Having good content in our newsletters these days is nowhere near enough to deliver a successful message. With a constant bombardment of sales speak, witty punchlines and useless information, crafting a well-received newsletter has become a science on its own. Luckily, we’ve put together a few guidelines for improving your email marketing strategy that could save you time, resources and keep your subscribers happy.

Plan delivery frequency

“How often would I want to receive emails from Company X before I lose interest?” is a question we don’t ask ourselves often enough. If we are blasted with newsletters too often, spam alarms start to ring and we bolt for the exits. The same principal applies to our audiences. Planning the frequency at which we deliver our email marketing campaigns is immensely important to maintaining a healthy subscriber pool;  not to mention, these spam bells attribute to a disengaged audience – which further lead to higher unsubscribe rates, lower open rates; and even lower click-through rates.

Furthermore, the frequency at which people are willing to receive our emails, is directly linked to how much value our newsletters create. For example: Brands offering huge incentives or “special offers” can get away with a more frequent delivery schedule than brands offering arbitrary information or updates (with the exception of news curators). As a result, our delivery schedules should be based on the value we create for our audience. The more value we create, the more frequently they’ll allow us to send them emails without becoming too indifferent.

It is recommended that high value newsletters or brands with larger opt-in subscribers make use of a daily or weekly schedule. Lower value newsletters – those who offer company, blog or industry updates – can get away with offering a weekly newsletter, depending on how engaging the content is, However, a monthly or bi-monthly approach would be better suited.

Selecting a date & time

As incalculably important as planning our delivery frequency is, so too is the careful selection of a date and time of delivery. Depending on whether our audiences are office bound, hobbyists, or in the field, the delivery times would greatly differ. For instance:

  • For the corporate world, our emails would be better suited to a Tuesday or a Thursday, either before lunch hour (11 am) or just before the end of the business day (3 pm). This is because we’d prefer to avoid weekends (including Fridays) – when our audiences switch off from the outside world. We’d also prefer to avoid Mondays, when their inboxes are snowed under with emails from the weekend – or worse still – Wednesdays, when productivity is at its peak.
  • People who are hobbyists or in the field, have busy schedules all day long and are hardly ever inclined to interact with their inboxes on weekday evenings. As such, it would be most apt for us to communicate with these people over weekends – when they make or have time to check their ‘non-work’ related emails.
Consider the recipient’s location

What we also need to consider – if we target audiences outside of our current geographic location – is when they will receive our emails. It’s all good and well to send out an email on a Tuesday at 11 am. However, if the person receiving it is in a different time zone, it appears to be much less appealing if their sleep schedule is interrupted at 3 am,  by us  trying to market a fantastic new product that they’ll absolutely love. They won’t. As a matter of fact, they would most likely unsubscribe faster than we can say, “for only R9.99…”. Luckily though, most email marketing service providers – like MailChimp – offer features that would send out our emails automatically, at a time relative to the country the recipient is in. That means all of our subscribers receive their emails at 11 am in their own time zone.

Test, Test & Test Some More

Furthermore, while the above mentioned guidelines are just that: guidelines. Each industry could have an entirely different set of rules. Therefore, it would be in the best interest of our businesses to try something new, see if it works, keep an eye on the numbers and then, make minor adjustments. Consider what is known as “A/B testing”, to send a message to one half of your list at time X and then to the other half at time Y – setting the most preferred time to whichever half performs better.

In conclusion, knowing your audience and what their routines are would almost always help you understand which time and day they’re most available for interaction. Testing different theories about those times, however, is where we dial in on the sweet spot and gain access to a greater number of our subscribers. Finally, observing the results of those tests and tweaking our campaigns based on those results, are how we optimize our newsletters for the greatest impact and ultimately, how we send better email.

PS: If you like this article, consider sharing it with your friends who might see the value in it, by hitting the share icon at the top of the page. If you have any thoughts about how people in your industry might further improve their email skills, consider leaving a comment below, and we’ll gladly share it with the world.

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