Best practices for sending frequency and cadence

Frequency and cadence are two important elements to keep in mind when you are creating a sending strategy. Frequency refers to how often you email your subscribers, and cadence is the rhythm or pattern of those emails. There are subtleties to defining cadence, which include total emails, the time between messages, audience, content, and more.

Finding the right frequency

While over-communicating can sometimes be a good thing, in email marketing it can often hurt your results. When you send your subscribers the same offers day after day, they can easily tune out your emails when they are scanning their inbox for something new and interesting.

Your subscribers’ inboxes are becoming more and more cluttered, so standing out from the crowd is essential. It is easy for them to ignore what has become repetitive or expected. Frequency and, even more so, cadence play a key role in capturing and retaining your subscribers’ attention.

Finding the right cadence

Cadence isn't just about finding that sweet spot that maximizes conversions, it's about developing a relationship with your subscribers that is built on trust and meaningful interactions. What better way to find out what a subscriber needs than to just ask? A preference center is a great place to collect information about the type of email, frequency and other are key points of collection to information vital to your sending strategy.

Best practices

  • Utilize a robust Preference Center that allows subscribers to tell you exactly which emails they want and when they want to receive them.
  • Give subscribers the choice to opt-down, or reduce the frequency of email they receive, instead of just opting-out.
  • Collect data throughout the subscriber lifecycle to leverage for future segmentation. Based on how individuals interact with messages, senders can dynamically customize mailstream frequencies that are more personalized and relevant based on subscriber engagement.
  • Test, test, test! The right frequency or cadence for one segment may be dramatically different for another. Over time, these segments may also change and will need to be adjusted. It is critical to actively monitor and test to ensure what was working, still is.
  • Answering the following questions will help you create mailing patterns that are appropriate and logical for each segment:
    • Who are you targeting?
    • Based on engagement metrics and Preference Center selections, when does your audience want you to communicate with them?
    • What content will your audience be most compelled to open and act on?
    • How do you define, and engage, active subscribers?
    • How do you define, and attempt to re-engage, inactive subscribers?
    • How will certain calls-to-action drive conversions?

You need to use the data you have to determine how often to email your subscribers. Deliverability data in Inbox Monitor is helpful to see how inbox placement is affected when your frequency is high. The Return Path Frequency Finder app can show you specific opportunities to tune your sending frequency to gradually improve your email program results. Frequency Finder segments subscribers into groups based on how they interact with all their email, then displays your sending frequency to each segment and how each segment contributes to your overall email program performance.

Impact of sending too much or changing frequency

Avoid sending too much email as well as too little email. If subscribers do not remember signing up for your email program, they may complain or unsubscribe.

To strike a good balance for email volume and frequency:

  • Be up front with subscribers during the sign-up process, on the welcome page, and in the preference center about how often they can expect to receive email.
  • Through a preference center, let subscribers customize the types of email they receive and how often they get it.
  • Test to see how much, or how little, subscriber segments like to receive email, find a good balance, and stick to it.
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