How often should I e-mail my subscribers?

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Answer: Moving corporate communications to e-mail distribution can save thousands of dollars in print costs. But the average b-to-b manager today is overwhelmed by hundreds of e-mails each day. Understanding what frequency is just right for your audience will have a direct impact on your readership. Communicate too much and you risk recipient burnout; communicate too little and you risk losing their attention altogether. Here are three best practices that we’ve gleaned from our customers’ experiences.

1. Consider whether or not the frequency is appropriate for the nature of the content. For example, a multi-article newsletter targeting financial analysts is a lot of content to digest on a daily basis. Weekly or monthly distributions are likely better choices. But for special notifications—such as stock alerts—timeliness is everything to your audience. 

2. Make your subscribers aware of the intended frequency. Set specific frequency expectations with your audience when they sign up for your communications. You should also offer several options so they can tell you their preference—for example, daily headline alerts, weekly bulletins, monthly news, quarterly roll-ups and annual reports. Allow them to sign up for a single or multiple communications rather than all or nothing.

3. Look for clues in your readers’ open rate and click-through statistics. Are your subscribers opening your daily messages? If not, try offering the same information in a weekly e-mail, and test whether your open rate increases. If readers are not clicking through all the articles in your quarterly publication, then it may be too long. Try breaking up the information into shorter, more frequent messages and test how your audience responds. 

Overall, it is important to take a proactive approach to understanding the frequency desired by your subscribers in order to avoid unsubscribes. When in doubt, survey your subscribers and let them tell you what they want. 

Joe Colopy is the founder and chief executive officer of Bronto Software (, a provider of e-mail marketing software.

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