Win the Inbox: How Often Should I Email my List?


Finding and changing your ideal email marketing cadence.

Nobody wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of. I suspect we’ve all experienced giving out an email address, then getting multiple emails a day and feeling totally bombarded.

On the other hand, sometimes we join a list and hear nothing for ages. What’s up with that?

As email marketers, we don’t want to abuse the permission privilege and start triggering unsubscribes and complaints. We don’t want to damage our reputations.

We do want to inform, educate, convince, market and sell. How do we find that goldilocks setting, where we’re not emailing too much, we’re not emailing too little, but we’re getting it just right?

That makes mailing cadence the topic of this episode of “Win the Inbox” where I, your host, Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider, answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.

Often when I’m asked “am I mailing too much?” it’s from someone who wants to email more often, but is coming from a place of fear. They’re worried about upsetting existing list members and getting a bunch of unsubscribes.

The key to managing any email marketing campaign is to ensure that your emails are timely, actionable and relevant. If you hew to that mantra, increasing email frequency won’t cause the worst of the problems you’re afraid of.

Moreover, only existing subscribers will have this issue. New ones won’t – for them it’s just way it is. The concern ages out.

Whatever frequency you use, I always recommend making other options available. If you have a daily newsletter, offer a weekly alternative. That way you keep anyone who feels overwhelmed by a daily update as a subscriber – they just switch to the weekly list.

The trick is managing expectations. If you’re switching it up, combine an expectation reset with an off-ramp. For example: “This list will switch to a brief daily summary starting on the first; if you want to stay on the weekly schedule <click here>”).

How often should you be mailing?

I always advise mailing at least weekly. Mailing less often risks people forgetting that they signed up, or they lose interest. The list gets stale, and your unsubscribe rates skyrocket.

Once you have a cadence established, it’s important that you stick to it. Low subscriber churn derives from your being predictable and routine.

No matter what, a large and persistent change in unsubscribe rates is a sign that your cadence or content focus has drifted away from your goldilocks setting, and it’s time to fix it.

I have one exception to the predictability rule: Event-based email marketing. If you have a deadline, mail early and often about it. Maybe send exactly one email more than you’re entirely comfortable with. People are lazy, and if you let them procrastinate, they will. Don’t let them!

These are the goldilocks takeaways: Mail at least weekly. Be predictable, timely, actionable and relevant. Set expectations clearly, offer alternatives, and be diligent about deadlines.

Do these things, and you’ve got an email marketing program with a terrific foundation for success.

Please like, share and subscribe. There’s more at, where you can also ask me a question you’d like addressed in a future episode. I’m Phil Hollows, and I’ll see you next time.

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