What is the optimum sending frequency?

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Not a day goes by without me being asked a question around the optimum sending frequency. So what’s the answer? Every day? Week? Month? Really, the truth is, it just depends…

Now that does sound like the classic sit on the fence type of response you get from someone who doesn’t really know the answer. So let’s explain why ‘it depends’.

Most people fall into 2 camps – those that think they are not doing any damage by blasting their database over and over and over and over again (you get the picture), maybe several times a week with no consideration of personalisation and a simplistic attitude of the more I send, the more money I will make. However this ignores the long term damage to the database that occurs when you over email.


The second group are scared of annoying customers and totally under communicate due to the fear that they may lose subscribers if they feel they are receiving to many emails into their inbox.

We have a rule of thumb: Communicate when you have something of value to talk about. If you don’t have anything of value, you need to create that. This could be best selling products, an exclusive offer, new arrivals or something topical.

Don’t do a Sports Direct and send twice a day, everyday. I’m sure they see every email that goes out bringing in more revenue but they end up damaging their database by over-hyping every offer. I speak from personal experience here. All this leads to is that next time I get one of their emails (which admittedly is only later that day!) I’m far less likely to believe that the email contains something of value to me, resulting in me ignoring future communications, even if they are good. In my opinion they need to reduce the frequency, and ensure when they do send there is strong value in each email.

It’s also OK to repeat. If you have something really interesting it’s OK to repeat it. Don’t think your customers will be offended by you reminding them about your amazing online offer. Remember, most people won’t open the first email on the subject, fewer find the time to click through, and even fewer manage to convert there and then. Send a reminder email and often you can get as much of a response again, especially if there is a time sensitive offer as we all leave things till the last minute.

Finally don’t treat everyone the same: Those who you can see are in the market for your products right now are going to get more value from receiving additional relevant emails from you than those that are not engaged with you at all.

We have shown why we totally avoid giving a definitive answer and sat of the fence. If you don’t know if you are over or under sending why not test it? Put a random 10-20% of your customers into a pot, or put half of your new customers into a pot and send them different frequencies. New customers are great as they have not got any mis-conceptions about your email, and they tend to have greater differences in response.

For further information and advice around your email marketing campaigns, get in touch with one of our experts today.

About Nick Everitt

Senior Campaign Executive at Emailcenter, the UK's largest independent ESP.