If you market online, you inevitably face the question, “How often should I send emails?”
I’m not an email expert. But I’m surprised at how often successful business owners unconsciously fit into the story archetype framework. For an explanation (as well as a quiz to find your own archetype), click here.
Over the years I’ve picked up one general principle.
The one-size-fits-all approach makes no sense. I know successful business owners who email every single day, 7 days a week. They even send out an occasional “bonus” as an extra.
I know equally successful business owners who send long emails weekly, twice a month, or even monthly. Still others send emails only when they have something to announce.
Why do we see diverse patterns among business owners?
It has to do with their Story Archetypes, which in turn shapes the expectation of their audiences.
Role Models typically send emails frequently. They’re the ones who will tell you, “I’ve sent daily emails for the last five years and haven’t missed a day.”
Role Models base their brand on the promise, “I’m just like you. If I can do it, you can do it.” They share personal details more than other archetypes (and the profitable ones instinctively know what to share and what to keep quiet about).
So they find great success by opening with a personal anecdote, which may be loosely related to the topic of their message. They may include a few friendly tips. They often promote a series of products. Their audience doesn’t mind; it’s like an older friend or sibling who guides you to make wise choices.
Educators rarely send emails purely for promotion. Their promise is, “I’ve got knowledge that can help your business, should you choose to apply it.” So you get at least a small dose of information packed into each message.
They make sure each message includes substantive information. They’re the ones who send messages so detailed, each one could be an ebook. Alternatively, some send shorter messages more frequently, ideally containing an “aha” moment. You’ll rarely hear from an Educator on a daily basis.
Innovators send emails when they’re got something new to announce. They promise solutions to tough problems. They promote their own programs and sometimes work with affiliates (although in my experience, innovators tend to be fussiest about choosing affiliate and joint venture partners).
Passionate advocates rarely maintain email lists. They may try and realize it’s a waste of time. They promise to “go the extra mile” and few people think about needing that kind of help unless they’re in search mode.
Celebrities resemble Role Models, but they send bolder messages (often with headlines that startle and shock). They don’t share everyday stories about weeding the garden; their followers admire what they do but rarely expect to emulate them.
One Celebrity wrote, “But the truth is, I like to spend most of my time holed up in my man cave (AKA: “The Man Cave”), sipping whiskey, smoking cigars, eating steak, listening to conservative political podcasts, trawling through conspiracy theory forums (what?), and, of course…Reading, learning, and getting better at all things marketing, sales, and persuasion related.”
Notice the subtle references to high-end consumption patterns and reference to politics (this Celebrity lives outside the US). It’s aspirational, not relational. He’s not a celebrity in the conventional sense (though well known in his field), but he’s extremely successful and bold.
After I noticed this pattern, I understood why I have always had trouble sending daily emails. It’s exhausting to come up with tidbits of knowledge even 5 days a week. One Educator I’ve followed (and admired) for years has experimented widely, settling on 2 days a week. I find that 2-3 emails weekly has been a reasonable goal for me.
I also admire the Educator who sends a long, memorable message weekly. When you send less frequently, you can go deeper. More than once I’ve emailed her to express my appreciation for one of her ideas. So I may do some experimenting in the foreseeable future.
Regardless of your archetype, you can pick up some tips from the experts. I recommend Cindy Bidar’s courses. Email Marketing Momentum introduces techniques to improve results from email marketing. Email Follow-ups gives you templates you can send when new people join your email list. And Selling with Email shows you how to sell from your list. They work perfectly with Role Model archetypes – but you can tweak them to apply to Innovators and Educators. I use her courses myself.