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Optimizing Email Frequency: Strategies for Maximum Engagement and Revenue

Email marketing
October 6, 2023
11 min

How often to send marketing emails? How many marketing emails to send per week? What are email frequency best practices? These are the questions that marketing managers ask often. 

Let's consider two cases: a 45% increase in revenue for an insurance company solely because it started sending emails more frequently, and a 30% decrease in profit for an online household appliance store due to reducing the frequency of email campaigns to once a week.

What does this tell us? Every brand, company, offer, and audience is different, so the optimal email campaign frequency will vary for each business. How can you determine the optimal email frequency? What is more effective: increasing the frequency of emails to boost revenue or, conversely, reducing the number of emails?

For a long-term successful retention strategy and increased profit, it's essential not only to carefully balance between too few and too many email campaigns but also to precisely assess their relevance.

Frequency and Relevance of Email Campaigns 

According to a survey by Databox, 33.3% of marketers send emails weekly, 26.7% send them monthly, and 13.3% do it daily. Additionally, 63.3% of respondents mentioned that they reduce the frequency of emails for individuals who show no interest in them.

So, perhaps it's not just about sending more emails but sending more relevant ones?

We recommend taking a comprehensive approach. Frequency and relevance can work together. By increasing the relevance of your email campaigns, you can increase the frequency without negative consequences such as unsubscribes and irritation. The result is a steady customer engagement, even when sending them significantly more content.

What is needed to increase not only the frequency of email campaigns but also the frequency of their openings? An effective strategy includes:

  • Segmentation
  • Personalization
  • Automated content based on user behavior, such as viewed/purchased items or abandoned carts
  • Sending targeted trigger emails at the right moment

However, it sometimes happens that even if you increase the number of relevant emails, people still don't open every email. What does this mean? There can be various reasons for this: they have less time, they are not particularly interested in that specific product or promotion, and so on.

How Many Email Campaigns to Start with if You Haven’t Done Them Before?  

Svitlana Fursa suggests that you can start small on any project. At the beginning, one or two email campaigns per week are sufficient. As you add new types of campaigns, it becomes clear that sending them to your entire subscriber base risks unsubscribes and complaints. This is where segmentation comes into play.

“For example, let's say you need to send two campaigns in a day: a general promotion and a discount on alcohol. You send the general promotion to all active subscribers, while the alcohol promotion goes to those who have viewed or purchased alcohol in the last two months. We use eSputnik tracking, which stores data for 8 weeks. With information on who viewed what, we can segment any audience: those who viewed children's products, cosmetics, food, or purchased something from these categories within a specific period. Additionally, surveys can be used for segmentation. So, what is needed to send only the most effective and targeted offers to your audience? To move towards building high-converting email campaigns, you need to start with segmenting your audience”.

Svitlana Fursa, Head of Retention Marketing at Promodo

Segment Your Audience Based on Engagement Level 

Segmentation is always about dialogue. You probably wouldn't continue talking to someone who isn't listening. So, what's the point of sending emails to those who don't need them?

“Most often, emails are sent to active customers—those who have opened an email at least once in the past 3-6 months, depending on the size of your subscriber base”.

Svitlana Fursa, Head of Retention Marketing at Promodo

For instance, you send one email per day and achieve an average Open Rate of 10%. Typically, this figure may not be considered high, but if different people are consistently opening the emails, such an Open Rate can be quite acceptable.

“However, the "once a day" scenario doesn't work for everyone. Never rely on intuition when planning email campaigns. You need precise data”.

Svitlana Fursa, Head of Retention Marketing at Promodo

For example, initially, a company sent three to four emails per month but then decided to reduce the frequency to once a month, thinking that subscribers might get fatigued. Due to a series of wrong decisions, the company lost about 15% of its audience. Only after segmentation and A/B testing did it become clear that their subscribers preferred more frequent engagement. Therefore, the email frequency was adjusted.

In every business and industry, there's a "golden mean" that ensures maximum engagement with an optimal email frequency. How can you achieve this "golden mean" for your business?

“It's a mistake to think that one frequency fits all for a particular business niche, say twice a week for everyone. In practice, it depends on the audience. For example, for one of Ukraine's largest online platforms, we send about 30 emails in a month, but they are not sent to the entire base—they are sent to various segments with a specific frequency”.

Svitlana Fursa, Head of Retention Marketing at Promodo

According to Natalia Kovalenko, Team Lead of Email Marketing at Promodo, you should avoid sending emails two days in a row and on weekends. 

“If they are promotional or content-related emails, then a maximum of 2-3 emails per week is ideal. The key is not to send emails two days in a row, as this can overwhelm customers. During sending, we always exclude those who received emails the day before. As practice and A/B testing show, weekends and Mondays are not the best days for mass email campaigns. Customers tend to read their emails less during weekends. On Mondays, they often clean their inbox, keeping mainly work-related and important emails while deleting promotions. However, for the B2B segment, Monday might be the best day for important emails. Test the best days and frequency specifically for your business”.

Natalia Kovalenko, Team Lead of the Email Marketing Department at Promodo

The effectiveness of email campaigns is assessed based on Open Rate, Click Rate, conversion, and revenue. The primary indicators are Open Rate and Click Rate. If OR is dropping, it's likely due to choosing a very high email frequency or there was a mistake in the content or subject line.

Does Less Frequent Emailing Mean Lower Revenue? Case Study of a Fashion Retailer

At the outset of the project, the email marketing frequency was several times a day for the entire subscriber base. We proposed reducing the frequency to once a day or less. However, the client disagreed because these emails were generating revenue, but there was a catch.

“For testing purposes, we established a control group that experienced no changes, receiving emails as usual. We also had a group (10%) to whom we sent fewer emails. We selected the recipients and then evaluated the results in terms of revenue and attrition from the subscriber base. Insight: Despite increased revenue from daily email frequency, there was a significant attrition rate among customers who had previously made purchases. In other words, high email frequency not only generated income but also caused the loss of loyal customers. We analyzed the customers who unsubscribed based on how much money they typically brought in on average or per month. It's possible that they might buy again in the future, but this channel was no longer effective for them—they had either unsubscribed or marked the emails as spam. What did we ultimately conclude? We optimized the number of email campaigns to five times a week and segmented the subscriber base”.

Svitlana Fursa, Head of Retention Marketing at Promodo

Therefore, frequent email campaigns, even with stable income, are not always effective. In this case, the amount of lost revenue due to customer attrition was greater than the difference in revenue between these two segments.

Email Marketing Frequency and Customized Tools 

In the context of tools for setting up email campaigns, Svitlana Fursa highlights the strategy of promotional emails in eSputnik.

"It's a very powerful tool. It works quite simply—you create groups, set the frequency, and when composing the email, you assign a tag. For example, 'Happy Hours.' Later, using this tag, we determine whether to send the email—we check the day and whether the customer falls into the segment. If you're building a retention strategy, it goes from top to bottom, and each subsequent segment takes into account that people are excluded from the previous segment. In the end, we get a small sample for the email campaign."

Svitlana Fursa, Head of Retention Marketing at Promodo

From our experts' experience, it's much more effective to gather a separate segment of those who have purchased, for example, food products on the website and send emails to them because they will find it interesting. Considering such preferences, they might also be interested in alcoholic beverages.

Sometimes They Come Back: A Case Study of How to Bring Back Users After Their First Purchase 

For example, one of our clients—a platform for everyday online shopping—faced a situation where a significant portion of their users didn't return after their first purchase. We needed to devise a long-lasting and effective way to motivate them for a second purchase.

What we did: The client's website features millions of products with a wide price range. We proposed motivating users to a repeat purchases based on their average order value.

How does it work? Data with the amount of a customer's first purchase is transferred to the eSputnik system. Then, users are divided into groups:

  • Up to $20
  • $21- 50 
  • $51-100
  • $101-150
  • $150+

Depending on the group, the user receives a promo code for a second purchase if the order amount reaches $20, $50, and so on. For groups up to $150, a 10% discount is provided, while for higher groups, it's $15 off.

Email Frequency and Subscriber Concern Level

Continuing the discussion on tools, Svіtlana Fursa highlights the configuration of the "Concern Level" in eSputnik.

“The "Concern Level" is a weighted system for each email. Points are assigned for each campaign. For instance, one user cannot have more than 5 points per day and 10 points per week. Each type of email carries a weight. For example, an order confirmation email (0 points) because transactional emails must be sent in any case. Abandoned cart emails (2 points), Promo newsletters (3 points). If a subscriber has already received Abandoned Cart and Promo emails today, no additional emails like Price Drop on Wishlist are sent”.

Svitlana Fursa, Head of Retention Marketing at Promodo

So, planning email frequency using the "Concern Level" tool works when configuring a large number of emails in a project. Each email is assigned a weight, and even when sending to a large segment, the email goes to fewer clients because many have a limit of points, and emails beyond the limit are not sent.

Natalia Kovalenko, the team lead of Email Marketing at Promodo, also emphasizes the "Subscription Center."

“This is a highly customer-oriented tool. Customers themselves determine what, when, and through which channel they want to receive: promotions, personalized offers, discounts, and more. Additionally, customers have the option not only to unsubscribe completely but also to take a break—unsubscribe for 3, 6, or 9 months. After this period, the customer becomes active in the database again”.

Natalia Kovalenko, Team Lead of the Email Marketing Department at Promodo

The Unicorn Formula: Can Email Frequency Be Calculated?

Developing a formula for calculating the frequency of emails per user involves considering various factors, including your business goals, audience preferences, and the desired level of engagement. Here's a step-by-step approach to help you create a formula:

Define Your Goals

Determine what you want to achieve through your email campaigns. Are you aiming to increase sales, provide valuable content, or boost brand loyalty? Your goals will influence how often you should contact users.

Understand Audience Preferences

Gather data on your audience's preferences. Use surveys, past campaign results, and feedback to understand how often your subscribers want to hear from you. Some may prefer daily updates, while others may prefer weekly or monthly digests.

Establish Baseline Frequency

Choose a baseline frequency that aligns with your goals and audience preferences. This could be a starting point, such as sending emails once a week.

Track Engagement 

Monitor key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes. These metrics will help you understand how well your audience responds to your emails. Adjust your email frequency based on engagement data. If engagement drops, you may need to reduce the frequency or improve the quality of your emails.

Create a Formula

Now, let's develop a simple formula for calculating the number of emails per user:

Emails per User = (Total Emails Sent) / (Total Subscribers)

In this formula:

Total Emails Sent is the total number of emails you've sent over a specific period.

Total Subscribers is the number of unique subscribers on your list during the same period.

For example, if you sent 100 emails in a month to a list of 500 subscribers:

Emails per User = 100 emails / 500 subscribers = 0.2 emails per user

This means that, on average, you sent 0.2 emails to each user during that month.

This formula serves as a starting point and should be continuously refined based on feedback and subscriber engagement. Flexibility is key, as the optimal email frequency can change over time.

Promodo experts have also developed a formula for the number of emails per user:

  • For promo newsletters: Number of sent promos / unique recipients
  • For trigger emails: Number of sent triggers / unique recipients * 30%

*30% is a subjective figure. For trigger emails, we consider targeting 20-30% of the audience. On one of the online platforms for everyday purchases, for example, communication is more intensive, so we took a higher percentage.


Remember that email frequency can significantly impact subscriber engagement and satisfaction, so it's crucial to find the right balance that best suits your audience and goals.

Your email campaigns should be relevant, personalized, and unobtrusive. This way, you can provide unique offers and updates at the right time and in the right quantity for maximum customer engagement.

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Written by
Maria Kashina

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

Written by
Svitlana Fursa

Head of Retention Marketing

I've been working in email marketing since 2016. I passed the way from a junior specialist with the thoughts "email is spam in the mailbox?" to the real jedi of retention marketing. I worked with the largest Ukrainian eCommerce projects. I'm keen of the latest technologies and non-standard technical implementations.

October 6, 2023
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