Email Marketing: Should You Send Weekly Messages?

Dear Copy Bitch: We’ve been doing an every-other-month email newsletter campaign for over a year, but one of my competitors (I’m an executive coach) does a quick-hitting weekly email with a quote/source of inspiration. I’m thinking I should do something like that starting in January. Our list is around 150, and we have, on average, a 50 percent open rate. Your thoughts?

—BH, Rhode Island

Answer: Be very careful about going from an every-other-month email newsletter to a weekly email campaign. Remember, the people who are on your mailing list signed up for a bi-monthly newsletter. In fact, I’m hesitant about weekly email campaigns in general because they tend to cause list fatigue. The types of businesses that can “get away with it” are retailers, and even they have a high number of opt-outs and abuse complaints.

You have a small list, but it sounds like a loyal list (the fact that half the list regularly opens your email indicates that). I’ve seen weekly emails like the one you’re referencing. To me, most tend to be short on substance (inspirational quotes can be, well, inspiring, but is the point for me to remember the person who said the quote or the person/company–in this case, the exec coach–who sent me the quote? It’s a fine line).

If you’re concerned you’re not in front of your newsletter subscribers enough, consider going to a monthly schedule. Or better yet, ask your audience what it wants (i.e., survey the people on your mailing list). Your marketing should respond to your customers’ needs first, not in reaction to what your competitors are doing.

2 replies
  1. Susan Weiner
    Susan Weiner says:

    What about offering a weekly email in addition to emails at the old frequency? I’m thinking about offering my readers the option to sign up for a weekly tip culled from my backlog. The idea would be to accommodate people who can’t digest big chunks at once.

  2. robynbradley
    robynbradley says:

    I think the key is what you say in your second line: “…offering my readers the option…” If you ask permission, and they say “yes,” great. (But I still think weekly emails need to have something of really high value in order to be effective.)

    Thanks for your insight. Would love to hear how my other readers feel.


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