One of the biggest questions I first had when I started my email list was how often to email my subscribers. I was so paranoid that they'd forget me if I emailed too little, or that I'd annoy them and that they'd unsubscribe if I emailed too much – but I was making a mistake looking at it this way.
The Problem With Not Emailing Enough
When people sign up to your email list it's either because (a) they want to hear from you or (b) they wanted something you were offering (like a free PDF, a discount code, or a product update etc.) That means that if you don't email them at all, you'll (a) let your subscriber down or (b) they may forget you and why they signed up to your list.
If you're like me, you are probably subscribed to a lot of email lists. How do you feel when you get an email out of the blue and don't recognize the person sending it? I usually unsubscribe to clear the inbox clutter. On the other hand, if I buy a product, or sign up for a freebie, and the creator emails me straight away, and on a regular basis afterwards, I'm far more likely to remember who they are and to actually read their emails and stay on their list.
This is why I'm a big fan of sending at least one “welcome” email. And not just the default one from your email marketing software provider, but one that introduces yourself in a bit more detail (I have one for all new subscribers here). After that, I believe you set your own rules about how often to email.
Of course, there is such a thing as emailing too much (see below), and the type of content you send is important, too. However, I do believe in emailing consistently in order to build the most engaged relationship with your subscribers.
By the way, if you're stuck for ideas on what to actually send your list, I have a freebie to help…
How Often is “Consistently”?
Emailing “consistently” means on a schedule that suits you, that helps people to remember you and, crucially, fosters an engaged readership. For me, consistently means once every fortnight, with my regular newsletter. For you, it could be three times a week, or once a month. And it can vary from month to month. Just make sure you're emailing something.
This is vague, I know, but unfortunately it's something you'll have to track and get a feel for over time. Bigger brands and shopping websites tend to email almost every day, but I personally enjoy bloggers who send a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter to their subscribers, perhaps with some original content and linking out to their most recent blog posts. As a subscriber, I'm happy if I know what to expect.
What if Your List is Small?
You might not think it's worth emailing regularly if you only have a handful of people on your list, but that's not true. None of those subscribers know how many other subscribers there are, and when they signed up they expected to hear from you. If you keep waiting until you have some “magic number” of subscribers, you'll probably never start emailing. And, when you do, those people who signed up earlier may have forgotten they did.
No matter whether you have 10 or 10,000 subscribers, your aim has to be to build that relationship with them as quickly as possible. You won't be wasting your time, because every customer is important, and you'll be practicing the art of email writing at the same time. You'll also be getting into a routine that'll help with that consistency down the line.
And here's a bonus tip: you can absolutely re-use your old newsletters or update old blog posts if you didn't get many readers the first time around. There's no reason to work harder than you need to! So make a point of saving old email newsletters and sending them out again in future when you experience periods of rapid growth of your email list.
Can You Email Too Frequently?
Some markets, such as those looking for shopping deals or celebrity gossip, won't mind emails every single day, or even multiple times a day. However, this is definitely not the norm. My inbox is already overflowing, so I know that if a blogger emails me every single day then I'm probably going to unsubscribe. Some bloggers will have more active periods, such as during a launch, and that's fine. Generally, though, once or twice a week or month will probably suit most creatives.
If you do have times where you need to email more, then you can always offer some extra free goodies to say thanks to your loyal subscribers. Or you can use link triggers & automation rules that allow them to opt out of a current launch, but stay on your main mailing list. And remember, people generally do need several reminders before special offers are about to end – not everybody reads every single email they receive.
What About Unsubscribe Rates?
Unsubscribes happen – it's a fact of business. I have unsubscribed from lots of email lists, and most of the time I had nothing against the bloggers – I just had too many emails in my inbox. Sometimes I unsubscribe and re-subscribe again at a later date, and your readers will do that too. Keep an eye on average unsubscribe rates so that when it goes above average, you can take a deeper look at why that might have happened.
And remember, unsubscribes are a good thing! You have a specific target market in mind when you write your blog posts, and your business does better when you attract the right people. You are not for everyone, so it's absolutely fine to let them go with love.
At the end of the day, it's all about testing what's best for your list. But don't be afraid to actually email people – that's what they signed up for!