Metrics for Effective Email Newsletters

Small business email marketers are often caught between the rock of “frequent emails increase sales” and the hard place of “subscribers opt out when email newsletter frequency is too high.” The rule of thumb in email frequency is that there are no rules. Some major retailers send out their email newsletters as often as every second day, while other industries like to stick to a monthly or bimonthly frequency.

Instead of guessing on when you should send your email newsletters, you’ll be much more effective if you regularly study certain benchmarks that can tell you, definitively, how well your email campaigns are doing. A careful review of these top seven metrics at least on a monthly basis will help you make that consequential determination of the most effective email newsletter frequency.



Short-Term Revenue Increase – There is usually an increase in revenue which accompanies much greater frequencies, but it is a fragile result which often does not translate over the longer term. You do not want to be in the position where you are trading off short term gain for long term pain.

Revenue Per Delivered Email (RPDE) – This metric is critical as you may find that sending high frequencies of email newsletters makes each one considerably more ineffective. Any small business would obviously find it more effective to send 4 emails a month at an RPDE rate of $10 each than 15 emails a month at a rate of $2 each.

Total Cost Per Email Sent – Each email newsletter send you schedule has a certain fixed cost. You have to allot for copywriting, design, supervision, and the per-send cost of your email service provider. If your business is sending out three times as many emails every month as could be considered an optimal frequency, you’re spending triple what you should on these costs.

Subscriber Behavior – Unopened emails do not convert, therefore there is no point in sending them. If your subscribers are becoming inactive it not only creates a problem in your revenue stream but also with Internet Service Providers who monitor open rates as a factor in the formula to determine your online reputation and thus your deliverability rates.

Subscriber Loss – Most email marketers find that there is a threshold where subscribers start to flee under the barrage of too frequent emails. Again, this varies by industry and even individual business.

Spam Complaints – Even though you adhere to CAN-SPAM legislation and industry best practices in prominently including simple unsubscribe links in each email, there are still many subscribers who become irate at your high frequencies and label your emails as spam. These complaints can damage your future deliverability rates.

Hard Bounces – Soft bounces occur when a subscriber’s inbox is too full or due to internet traffic problems and should not be a major concern. Hard bounces, however, represent a severe challenge as any inexistent or blocked email addresses must be immediately deleted from your list and never resent. When email frequency is high, you have a very small window of opportunity to delete those emails before the subsequent send.

Let your subscribers tell you

A review such as this should not be used as a source of panic which leads you to determine that the best frequency for your company is to send out your email newsletter only on each Feb. 29th, but to allow you to make a sober determination of what the most effective email newsletter frequency is for your small business.

A superlative source of information as to how often your subscribers prefer to receive your newsletters is to provide a Change Frequency facility not only in your Preference Center but also in your emails, right next to your Unsubscribe link. Clicking on this selection allows your subscriber to determine their own frequency, which you must then rigorously adhere to.

Fine-tuning your email newsletter frequency is a primary factor in retaining and engaging your subscription base. Getting that factor right can have robust effects on your overall email marketing results, and give you a nice boost in the sales department.

Author : Denise Keller

Denise Keller is a small business marketing expert, blogger, and COO of Benchmark Email, one of the world’s leading, global email marketing services.

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