Email: How often is too often?

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Justin Gray, LeadMD
Justin Gray, LeadMD

Email marketing is something that has become a “need to do” for most companies and technology platforms have made it incredibly easy to get an email marketing program underway. Now that true ease-of-use has arrived—and you can churn out custom emails to potentially thousands of people at once quickly—the urge to over-communicate creeps up.

Before giving in, stop your trigger finger and apply a little strategy. Here are three infallible tips for setting up your ideal email schedule.

1. Create guidelines with buyer personas. If you have significant preference data at the point of lead acquisition, setting a schedule can be simple. If that sounds like a bunch of jargon to you, you'll first need to establish buyer personas. These will give you a clear picture of who your audience is, their lead scores, and how they're moving through the nurture track. Then, personalize your schedule to fit the different personas for optimal results.

If this still sounds overwhelming, a good blanket rule of thumb is to never send more than two emails a month to leads who have not subscribed to receive content frequently, and try not to let more than two months go by without sending one email.

2. Consider their perspective. After you've determined your buyer personas and defined a loose schedule, think about how your leads will perceive your brand through email. If your target audience is hungry for education, you may consider bumping up your emails to once a week. But if your leads don't want to be bothered unless absolutely necessary, you'll want to space your emails further apart.

Luckily, you can determine all of this from the information the buyers give you free of charge—their behavior. So pay attention. And remember that your leads are different, so you'll likely need to embrace two or three different email schedules too.

3. Deliver…then decide. Once your schedule is set, stick to it—at least initially—to establish a baseline. Then, routinely check in with your analytics to see how that schedule is faring. Are you getting record-high "unsubscribe" rates? Cut back and examine the messaging. Are your leads disappearing quickly? Kick the emails up a notch by increasing early educational value.

Just don't set the schedule(s), and think you're done. Consistently checking in (with analytics, your sales team, etc.) will keep you accountable and let you know what's working with your schedule and what isn't.

Email campaigns are a powerful piece of the marketing automation puzzle, but they can often make or break the buyer/brand relationship and consequently must be handled with care. Stick to these three tips like glue, and you'll be on your way to making the most of this potent tool.

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