Sending too many emails might annoy your subscribers. But sending too few might be a missed opportunity. What’s the best email cadence to generate the highest engagement?
Conventional wisdom usually tells us that less is more, but common sense isn’t always the way to go in the wacky world of email marketing. In fact, sending emails less than once per month can cause email deliverability issues.
People are less likely to remember you and might unsubscribe. And, some of those email addresses will no longer be valid resulting in hard bounces and possible spam traps. On the flip side, it seems a bit much to send an email every day.
To get to the bottom of this million-dollar question, we analyzed our data to figure out the optimal email cadence. Drum roll, please. The best email marketing frequency that generates the most engagement is…it depends.
It depends on your subscribers and what you have to offer.
Sorry, we were hoping for a neat and tidy answer too. But the good news is that we have the email marketing data and we’ll help you use it coupled with best practices to determine what the best email cadence is for you.
Email cadence takes into account more than the number of emails you send in a certain period of time (frequency) and also includes the type of emails and the best time to send your emails.
For example, an online educational business might send emails to their students multiple times per week but send their promotional newsletters once per month.
Every business has a unique set of subscribers and might offer a variety of newsletters. Your email cadence takes into account these factors to determine the email marketing frequency that works best for you.
How do you find your sweet spot? Let’s start by looking at our data and then we’ll get into some ways you can optimize your email cadence.
Our data analysis did not magically reveal the perfect email marketing frequency, but we did learn a few important things that will help you including:
In the chart below, we looked at all MailerLite accounts and broke out the percentage of accounts for each mailing frequency.
The interesting takeaway in this chart is that while there is a very small percentage that sends emails every day, 19.22% of total accounts send multiple emails per week.
In general, emails sent multiple times per week have less opens than emails sent monthly. This data set also tells us that the best open rates are not tied exclusively to email cadence.
Surprisingly, the click-through rate was higher for emails sent more frequently. One theory is that the types of emails sent multiple times per week tend to deliver timely news or offers that must be clicked immediately.
Let’s take a look at email frequency by industry. We analyzed the rate at which our customers send email campaigns to their subscribers. This chart below shows the median number of days between emails for different industries.
This will give you a better idea of what your email sending benchmark should look like, but it’s not going to be exact. Each business within a particular industry is unique and will provide different services that affect frequency.
|Industry||Number of days between emails (median)|
|Agriculture and food services||10.64|
|Arts and artists||14.15|
|Beauty and personal care||11.39|
|Business and finance||8.5|
|Education and training||9.34|
|Entertainment and events||11.53|
|Health and fitness||9.5|
|Home and garden||9.03|
|Marketing and advertising||8.67|
|Media and publishing||11.74|
|Software and web apps||12.03|
|Travel and transportation||10.75|
The best way to develop your own email cadence is to monitor your performance metrics and industry benchmarks while experimenting with different sending frequencies. When your opens or clicks start to slow, it’s time to pull back.
You can also conduct your own A/B testing by sending to half your list at one time and the other half at another time and compare results.
In addition to the frequency of emails, it’s important to consider how much content or special offers you plan to share. You don’t want to send emails that don’t deliver value. In email marketing, there’s a point of diminishing returns where the time and resources of creating and sending emails start to have less and less return on investment.
The goal of these 5 email cadence best practices is to give you the tools and tricks to figure out your optimal email cadence. A good starting point is to understand your email marketing goals and the metrics that matter to you. Then through experimentation and testing, you’ll narrow down which sending frequencies work best with your different types of emails.
When we talk about email cadence, we have to take into consideration the type of emails you send. This starts with your goals. What are you trying to accomplish with your email marketing campaign?
If your goal is to provide information that is needed on a daily basis, then you need to send emails every day. But here’s the catch. People will only tolerate daily emails if they bring value every time. If you start seeing an increase in your unsubscribe rate or a drop in your email open rate, you’ll know something is not working.
Want to learn how to create email marketing content that your readers will love?
If you know your customers’ buying behaviors, you can map your email cadence to align with their customer journey. This works especially well when you use email automation workflows to deliver emails based on a subscriber’s action.
For example, when a subscriber reads a blog post on a certain topic, you can automatically send them a related follow-up email at the perfect time. Instead of guessing your email frequency, automation allows you to let the subscriber dictate the best timing for their emails. Here are some examples of automation workflows to get you started.
You can also combine email segmentation with automation to create different groups within your email list based on their behaviors. When a subscriber engages with certain content, they can be put in a group that focuses on that interest.
Speaking of automation, do you have an automated welcome email? When you create a welcome email for new subscribers, it’s the perfect opportunity to set clear expectations about the frequency of your newsletter.
If you plan to offer email frequency options, you can add a link that allows subscribers to choose their preference. This level of personalization will empower them to feel in control. Check out this welcome email example from No-Code Coffee.
Traditionally, email marketing segmentation is used to send targeted emails to smaller groups of subscribers. This boosts engagement because your emails can be tailored for each specific audience.
You can also create segments based on your subscribers’ preferred email frequency like in the No-Code Coffee email example above. When you empower your readers with options, you no longer have to guess about email cadence.
In MailerLite, you can also use the custom unsubscribe builder to give people options before they unsubscribe.
If you don’t offer different sending options where subscribers can select their preferences, another way you can involve them is to use embedded email surveys.
You can easily include a quick survey in your newsletter and ask people if they like the current frequency or if they prefer receiving emails for more or less frequently.
Who else to better advise you on how often to send out emails than the people reading them? Once your survey results are in, you can use them to segment your list according to the frequency with which they want to receive your emails.
Why are readers leaving? You can use unsubscribe surveys to find out. One of the survey options is The emails are too frequent. If this reason keeps coming up, you’ll know that you need to change your email frequency.
The one-size-fits-all email cadence doesn’t exist, but you can find what works best for you and run with it. The truth is that the success of your email marketing strategy can rarely be distilled to 1 aspect like sending frequency or subject line. Better open rates and more clicks come when the right email elements align to meet your subscriber’s needs.
If subscribers need you every week, then you’ll want to send them emails every week. If they need you less often, then find what works best.
I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!