing different times. Ecommerce experts recommend to start by sending weekly newsletters for a month.
Later change to 2 x weekly emails and compare the results – has the engagement improved or reduced?
Which gave you better open / click rate? What about unsubscribers – has many people opted-out once you increased the volume?
Sean Duffy from Toptable tells of the results of his recent experiment. His default newsletters were being sent twice a week. In order to try a different approach, he decided to start sending emails 1 x a week to half of the new subscribers.
After a month he discovered, that a group receiving two emails per week showed higher engagement: open rates were 86% higher and unsubscribe rate 57% lower.
However, the conversion was better in a group getting 1 email a week – in fact they have made 14% more bookings than the other groups. That proves you have to test different tactics to find a formula that is going to deliver the results you’re after.
Here’s what you should do next:
- Change frequency for segments with lower engagement – if one of your groups show lower open / click rate, adjust how often you contact them. It might be that they want fewer emails – but could also mean they wouldn’t mind hearing more from you, so send emails more often, but vary the content. See which approach works best.
- Personalize each segment – don’t have the same approach to all of your groups, find what frequency works best for each and stick to it.
- Let customers choose frequency – give them a chance to pick how often they want to receive your emails when they subscribe. Allow them also change the settings at any time, this will improve you engagement and bring you best results.