Here are some tips for preparing and sending out an email newsletter.
1. Identify what frequency rates you want to test.
To begin with, identify the various possible frequency rates you want to test. For instance, if you have a hunch that four emails per month is the ideal frequency for your audience, you could pick three different frequency rates like three, four and five times per month to test. You should ideally be testing three or four different frequencies.
2. Segregate email lists.
The next step is to create an equal number of email segments to test against. Ideally, you should have at least 500 subscribers in each group. But if you have a smaller audience, ensure that no segment goes below the 300 mark. If your list of subscribers is smaller, then it probably is not the right time to test frequencies. You should be working on increasing your subscribers first.
3. Set up email newsletter with different frequencies.
Once you have your test frequencies and their corresponding segments ready, it is time to set up the email newsletter for each of this segment. One important point to note: ensure the subject lines, content, send-out time and other variables are all consistent across the various segments. This is very important since the engagement rate is impacted by all these factors. The only variable that should be different is the email frequency.
4. Measure results.
Once a batch of 10 to 20 emails have been sent out across all the different segments, measure the results. Personally, I ignore the open rates and only test the click-through rate and opt-outs. In my opinion, these two metrics are the most defining aspects of email marketing. Rank the segments in the order of engagement.
5. Pick the best or retest
Now you have the ideal email frequency for your newsletter. You may either choose to go with this or continue your test by replacing the worst performing segment with a new test segment. Continue these tests till you find the email frequency that is the most popular among your audience.
Email frequency is an extremely vital piece in the newsletter puzzle – send too often and you are likely to annoy recipients and will have a high unsubscribe rate; send too infrequently and you may lose touch with the subscribers and potential revenue. The only way to survive is to keep testing until you arrive at the sweet spot that is unique for your business and audience.