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How often should you send marketing emails [Answers backed by data]

Reading Time: 7 minutes

One of the most popular questions that we get in conversations with email marketing beginners is about email marketing frequency. They all want to know the same thing—how often should you send your email campaigns?

In fact, the right email marketing frequency can have a big impact on your email campaign success. The best strategy involves finding the right balance between top-of-mind awareness and not becoming too spammy by sending out emails too often.

How often should you send marketing emails

Omnisend data shows that it’s best to send 10–19 emails per month. That means sending three to five emails per week can bring in the best results.

Unfortunately, the real answer for your business isn’t as simple. There isn’t a chart you can consult, and you can’t just come up with a figure based on your subscriber count, either.

While some of the most active brands can get away with sending daily promotional emails, others could lose their subscribers doing the same.

Determine your ideal email frequency based on the unique traits of your business and the strength of your relationship with your audience.

It will be up to you to find the magic number that will enable you to reach out as often as possible without compromising how much value you offer per email.

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How often ecommerce brands send marketing emails: Omnisend data

The Omnisend email marketing platform is focused on small and medium-sized ecommerce businesses.

Out of 75,000+ Omnisend customers, most are new ecommerce merchants selling apparel, accessories, books, and small electronic devices.

They generally start out with a small email marketing database (up to 5,000 subscribers) and send email campaigns about once a month to once a week.

This also goes in line with the fact that the smaller the brand is, the fewer emails they send. At the same time, larger brands send more emails (sometimes even daily):

  • Online stores that have more than 5,000 subscribers send email campaigns two to seven times per month.
  • Online stores that send emails daily or twice weekly usually have 50,000 subscribers or more.

This also makes sense because usually larger senders have more products or produce more content that is worthy to be shared in bulk email campaigns.

How customers react to email marketing frequency

It’s one thing is to send an email campaign once, twice, or four times a month. It’s another thing entirely to have those em

It’s one thing is to send an email campaign once, twice, or four times a month. It’s another thing entirely to have those email campaigns be successful.

So, how do our customers’ subscribers respond to the different emailing frequency?

Fewer emails–fewer orders

Let’s look at the chart below. At first glance, it seems like the more often you send emails, the less willing your subscribers are to engage with them.

However, is this really the case?

Let’s assume that you have 1,000 subscribers and send them a newsletter once a month.

Your subscribers are engaged with your brand and the subject line is good, so your open rate is 28% and click rate is 7%. This means that 280 subscribers open your email each month and 70 click somewhere.

The average order count for monthly newsletters is 1.64, so you end up with about 2 purchases for the month.

Now, if those same subscribers get your emails four times a month, the average order count per campaign goes up to 4.79. Each time you send a campaign, you get about five orders.

If you multiply that by the four campaigns you send a month, that means that at the end of the month you get about 20 orders in total.

So while the open rate does go down as the email frequency increases, you can still expect purchase rates to increase.

Finding the sweet spot

This is even more dramatic when we only focus on those campaigns that have at least one order per month, as in the chart below:

Looking at both charts for the average order count per campaign, we can see that customers positively react to emails sent up to 19 times a month.

While the open and click rates drop dramatically as the email frequency increases, the average order count per campaign goes up steadily (up to 19 emails per month or 3-5 emails per week).

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Timing your marketing emails: Risks and opportunities

This article will probably inspire you to change how often you send out your email marketing campaigns, which is good. But before changing your email frequency, take these risks and opportunities into consideration.

What happens if you send emails too infrequently

  1. No matter how cautious you are with your emails, by sending too few promotional emails you miss the opportunity to sell more. This is a fact.
  2. The more promotional emails you send, the more visible your brand is. Even if customers do not open your email, it helps to stay at the top of their mind.
  3. Rarely sending emails may put your reputation at risk. Consistency and frequency are important in building your online reputation.
  4. Your subscribers will forget about you if you do not engage with them for a while.

What happens if you send emails too often

  1. Content cannot suffer just by sending frequency. Make sure your emails continue providing value to subscribers. People unsubscribe if you keep sending the same offers.

    Worse, they will report your campaign as spam, which will affect your sender’s reputation. The more spam complaints you receive, the higher chances are that your future emails will start landing in the spam folder more often, therefore your overall sales performance might drop.
  2. For more frequent communication, you need content, and generating quality content is very time-consuming.
  3. Engagement with every single campaign will drop. Customers will start to skip your campaigns and open them less.

    Email campaigns with lower engagement are at risk of being automatically marked as spam by inbox providers. So this game is always a bit of a gamble.
  4. If you send too many emails, customers will unsubscribe from your newsletter. After they opt-out, you lose permission to market them via email.

Check out this Omnisend academy video for more great tips about when and how often you should send your marketing emails:

How to find the right email marketing frequency

How you space out your emails throughout a campaign is what marketers typically call your email cadence. Since the right cadence varies between businesses, you’ll need to find your own answer.

Here are some things you can do to determine how often to send marketing emails:

Let your subscribers choose

Allow subscribers to decide on email frequency according to their preferences. You can do this as part of your opt-in form, so you can segment your customers accordingly.

You could also add a link to edit email preferences at the footer of every message.

Depending on the types of content you provide, you can ask them to choose between multiple times per week, once a week, bi-weekly, or monthly. 

Giving your customers more control over how they receive communications from you makes every email more welcome and, consequently, improves click-through rates.

Additionally, it helps you lower your unsubscribe rate, which is one of the many critical metrics that determine the success of your campaigns. 

Check out these great examples from Omnisend customers for a beautiful yet functional email footer:

an example of a beautiful yet functional email footer

A/B test by splitting your subscribers into two groups

Segment your subscribers into two groups and let the first A/B test control group receive the same frequency of emails as you send currently. Start to experiment with the second group—try sending emails twice as often compared to the first group and see what happens.

Bear in mind that for noticeable results, you may need a month or even two. It depends on your current frequency.

email A/B testing

To determine your best frequency, you need to monitor the engagement and performance of the two subscriber groups separately. Then, compare the results over the period—open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribes, and conversions.

For the best campaign performance, conduct this type of systematic testing for every subscriber segment you have.

Keeping your subscriber list clean

It might not seem relevant, but email list hygiene is one of the most important email marketing best practices. It is absolutely critical to the success of your campaigns.

This is especially true if you’re about to increase your send frequency.

Subscribers become stale for many reasons. Inboxes could be too full and addresses could be inactive. Additionally, recipients that are no longer interested might mark your messages as spam rather than unsubscribe from your newsletter.

Flow chart in Omnisend showing email sunsetting frequency
We recommend sunsetting subscribers who don't engage for more than 120 days

The more frequently you send emails to stale subscribers, the more you compromise your sender reputation and affect your deliverability.

Keeping your email list clean also improves your campaign performance rates. Don’t worry about losing subscribers—the level of interest of each individual subscriber is much more valuable than the total count.

By keeping recipients limited to those who are actually interested, you get better campaign results overall.

Among the most effective yet low-effort ways to maintain good email hygiene is to set up automation workflows to reactivate inactive customers.

This gives you an opportunity to engage idle subscribers and hopefully encourage them to reconfirm their interest. If a recipient is still inactive after several attempts to re-engage, you’re better off without them.

How often should you send marketing emails: Wrap up

Getting cadence right is critical to the success of your entire email marketing strategy.

On one hand, you need to keep your audience engaged and aim for top-of-mind awareness for your brand. However, sending too frequently can backfire and increase your unsubscribe rate. 

Data shows that 10 to 19 emails per month are the most ideal send frequency for small businesses engaged in ecommerce.

That’s a good place to start, but you should still determine the best cadence based on your subscribers' preferences and expectations. 

By enabling your audience to declare their preferred frequency as well as conducting systematic A/B testing, you’ll get the most accurate information on how often to send marketing emails.

Once you’ve determined the frequency that works best for your audience, you should also consider recent data on the best time to send emails for optimum campaign performance and better sales revenue.

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Bernard Meyer
Article by
Bernard Meyer

Bernard is the Sr. Director of Communications & Creative at Omnisend, with a passion for good research, helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing automation needs, and beating absolutely everyone in Mario Kart 64.

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