Determining How Many Marketing E-Mails to Send

Deciding how many e-mail marketing messages to send requires a fine balance: Send too many e-mail messages, and you overwhelm your audience with sheer numbers; Send too few, and you can overwhelm your audience with too much content in each one.

The total number of e-mail messages you send should match your consumer’s need for your information — not your need to send the information.

Estimating the total number of messages your audience expects usually depends on two factors:

  • The number of times your audience engages in a buying cycle: If your prospects or customers purchase your products or services once per week, sending 52 e-mails per year is probably a good place to start with your frequency. If your prospects or customers take months or even years to make purchase decisions, you can base the number of e-mails you send on the number of times they’re likely to talk about their purchases with their peers.

    For example, if you sell once-in-a-lifetime vacations, you might create an affinity club for past vacationers and keep your customers talking about their experience by sending invitations to members-only social reunions four times per year.

  • The amount of information your audience needs to make a purchase decision: Some purchase decisions are easy for consumers to make, but others require much more consideration. If your audience requires a lot of information to justify a decision, send a number of e-mails each focusing on a single factor so that you don’t overwhelm your audience with too much content in just a few e-mails. You can satisfy people who need all the information at once by providing a link to all your content hosted on a website.

Estimating how many e-mails you need to effectively deliver all your information may be as simple as dividing your information into equal parts or as complex as tracking interactions and delivering successively greater amounts of content as your audience becomes more engaged.

Although paying attention to the needs of your audience is always the best policy, sometimes your e-mail content dictates the appropriate number of messages to send. For example, the total number of e-mails you send might depend on

  • The amount of change in your content: If your e-mails always have the same basic message, you don’t need to send as many as if your content were always fresh and new.

  • The theme of your content: If your e-mail includes frequency in the theme, you can match the number of e-mails you send to that theme. For example, if your subscribers sign up for a daily weather update, you need to send 365 e-mails for the year, but delivering a quarterly financial report requires only 4 e-mails per year.

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