What If You Emailed Your List Every Day? (A Different Look At Email Frequency)
If somebody recommended to you that you email you list every day, what would you say? If you’re like most, you would say they’re insane. Is that true?
If somebody recommended to you that you email you list every day, what would you say?
If you’re like most, you would say they’re insane. You would imagine your email subscribers running for the exits, unsubscribes shooting through the roof and people just complaining like crazy.
Or, if you get past that fear, you may be faced with the inevitable thought of… “What do you say to them that often?”
Trust me, I know. I said the same thing.
Yet, over my years in this business and talking with other online marketers, there were a few cases I saw where they did indeed email their list every single day. In some cases, it was every weekday. In others, it was literally 7 days a week. Interestingly, too, the expectation that people were running for the unsubscribe button just didn’t seem to match reality.
One local friend of mine works in the men’s fashion niche. His name is Ryan Magin. If you were to look at his sites, you would think he is barely doing anything. So, I’ll just point you to his Youtube channel where he is doing quite well. Ryan has moved pretty much all of his audience activity to his daily email and a Facebook group. Last I looked, he didn’t really have much of a blog to speak of. Yet, his community is engaged, he’s killing it on Youtube and his business is growing quite steadily.
In the scope of the online marketing arena that I’m in, I’ve noticed that Ryan Lee has been doing an email per day for quite some time. In fact, he even has a little training program on how to do it. The one activity he does every day (usually from a coffee shop) is to sit down and write an email every morning.
More recently, I’ve been reading Justin Brooke‘s daily email called The Daily Edge. Very well written email about traffic.
And most recently, I’ve been watching Jason Van Orden, from Internet Business Mastery, get into the groove of daily emails. Likely not coincidently, I’ve noticed his partner with IBM, Jeremy Frandsen, seems to be doing the same thing.
I’ve been seeing it for awhile. It certainly isn’t widespread. Most people are just scared to do it. But, I clearly remember sitting in my mastermind group over a year ago talking about it and the idea dancing around in my head.
What would happen?
What if you actually emailed your list every day?
What Is “Optimal” Email Frequency?
When I’ve had people ask me how often they should email their list, I usually tell them a minimum of once per week. If anything, the mistake I see from most people is letting their lists go stale because they don’t email often enough.
One thing, however, that I think you shouldn’t do is listen to your subscribers.
Say, what?! Well, let me explain…
If you take out all elements of actual content marketing (like relevancy, entertainment, usefulness, etc.) and only ask people how often they want to receive an email, the answers you’ll get will be pretty infrequent. In fact, back in 2015, MarketingSherpa actually did such a survey, asking people how often they would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with. The result…
The most popular answers there were “at least monthly”, “at least weekly” and “weekly”. Personally, though, I view the results with a grain of salt because it isn’t taking into account WHAT is being emailed. When you say the word “promotional email” to somebody, they’re going to think it is just a pitch-fest. And obviously, nobody wants to get hammered with promotions all the time.
There are, of course, tons of other data points and surveys one could look at on this topic.
Campaign Monitor said it’s data showed that sending every two weeks seems to be a “sweet spot”. Personally, I think that is way too low.
Econsultancy puts the scare into us with a survey from Bluehornet which shows the top reason for unsubscribing is that the emails are too frequent.
Interesting from that same study is that 47.1% (almost half) of those unsubs said they would always or sometimes elect to use a less frequent option rather than unsubscribe completely. Remember that. 🙂
You will find study after study which seems to show the same kind of conclusions. Namely that…
- Subscribers will lose interest and engagement the more often you email them.
- They’re more likely to unsubscribe if you email them too often
- People don’t like to be emailed all that often.
I can point to several people I know personally who are testaments that the data doesn’t always paint the right picture.
Never Too Often. Only Too Boring.
The problem with most of these surveys is that they are looking at email frequency inside of a bubble. They’re not considering WHAT is being emailed.
What kinds of things do people routinely pay attention to every single day? TV shows? News programs? Radio shows? Podcasts?
I mean, there are plenty of examples. Clearly, it isn’t that people don’t want to be communicated to daily…. it is that they want it to be entertaining and useful. If it isn’t boring, people will gladly receive and pay attention to it as often as every day.
Those surveys look at how often people want to get “promotional emails” or “commercial emails”. But, when people hear those phrases, they immediately think sales, pitches, coupons, deadlines, yellow highlighters. Who the hell wants to get emails like that every day?
But, if your emails are useful, enlightening… maybe even entertaining… perhaps really personal like it is coming from a good friend…. then it is a completely different picture!
And when you do it right, then frequency is an important component to the whole thing. In fact, as Jeremy Reeves said on the CrazyEgg blog…
I have zero doubts, zero reserves, zero hesitation that the following statement is absolutely true:
You will make more money if you communicate with your prospects and customers more often.
In all my years of business, working with over a hundred different businesses in 40+ different industries, I have found this to be true 100% of the time.
What he said. 🙂
Now, since I’m really damn new to the whole daily email thing (more on that in a bit), I can’t personally attest to the “more money” part specifically from this new habit. But, I do expect it.
I want to look at it from a different perspective than money, though. And this I can attest to FULLY.
The Relationship Between Your Blog And Your Email List
First, let’s get one thing clear at the outset here…
We are in an attention business here. All communication BEGINS with attention. Without attention, any communication you send out just won’t land. You might as well be talking to a wall.
It isn’t about size of your email list, size of your social media followings, or any of that. It is about ATTENTION. An email list is only potential energy. A large social media following is only potential energy. It isn’t realized until they’re actually paying attention to you.
Why do you think Kim Kardashian makes the big bucks? For her talent and world contributions? 😉 No, it is because people pay attention to her. It is why you have celebrity endorsements. Quite frankly, it is why Trump won the election. He was good at hoarding all the attention.
Now, look at your blog. Your blog, by nature, is a reactive platform. It just sits there and has to wait for people to come visit and read. Hopefully Google sends you some readers, right? But, in and of itself, your blog has ZERO capability of commanding anybody’s attention – even with the best content in the world.
Social media can reach out and command attention, to be sure. However, it is also a pretty noisy place. Lots of distraction. But, social media can be effective.
And then we have your email list. I find that many bloggers don’t really know how best to use their email list.
What do you do? Just email out your latest blog posts?
Well, that’s certainly better than nothing.
But, if you really think about the strengths of each platform, consider these things…
- Your blog has no ability to reach out and get people’s attention. Email does.
- Your blog is really pretty ideally suited to longer, more thorough content.
- Your blog is the platform for reaching NEW people whereas your email is for existing people.
- Your blog is the platform for giving people things to share and to search for on Google. Email… not so much.
- Email on the other hand, is way more personal.
- You can send email frequently and not devalue everything (if done correctly).
So, consider this as a content strategy…
For your blog, treat it as a true content marketing platform, not a daily journal for small updates. In fact, I’m a huge fan of The Redwood Strategy for your blog. Obviously, since I wrote the post about it. 🙂 In other words, post new stuff to the blog less often, but when you do, make it count. And then circle back and update those posts over time to be major authority posts that gets shared, get search placement and more.
Then, as for your email… THAT’S where it is more appropriate to be more frequent, more personal.
In other words, you treat your email list like many people treat their blog. You “blog” to your email subscribers and your actual blog turns into a super-useful library of truly “knock it out of the park” pillar posts.
With this approach, you are using each platform for it’s unique strengths.
The R-P-F Email Formula
People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. That much is basically marketing 101.
What makes people know, like and trust you? Well, it boils down to 3 things:
I believe all 3 things go together.
Relevancy is making the message relevant to the person receiving it. Are they interested? Do they care? Is it something which is applicable to them?
Personal just means, of course, being personal. In other words, being human. Being YOU. Not sounding corporate. Showing personality, letting people into your life.
Those 2 things, together, are super important. And when you have those things working well, then….
Frequency is just being “top of mind” for them by communicating to them often enough.
Even if your marketing is relevant and personal, if you barely ever message them then it still fails to land. They might not remember you. Essentially, it is a way of breaking off communication. And that’s not smart.
Now, if we go back up to those surveys about email frequency, the scene begins to look different.
Obviously, frequency in the absence of relevancy or personality isn’t going to land. And when you use the phrase “commercial email” or “promotional email”, that’s exactly what people have in mind. That’s why those surveys are incomplete.
But, if you can successfully make those emails relevant and personal, then you can ramp up that frequency and people will love you for it. See how that works?
Thinking of Daily Emails? Consider This Approach.
First off, if you have an existing email list, you need to be really careful how you transition to more frequent emails. The last think you want to do is break any agreements you have with them, even if they are unstated.
If you have a long history of sending a weekly newsletter and then suddenly start sending everybody daily emails, they’re going to run for the exits. You haven’t gotten their agreement. You don’t have the relationship built yet. In that case, ramping up frequency is going to piss them off and they’ll react by leaving.
So, what I recommend is a segment of your email list for more frequent emails. Then you give people the choice.
Remember in the survey up top where it said that 47.1% of the people who unsubscribed due to frequency would have instead opted for a less frequent option than to just leave? Well, that’s important. And that’s why you should give people the choice.
Here’s how I do it with my own email list:
- I have a “tag” called “dailies”. When anybody is tagged with “dailies” they will get my daily emails. If they’re not, they’ll only get the usual emails they’re used to (once or twice a week).
- I emailed my entire list and invited them to subscribe to the Daily.
- So as not to make them enter their email address again, I set up a “trigger link” inside of my Drip account so if the subscriber clicks the option to subscribe to the Daily, it will be a one-click deal. It tags them and sends them the confirmation. Done.
- At the bottom of every single Daily email, I have a one-click link that will allow them to opt out of the Daily and go back to the standard email. Obviously, I also include a full unsubscribe link (as required by law), but it is important to give people that option to reduce frequency and be in control without disconnecting completely.
- In my standard emails (not the daily), I will routinely tease what I’m talking about on the Daily and give them the option to subscribe to The Daily (either for the first time or again).
The LAST thing I would want to do is cram emails into somebody’s inbox who doesn’t really want them. I only want to talk daily to people who care.
But, the next natural question will be…
What Do You Say Every Day?
Not gonna lie…
It is HARD to come up with content every day. This is a major reason why most marketers won’t do it. Everybody is trying to automate everything. You can’t automate this. It is needs to be personal and relevant. This isn’t an autoresponder we’re talking about here.
Personally, I’m looking at this like “old school” blogging. I don’t treat the Academy blog like people historically have used blogging. My blog is more about full-length, feature worthy, value-rich content designed to stand the test of time. But, email gives me the ability to “blog” much more frequently, less formally.
I’m still new to it, but since I’ve been at blogging and content creation for many, MANY years now, I’m better at it than most. So, coming up with stuff to talk about isn’t as hard for me as it may be for some others. But, it is still definitely a challenge.
A few things I do:
- I keep an idea file for content ideas for future Dailies. I can update it from anywhere, so whenever an idea strikes me, I can capture it. Real life events make some of the best stories with mottos to them, so I don’t want to forget.
- I can use content from my blog as starters for Dailies. Obviously, not word for word (although I probably could). But, the truth is that most of my email subscribers don’t know about all the stuff I have in the archives. If I reiterate a lesson from the blog in email, it’s basically brand new.
- I keep the emails to-the-point and informal. I don’t try to make it long.
- I fully intend to run series on the Daily, and I will tease that series beforehand and during. Series give predictability both for readers and for me. So, some weeks the Daily will just be whatever I feel like talking about…. other days it will be part of a long series.
But, then there’s the marketing side of the whole thing. Obviously, I have a business to run here. I’m not doing The Daily out of charity. So, here’s what I have in mind:
- Content (both useful and entertaining) will always be the focus of the Daily. It will never become a “pitch fest” email where I drop affiliate links and offers all day. Screw that.
- In the course of the day’s issue, where it becomes appropriate to link to a product of mine, I will do so.
- If I have something relevant and timely going on at The Academy, I will mention it.
- At the bottom of The Daily, I will use that area to do more overt marketing for things at The Academy. But, it will remain secondary to the main body content.
I look at this as true content marketing. Content marketing isn’t about link dropping sales and promotions all the time. It is about effectively communicating, helping them, leading with value, and then the RIGHT people can move forward into becoming a customer when it is right for them.
It is the R-P-F formula all the way.
Join Me On My Venture?
I hope this post gets you thinking about how you use your email list.
Trust me, I’m not trying to convince you to switch to daily. It isn’t right for everybody. This is no “one size fits all” kind of thing. You have to evaluate your situation, your time, your market… and see if it’ll work.
At this early state, as of the time of this writing, the whole thing is an experiment for me. 🙂 But, I’d like to invite you to go along with the ride, if you’re up for it.
What I’ve started is something I’m calling the Academy Daily, or just called The Daily. Join me?
UPDATE: Since this article was written, The Daily has turned into THE EDGE… and is now sent once weekly instead of every day. Daily emails was a great experiment and worked well for quite awhile. But, over time, I decided to dial it back for the sake of lifestyle design. Click here to subscribe to THE EDGE.