How often should we send our e-newsletter?

That was the question posed to me recently.

Send your e-newsletter every 4 to 6 weeks

My normal response is every 4 to 6 weeks. That’s usually frequent enough for your organization to have enough new, quality content to share. Often enough to keep your organization top of mind of your supporters and not too frequent to risk annoying them. It’s also good range to promote upcoming events or cover past events in a timely fashion.

But this question came from a small local theatre, so I gave a different answer.

Unless your e-newsletter is sales oriented

If your goal is to generate sales rather than keep supporter’s informed, you’re into e-marketing and a different set of rules apply.

People are willing to accept a much higher frequency than most non-profit organizations would expect. I think of companies like Dell who send to me almost daily and which I don’t stop.

It’s true though that people do hit a limit and end newsletters they don’t open or see any value in receiving. So it helps to be delivering quality that they want to open and click on links.

I’ve found with my inspire! series that sending e-newsletters is the single best way to get sales. Businesses that send e-mail frequently would would say that it’s ok to lose folks if the folks who stay buy. With this strategy, growing lists is critical.

To achieve results, I’ve adopted a couple tactics that help get my ask in front of people more often. For example,
I’ve started looking at who doesn’t open and resending to them. If they haven’t opened the original e-mail, the content is new especially if you use a new subject line. Doing so gets enough additional opens to be worthwhile. Or I may send to people who’ve clicked a link thereby showing an interest but I haven’t seen enough follow through.

In the case of a theatre, I think you could easily have a weekly or bi-weekly e-newsletter if you have enough new content to add especially if you established that expectation up front when subscribing. You could look at having different lists based upon preferred frequency or what type of events interest them the most. That puts them in control and/or they get what they want the most.

I believe that this approach also applies to e-fundraising though I’m sure that folks who specialize in that are much more sophisticated and have it down to a science.