How often should you email your list?

I was sitting in Cafephilia in Moseley the other day, talking copywriting with a Facebook ads whizz who’s passionate about using great copy. We were chatting about engagement emails – those useful, educational emails that you send out to build a relationship with your contacts – and she asked me how often she should be emailing her list.

“Is there a sweet spot?” she asked.

I get this question a lot, and the truth is that there’s no perfect interval. There’s no definitive answer. The answer is, “It depends…”

There are marketing gurus who would insist that you need to be emailing your list EVERY DAY. And if you don’t you’re “leaving money on the table”. But in my experience, the idea of sending daily emails fills the average business owner with horror. Fears of bombarding your list, upsetting your clients and perhaps even not having enough interesting things to say puts most people off.

That’s not to say there aren’t businesses where daily emails produce great results – there definitely are. And in e-commerce, it’s a no-brainer to send very frequent emails. You can track the results easily and frequent emails clearly generate sales. But for a service-based business sending relationship building emails, daily is often too much.

Somewhere between one and three emails each week is usually the optimum interval for the average small business. You need to look carefully at your market and figure out what’s right for them. You need to find your own “sweet spot”. Three emails a week will have some audiences reaching for the unsubscribe link. But in other markets, it’s absolutely fine.

It’s also about how you position those emails. If the architect who’s quoting to work on your new extension tells you they’re going to start sending you emails every day, you’re probably not going to be keen to put your name down for that – even if the emails are really interesting and useful.

But if that architect explains that they’d like to send you a series of five emails over the next couple of weeks, just explaining some of the pitfalls when it comes to planning an extension (and how to avoid them) then that’s going to sound like a sensible thing to sign up for.

It’s a win-win. You get to learn from the architect’s experience and they get to introduce themselves and their business over a short timeframe. It’s going to boost the “know, like and trust” factor. And after the initial five emails, the architect might email once a week or once a fortnight with more useful info.

How often do copywriters send out emails? (I get asked that question a lot too!)

There are plenty of copywriters who send out daily emails. Others aim for three or four times a week, and I know some who are sending out weekly emails. And there are others, like me, who don’t follow a set pattern. When I’m on top form, I like to send two or three emails a week. There are lots of different reasons for this but the main ones are:

1. I like sharing my knowledge. Running a business has plenty of highs and lows, and if I can help people have more of the highs and avoid some of the lows then I’m happy

2. Sending emails works. I get more enquiries – more emails, more calls, more recommendations – when I’m sending out regular emails

3. It’s fun – I enjoy writing my own emails. I spend most of my time writing in the tone of voice of other people, so it’s good to write as myself occasionally!

If I’ve got an imminent project deadline or the kids are taking it in turns to be ill, or some other element of life gets in the way, then my email frequency drops. But the great thing about marketing is that it doesn’t have to be done perfectly to generate results.

In my experience of coaching people to write their own engagement emails, worrying about how often to send the email out is just a delaying tactic. It’s a form of procrastination. The best solution to procrastination is to take action. So based on what you know about your audience, pick a time interval, write an email and then press send. And if you can’t decide, go for weekly emails to start with.

Hopefully it goes without saying that you need permission to email someone, and you must give them the option to unsubscribe easily. This has been the case for some time… even in that golden era long before every other advert on social media was for GDPR training!