Sending email communication can often feel like a guessing game, at least in the beginning. Marketers have to make educated guesses about their target audience and how they engage with emails they receive. Based on the data collected from at least three previous campaigns, marketing specialists can then start improving email marketing metrics. But finding the best time frame for sending emails can still be a tricky process. The same thing applies to email frequency.
On the one hand, you want to offer as much relevant information as possible, keep your emails timely and to the point. But on the other hand, you want to avoid overwhelming subscribers with too many emails, something that might make them opt out from receiving additional communication regarding your brand. As you can see, finding the sweet spot for email frequency is a complicated process of balancing expectations with providing value for your contacts.
In this article, we are going to go over some best practices for determining the optimal email frequency. To do so, we are also going to provide examples and put things into context for both B2C and B2B companies.
Optimal email frequency
One thing email marketers can do to determine the optimal frequency for their email marketing campaign is to monitor customer behavior. For example, did customers open your emails? Did they click on a link to your website or a landing page? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you can be confident that your email marketing campaign is resonating with your customers and you can send additional emails. If only one or neither of those two questions is answered with a yes, then you may want to re-evaluate your email marketing campaign before sending another email.
But what exactly can you do to substantially improve not just your metrics but also to determine when and how often to send out an email marketing campaign? This is something that we will address in this article, using tips and tricks, best practices, and insights from DataValidation's vast experience on the email market.
7 actions to determine optimal frequency for your email campaigns
Email marketing is a science. Some variables must be analyzed to determine what the optimal email marketing frequency should be. If your email marketing frequency is too high, you’ll end up annoying your customers and if it’s too low, you’ll end up losing your subscribers, which is bad for your business.
Step 1. Analyze your results and extract actionable data
One of the first steps you need to engage in is to analyze the results of your current email marketing campaigns, to have a clear and reliable dataset that you will either use as a starting point. As long as you are not satisfied with the overall results or benchmarks, you need to implement changes. Taking mitigating actions to address issues with the performance of your campaigns is a critical step in delivering better results. As long as the results are in line with your goals and expectations, then you can take that data and start testing out various hypotheses.
Here is a list of actionable data that you will need to extract from your campaign results:
Step 2: Start your CRO program
As with any conversion rate optimization project, the second step is to form various hypotheses based on the raw data collected during the first step. As soon as you have the data on how your email marketing campaigns are performing, you will be able to brainstorm ideas on what actions or changes are most likely to bring in the best results.
The first thing you need to do is to create action points. These action points need to be closely related to improvements you want to see in the performance of your email marketing campaigns. For example, if you notice that you have a low open rate, you will want to take mitigating actions in this direction. First of all, take into account all elements that directly impact the open rate. For example, you could craft a hypothesis that focuses on generating catchier subject lines. If you have better subject lines, your open rates will be higher.
The same plan can work for determining optimal email frequency. If you send just one email communication per week, as opposed to two or more, your contact will be more likely to engage with your newsletters.
Step 3: Segment your email marketing list
One of the biggest mistakes email marketers do is to treat their subscribers as a monolith. That is rarely the case. If you have contacts from multiple countries or cultures, you will need to adjust your tactics accordingly. For example, while US citizens are open to receiving more email communication tailored to their needs, people in Asia or some European countries, such as those in DACH or Nordics prefer fewer updates.
Keep in mind not just their location when segmenting lists, but also look at their age or job titles. B2C companies might also want to segment lists based on sex, parental status, or product preferences, while B2B ones will want to do the same, but based on industry, company size, or persona.
Step 4: Test and analyze your ideas
Once you have a list of ideas, you will need to start testing them to determine which ones are the most effective and which ones are not. You will need to analyze the results of all the ideas you test for each email marketing campaign that you run.
Prioritizing hypotheses from your conversion rate optimization program will take some educated guesses and data regarding what has the potential of bringing in the best results. When it comes to testing out ideas, do not limit yourself to just trying out the simplest ones. Be prepared to implement bold ideas, even if just for a limited time.
Step 5: Optimize your email marketing campaign
Using the data extracted from the tests you have run during the fourth step, you will be able to make an informed decision on which actions are most likely to bring the desired results. Once you have your ideas, you can optimize your campaign accordingly. Optimization, in this case, refers to expanding your CRO results to your overall email marketing campaigns.
Let’s look at a simple example: if you have tested out newer and catchier subject lines and you have noticed that those have to lead to higher open rates, now it’s time to switch all your subject lines to the newer formula.
Step 6: Measure and analyze your results
Once you have optimized your email marketing campaign, you will need to measure the results of your new campaign. Again, you should extract actionable data from your campaign results, so you can use this data to determine whether or not your new campaign is bringing in the results you want.
Never hesitate to stop an idea that doesn’t resonate with your entire email database. CRO programs are only good at predicting a potential result, but they never come with any guarantee. If something is not working as expected, take any necessary mitigating actions.
Step 7: Repeat
Once your new campaigns are in line with your expectations and with benchmarks, then you will be able to replicate them. The number one actionable data that you need to look at is engagement. If your email campaigns are getting opened and you also are getting clicks from them, then you should keep it.
Use the actionable data gathered from your experiments to decide future action points.