Don't Leave Your Email Subscribers Out In The Cold

How often should you send email newsletters for optimal success?

· Email Marketing

It's winter here in New Zealand, and it's getting cold (probably not by the standards of any Northern Hemisphere readers, but I digress). 

Much like most people out there, I don't really like being left out in the cold. And guess what? Your email subscribers don't like being left out in the cold either. 

What do I mean by this? Well allow me to elaborate: 

When we talk about email marketing, one thing that's always drilled into business owners minds is that you shouldn't email too much. 

Most B2B businesses subscribe to this ideology and email infrequently. It's a little bit different with things like eCommerce, online retail etc as a lot of those companies are so transactional that you often have to send a higher volume of emails to get any cut through. 

But for most businesses I deal with, email marketing tends to be something where you'll often err on the side of sort of emailing too infrequently, and that can be a really big problem. 


Because what can happen is that by leaving people out in the cold and not communicating with them very often, when you actually do get around to sending an email to your database, those people may well have forgotten who you are. 

This is especially so if your business is not one that has sort of everyday prominence or presence in your customers' lives. 

We can all think of the companies that you can't drive down the road without seeing. I'm talking the likes of McDonalds, BP, Air New Zealand etc. If they send you an email, chances are, you've already seen them that day. At the very least you always remember who they are, due to constant brand exposure. 

For many B2B businesses, the reality really is very different.. Your audience tends to only know and care about you at the times they want to know about you, or the times that you're actually actively getting yourself in front of them. 

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So how does this issue tend to work in real life? 

To start, you'll collect a bunch of email addresses through various mediums, and then you'll put them on your mailing platform like MailChimp or Active Campaign or something like that. 

You'll have great intentions to send regular email newsletters and information ... but life (and work) gets in the way. 

All of a sudden Christmas time and the end of the year roll around and you think "wow, we haven't spoken to these leads all year, we better send out a Christmas greeting or something like that." 

Then you send out an email and you get a whole bunch of unsubscribes, and you don't really get much value from that list. People got your email but weren't familiar enough with you to care. 

I want to stress that what I'm not saying is that you should go out there and spam your database with emails all day every day. But allowing your database to become too dormant, and communicating with them too infrequently also has a very detrimental effect. 

It's basically a game of not wanting to be on either end of the spectrum; what you want to do is sit in the middle, you want to find that "Goldilocks spot" 

A classic example is the B2B business that collects a whole load of email addresses a trade show and then doesn't get around to emailing them for two or three months after. 

Well, by the time that two or three months has elapsed, a whole load of people you spoke to will have gone cold, and they probably won't be interested anymore. 

It's about being timely. Think about it like sales follow up - if someone calls your office or sends you an inquiry, you probably endeavor to get back to them pretty quickly. It should be the same thing with your email marketing as well. You want to be timely, you just don't want to be too aggressive and in people's faces. 

As far as the optimum cadence for doing this goes, that's dependent on your industry, what you're selling, who your target market is and all those kinds of things. 

As mentioned earlier, if you're an eCommerce business, people are going to expect to hear from you more often, you'll have lots of deals and sales to talk about, and can therefore usually get away with more frequent emails. 

The same tends not to apply for B2B businesses. You might clear some ranges, or you might have certain promotions on but it's nothing like your mainstream, big box retail brands that push the "sale on now" angle all day long. 

Therefore, what you want to do is start experimenting with how frequently you send emails and try and find that sweet spot. If you're just emailing quarterly, for example, then in my experience that probably isn't enough and you might want to try at least bi-monthly (of course if your stats/data say otherwise, then continue as you are and ignore my mad ramblings). Monthly emails are a good place to start. 

The key message is that you should not collect a whole load of emails, sit on them for a year, and then wonder why they don't show much interest when you finally email them. 

I've seen lists that people have tried to resurrect after two or three years of not contacting them. When you do that, believe me that it does not usually work very well. 

I'm also interested to hear as well what you have found to be an effective cadence for your business - all feedback and input is welcome, so leave a comment under this article.