Like many of you I have sometimes clicked the little check box allowing a business to send me its email newsletter. When I’ve done that, somewhere in the back of my mind I’m thinking I’ll get an email newsletter maybe once a week. Much to my chagrin I suddenly find them in my inbox not once a day, but sometimes twice a day, and even more. And, if the high frequency isn’t bad enough, they are often totally off topic for my needs and don’t ofter anything useful to me.

Email Newsletter Timing

A while ago, Smart Insights, a business offering marketing advice, dove deeply into the question of how frequently to send out email newsletters. Here’s what Dave Chaffey wrote about it:

The DMA’s National Email Client Report 2015 shows us that over the past three years companies are contacting individuals less on a monthly basis. Email Marketers look to be becoming more strategic in their approach, recognizing that content needs to be relevant and are moving more towards behavioral and triggered based marketing, rather than programmatic timed campaigns.  It’s very apparent that irrelevant, low quality emails can damage a brand and increase the number of unsubscribes.

People are less accepting of interruptive advertising then ever before, and one study found that 77% of consumers are already annoyed by the volume of email they receive. A Direct Marketing Association survey found that 75% of marketers hit the same email address between 1 and 5 times a month. How often you do it is going to depend on your type of business, who your customers are and what your product or service is.

For businesses in the AEC sector selling to other AEC businesses, a reasonable frequency would probably be four times a month. For contractor businesses selling to consumers, much will depend on whether the target is a former customer, or a potential customer. As long as you are supplying useful information to former customers, a newsletter in their inbox a couple times a month would be a starting point. For potential customers you could probably double that frequency, depending on the season, and what their needs are. You can find lots of advice, and even a method you can use to test the best frequency at the links above. Of course you can send out email newsletters too infrequently as well; becoming an unknown in their mailboxes.

Newsletter Reasons

For construction businesses selling to the homeowner, and small commercial markets, email newsletters are one way of keeping your name in front of former customers. Former customers are good sources of new work in the form of referrals. If you include an email newsletter sign-up option on your website, it’s also a good way to introduce you and your services to potential customers.

For specialty contractors working for a number of general contractors, email newsletters are a good way to keep your name circulating. If you can also send newsletters to the people who hire the generals you work for, like developers, you can reinforce your relationships with the people who they work with directly. For most contractors, sending newsletters to architects and engineers that reveal timely and unique information related to specifications, costs, and new developments in methods and materials, can showcase your knowledge. It also keeps your name top-of-mind.

While, an email newsletter is not the best way to get people to answer a call to action, according to Ginny Soskey at HubSpot, it is an excellent way to develop a following of people who are interested in the construction services you offer. Over time, as they become more engaged, you can reinforce the idea you’re the one to call when they need your construction expertise.

And, when your past and current customers receive your email newsletter, you stay on their minds. Assuming you’ve had good relationships with them, that’s a good thing. When someone asks them for a referral, they think of you.

The Value Equation

Above all, provide value. You have to offer people something useful in the email newsletter. Those things could be home improvement tips. Or, how about trends in commercial building? You might also highlight new products and services that people and companies can consider for their projects. Another idea is to include promotions you are offering that focus on building efficiencies and energy use, among other things. Here are some ideas for success with an email newsletter.

Assess Your Abilities

How often will you send out a newsletter? Do you have the time and resources to ALWAYS do it?

Choose The Format

Using a Digest approach, you highlight your own content, others’ content, or a mix. When you Curate, you focus on a range of topics and offer a variety of content. Using a Topical approach, you focus on a single topic.

Balance

Plan to make the newsletter 90% informative and/or educational, and 10% promotional.

Engage

Use visuals. Use unique titles for each newsletter, and make them intriguing. Keep it simple so it travels well. Only link to quality content. Avoid spam trap words in the subject line. These include free, help, reminder, click here.

Inform, Promote, Evaluate

Tell subscribers the frequency they should expect. Allow them to easily unsubscribe. Provide options for them to select their preferred frequency. Regularly promote the newsletter using social media. It’s not about you, it’s about the readers. Experiment with different mixes of content. Use polls to evaluate readers’ impressions. Keep track of the list’s numbers. Solicit feedback. Then, adjust accordingly.