How often should you send out your author newsletter? Once a week? Once a month? Every time you have a new book out?
If you write slowly your email frequency could be less than once every two years!
So what should you do?
I see this question come up again and again in Facebook groups and with my own clients and, spoiler alert, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. But there are a few ways you can decide what's best for you. And that's what we're going to be digging into in this post.
Email frequency is a balance
When deciding how often to email your list you have to balance two things. One, staying top of mind with your subscribers and two, not irritating people. It's these two things that cause people to stress about email frequency and argue about what is the best solution.
On the one hand, we all get too much email and we don't want to add to the problem. It's also time-consuming writing and scheduling lots of emails. On the other hand, we know that email is an effective marketing tool and something that we should be using.
Let's overcome that first hurdle, whether people want to hear from you. Well, the simple answer is they opted in, so they already put up their hand and said, they want to hear from you.
Now, it's important when you invite people to join your email list that you tell them what they can expect. On your sign-up forms you can tell people how often you'll be emailing and the type of content you will be sending. If you're keeping your forms very simple, then let them know in the first one or two emails that you send.
Generally, the advice is to email your list at least once every month. If you leave it longer than that, you run the risk of people forgetting who you are and why they signed up. Which means they are more likely to unsubscribe when you do send an email.
That's not because people can't remember anything that they did longer than 30 days ago. It's because of the sheer volume of email we all receive. I would argue that you can send emails less than once a month, if you let them know that you'll only email every two months or every quarter, for example.
It's a good idea to also put together an exceptional email when you do send something. If you send a bland, short email, once every six or nine months then it's likely people will unsubscribe.
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I recommend emailing more than once a month or once a month at least. But more important than your email frequency is your consistency.
So if you decide to email once a week, email once a week. If you choose to email once a month, email once a month. Try not to email once a week for a few weeks and then go once a month and then do weekly again and then have a gap of three or four months.
Being consistent is the most important thing.
If you find you can't commit to weekly emails, then it's okay to make it monthly emails if you know you can commit to that.
Some experts recommend emailing more often even than weekly, they suggest daily emails. But I urge you not to do that as an author.
That advice is for other industries, such as retail, where they have a lot of products to sell. They can segment their lists and send certain offers to certain people. If you've only got one or two books for sale, or you've not published anything yet, then it's overkill to email more often than once a week.
The exception to this is when you are running a launch campaign. In that case, you may be emailing every day or every couple of days. The same goes for when someone first joins your list. I recommend having a welcome sequence that goes out every day at first and then starts to space out.
You may be able to offer value on a daily basis. For example, if you're sending a daily meditation, a daily tip, or a daily piece of motivation. But not everyone can commit to that. And not everyone wants to receive it. So be aware of what your audience wants and be aware of your own ability to commit to daily emails.
If you decide to send a daily tip, have you planned out those daily tips for a period of time? And scheduled time for planning the next batch? And scheduling those emails? I recommend if you're doing a daily email that you batch it and you plan it in advance.
Have something to say
So how often you send emails comes down to what you have to say and what you have to share.
The most important thing to consider when deciding email frequency is what have you got to share? What have you got to say? This is the most important aspect. Only send an email if you have something to send!
Look out for my next post when I will talk more about what to include in your emails and what kind of content is engaging.
For now, if you are creating regular content, if you have a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel, then you can send an email to promote that content.
Emailing a tiny list
Sometimes authors tell me that they only have a handful of people on their mailing list. Two of those are themselves, one of them is their mum, one of them is their partner. And they ask, “Is it worth emailing my list when only one or two people are real subscribers?”
And I say Yes! It is a hundred percent worth emailing your list even if you've only got a couple of people on it.
Because those people do not know that they are the only people on your list. So whether you have one person, 100 people, 1,000 people, nobody knows how big your list is and it doesn't matter.
There are no vanity metrics with email like there is on social media. People can't see how many subscribers you've got. So treat every subscriber with respect. It actually helps the fewer people you have because you can write more personal emails. It's always best to write to just one person – your ideal reader. If there's only one person on your list, then this will be easier.
Don't always be selling
What works for one author may not work for you. And what one author thinks is appropriate for email frequency, might not be right for you. If you hear an author saying you only need to email your list when you have a new book out, I urge you to think if that sits right with you.
If you only email people when you have a book out, you're only emailing when you have something to sell. No one likes feeling like they're only emailed when someone wants them to buy something. It's far better to develop trust with your readers by emailing often, emailing consistently, and not always asking for something.
In my next post, I'll be talking about what to send your email list. If you've ever struggled to know what to put in your author newsletter, you're definitely going to want to check out that post.
So how often do you email your list? And do you think it's enough or not enough? I would love to know, let me know in the comments.