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Blog Post | Jun 07, 2022

Email Cadence: Finding the Right Rhythm

Email cadence is more than just how many emails you send a prospect or customer: it's your campaign's rhythm. Unfortunately, there's no "one size fits all" solution to how frequently you should send promotional emails, but there are best practices that can help your campaigns reach more of the right customers at the right time.

Topics: Email Marketing

As an integrated marketer, you appreciate that there's a lot that goes into a successful email campaign: well-designed and thoughtfully written emails, good list hygiene and a worthwhile offer. Yet there's one more element that has a significant impact on open and click-through rates, engagement and, ultimately, sales: the cadence of your emails. By cadence, we mean the order emails are sent in and how frequently. It's basically the rhythm of your email campaign, and it can be tricky to get right. Too few emails and customers may not get the full benefit of all your messages. Too many messages too often and you get annoyed customers who unsubscribe or report your emails as spam.

Unfortunately, there's no "one size fits all" guidance around how many emails it takes to win over a customer. Looking at data aggregated from billions of emails tells a confusing and almost counter-intuitive story. One company crunched the numbers and found that sending emails every day decreased open and click-through rates and increased unsubscribes but produced more sales. Confusing! But don't get discouraged. Here are a few common-sense practices to guide you.

When planning your campaign, the optimum frequency and number of emails will be influenced by:

Your industry. A B2B nurture or “drip” campaign will be paced much differently than email marketing for a consumer technology product or apparel. For the former, the experts recommend that marketers email no more frequently than once a week or about five times per month. In contrast, a company promoting consumer packaged goods can send emails a few times a week or even every day.

The stage of the lifecycle your customer is in. Wooing a prospective customer will require more emails sent more frequently, compared to simply maintaining an existing relationship.

What you're trying to achieve. Sure, ultimately, you want your campaign to produce a sale, but what are the interim steps before that? The cadence will be very different depending on your business. Suppose your interim step is getting a meeting with an important decision-maker. In that case, the cadence will be different (i.e., fewer emails, spaced out less often) than if you're trying to get your audience to download an ebook or come to a store for a free sample.

Even though data is only part of the story, it may still be helpful to study industry averages and, of course, your own analytics. Over time, patterns will emerge and you'll find the right rhythm.

When you send email matters too
Fortunately, the data tells a clear story about when your emails should go out. Emails sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to have better open and click-through rates. As far as the most effective times of day, emails sent at 10 a.m. outperformed those sent at other times of the day, which makes sense: people are starting their work days and finding their own rhythms. However, emails sent from 8 p.m. to midnight also perform well since that's when many are winding down their days and checking email one more time before bed.

Let your audience tell you what they want
Unsurprisingly, different customers expect different things, including how often they want to hear from you. Put them in control and let them tell you what they want and how often they want it. At the bottom of every email, include an unsubscribe option as well as the choice to manage email subscription preferences. Let them tell you if they want to hear from you daily, once a week, once every two weeks, or just once a month. Provide the option to tailor their subscription to include the emails that interest them (e.g., if they want to only hear about new products, special offers or events). Then take this data and use it to further refine your segmentation efforts.

Finally, if your customers or prospects tell you they want fewer emails from you, make those emails great. Don't try to cram three emails' worth of content into a single drop: instead, personalize the emails and make sure they're built around valuable, useful content.

We can help you create winning email campaigns
Even for seasoned integrated marketers, email campaigns can be a challenge. If you don't see the ROI you expect and can't quite pinpoint what you could be doing better, let's talk. We've helped create successful campaigns for clients in almost every imaginable industry—
education, retail, fast-casual dining and manufacturing to name just a few. Whether you want to fine-tune your cadence or you’re looking for a complete “plug-and-play” email campaign, we're ready to help!