May 31, 2016

How frequently should you email?

This is Maeshowe, found on the Scottish island of Orkney. 5000 years old, Maeshowe is one of the largest stone-age manmade structures anywhere in the world.

Maeshowe

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Maeshowe is a tomb, with a narrow passage leading to the inside. For 364 days a year the inside of the tomb is completely dark. Then at sunset on winter solstice, something remarkable happens.

Maeshowe on winter solstice

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At sunset on the shortest day the setting sun perfectly aligns with the passage, lighting up the chamber inside. It’s a remarkable feat of astrology and engineering, especially given the system still works 5000 years after construction.

The sun has been revered and worshipped by people across culture and time, but the critical thing about the sun is its predictability.

We know at exactly what time the sun is going to come up each day. Based on this predictability we structure our days and our lives. The Neolithic people of Orkney knew enough about the sun’s predictable movements to construct giant monuments.

How thrown off would you be if one day the sun never came up?

Or if the sun was just a bit… late?

Would it fill you with confidence?

I get asked ‘how often should I email’ reasonably regularly. I’m not 100% bored of answering the question, but you might say it is a little irksome. Frequency is not as important as predictability.

Predictability means showing up exactly when you said you were going to show up.

If you have sharp eyes you might have noticed that these emails come at the same time every day. This is a deliberate move on my part. Like the arrival of the morning sun, you can guarantee that at 9AM UK time on a working week day there will be an email from me in your inbox.

I don’t have hard evidence to support this but I believe that sending your communications to a consistent public schedule encourages higher engagement rates. For a start, reading these emails becomes a habit you can do at the same time every time of the day, if you choose.

Secondly, when I get an email out of the blue from someone I once-upon-a-time subscribed to my first thought is “uh oh. What do they want?”

Reliability has to be on your terms, not on mine. The people that work with me instigate a sales conversation when they believe they are ready to do so, not when I would necessarily like them to. All I do with these emails is leave a steady stream of regular open doors in front of your face.

Many people tell me that daily emails are too regular for their audience. The truth in that statement is that daily emails will be too much for your entireaudience.

If your message is important enough (and therefore valuable enough to your recipients) there will be some people on your list who want to hear from you every day.

The question you have to address is whether there are enough of these people to financially compensate you for writing to them every day. Or to financially compensate you to pay someone to write to them every day on your behalf.

It’s not hocus pocus, it’s actually a financial calculation.

If the answer is ‘no’, that that is fine. Set a less frequent publishing schedule.

Really this is about questioning your assumptions. I assumed for years that nobody would want to hear from me every day. Ninety of you think there is sufficient value in these ramblings to receive them every day. From two month’s work and a starting list of 1000 contacts I don’t think that is a bad outcome.

Anyhow, we can all now stop asking pointless questions like ‘how often should I email’. Instead try asking ‘how often is it worth me emailing’?

You can figure the logistics out after that.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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