How Often Should You Email Your Customers? 5 Key Tips

Patrick Compton
August 5, 2020

Each day, the average office worker receives 121 emails. Between professional communications, social updates, promotions, and spam, it can be a lot to sift through. 

For anybody involved in sending marketing emails to business contacts, this should always be foremost in your mind. And yes, you can send too many emails. Think about the types of emails you receive.  Are they of value? Or do you find yourself doing more deleting than actual viewing?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to email frequency. While some firms can benefit from sending emails to their customers and clients weekly or even daily, others might need to take a less frequent approach. 

To help you figure out how often you should email your customer list, we’ve put together a list of essential tips to help you achieve higher click-throughs and, more importantly, conversion rates, out of each email you send. 

1. Less May Be More 

SendGrid Benchmark Report

According to SendGrid’s 2019 benchmark study, an increase in median send rates actually lead to lower Click-to-Open, Aggregate Click, and Aggregate Open Rates. That’s all marketing jargon for, customers got overwhelmed and didn’t care enough to open your message, much less click on anything to send you traffic. 

But, you don’t even have to look at statistics to feel consumer fatigue from too many emails. Check out your own inbox. Email fatigue is something we all suffer from. You likely spend more time unsubscribing than subscribing to email lists. 

Remember, above all, it’s quality and not quantity that delivers results.  If you start pummeling your contacts with irrelevant emails, they will quickly learn to ignore you.  What’s worse, it will be extremely difficult to get them to open an email again.  Focus on creating value and starting slow, then monitor engagement.  When a recipient sees your name in their inbox, you want them to know you’ve taken the time to send them something worthwhile and be compelled to engage with you.

2. Create Meaningful Content

How do you know you’re sending something worthwhile?  We call it The Golden Rule of keep-in-touch email marketing: never send anything you wouldn’t want to receive yourself

While this doesn’t mean you can only reach out when you have earth-shattering news, it should mean your email should have something of value to your audience.  Many business owners feel pressured to stuff newsletters with content fluff week after week, month after month.  But how much of that content is being seen or read?  Would you read it, if you received it from your insurance agent or financial advisor?  More often than not, a few lines of valuable advice will outweigh graphics and heaps of generic content.

For example: A financial advisory and accounting practice serving small businesses was recently fielding questions from multiple clients about the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  The business owner decided to compile all of the questions she received, and create a quick, plain-text “FAQ” email to share with her entire list.  Not only highly relevant and useful for clients who had concern, but it also saved her time from having to respond to clients individually.  Plus, her research on the topic helped her customers see her as a trusted expert and resource for them in a trying time.  Talk about a perfect email marketing win-win!

3. Consider Your Industry

It’s also helpful to monitor competitors or other companies in your industry to see what you may be able to learn from them.  While consumers may be used to seeing emails from Banana Republic multiple times a week in their inbox, they are likely not expecting (nor want!) that from their insurance or real estate agent.

This is not to say you should copy your competitors’ email marketing strategy exactly. They might have a larger list size or specific goal that doesn’t line up with what you’re trying to achieve.  Think about who the customers on your email distribution list actually are, why they chose to work with you, and what value you may be able to add with your content.  Then, create conversation starters that appeal directly to them. 

4. Keep Up With The News

While holidays, seasonal content, or cross-selling emails may be nice to schedule out months in advance with your email marketing tool, staying on top of current events can present additional opportunities to increase the frequency of your email sends.

For example: If you are a commercial insurance agent and your clients are primarily restaurant owners, coronavirus likely presented you with tons of questions from your clients about their coverage.  A changing situation like that presents a prime opportunity for you to stay on top of current events in order to provide valuable email content to pass along to your clients and prospects.  

So whether it’s tax season, volatile financial markets or a local real estate update, there’s likely something you know that your audience wants a little more information about. Find out what that is and use it to reach out to them.  

5. Embrace Email Personalization

Many small businesses get the wrong idea when it comes to personalization. They use examples they get from national brands with truly massive user bases to create boring “Hi [your name here], Check out our latest deal” email templates. 

This isn’t an effective tactic for national corporations and it’s even worse for small businesses. People prefer small businesses for the personal relationships they can build over months and even years. Keep this in mind anytime you’re considering whether you’ll send an email or not.

True personalization involves keeping track of the details of your clients lives, and incorporating that knowledge into your emails. Can you remember birthdays, interests, conversations?  This is what will really keep your audience engaged and your open rates high. 

The Bottom Line: Quality Over Quantity

There is no easy answer for how often you should email your contacts. But, maybe that’s not the right question. Whether you email them daily, weekly, or monthly, you should really be asking: What are my clients getting out of this email? Is it worth interrupting their busy day over?  

Your customers and prospects should expect quality from every email you send.  Deliver on that promise, and allow it to dictate how often you decide to press send.  Your customers--and their inboxes--will thank you for it.

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