Marketer’s dilemma: How many email messages are too many?

One of the sections in my book responds to an excuse I hear artist often make for not promoting their art: I don’t want to bother people. No one wants to bother anyone while we’re promoting our stuff, but we know we have to keep our names out there.

I just sent out two large emails to my list. One was to artists in the Midwest–a last-minute reminder that 5 slots remained for the workshop in Terre Haute on April 4. The other was to my entire list and was a reminder that early registration ends for my Estes Park seminar tomorrow (April 1).

I don’t love sending out extra emails. In fact, it kind of makes my stomach churn. I know people are going to unsubscribe to my newsletter when I send out extra emails. And, frankly, I don’t want to bother them.

But I also know the alternative. I know there will be people who are upset because they were “never informed” (e.g. they didn’t read the announcements in my newsletter for the last 6 months).

Case in point

Just last weekend I visited Oregon and I got an email from someone saying she was sorry that she didn’t know about my being there. Although I had mentioned it in the newsletter and it was on my site, I didn’t take the time to send a separate email to the artists on my list that I know are in Oregon. My bad. Very bad. And kind of rude of me not to go out of my way to connect with my fan base there in Oregon. (By the way, I only know where you are when you purchase something from me.)

Because I know that these in-between emails are welcomed by many, I usually hold my breath and send them. For those who aren’t interested, they can hit the good-old Delete button or, hopefully, forward my message to others who might be more interested.

Think about this whenever you worry about contacting your list too often. If you are sincere with your message . . . if you have something of interest to the majority of your list . . . if people might be upset because they missed out . . . you probably need to do as I do: Hold your breath and press Send.


More on This Topic

A lesson on using your email list


Get people to sign up for your mailing list

Master your mailing list

Don’t delay your mailing list

Build your own mailing list

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7 thoughts on “Marketer’s dilemma: How many email messages are too many?”

  1. If the people on your mailing list have given you permission to be included on it, then they have told you they WANT to hear from you.
    I look at it this way, you send emails to inform them and you want an email to be in their inbox whenever they want to or feel like reading it, which means you must send out emails on a regular basis! It is your job to send the emails and their job to read it -whenever they want to!

    Keep on emailing!

  2. Several industry sources I’ve read, and my personal rule of thumb is .2% – if more than .2% of your list is unsubscribing, then you’re sending too much mail and/or the content needs to be improved (and I know you’re content doesn’t need to be improved!).

    So if more than 2 out of 1000 messages are unsubscribing, slow it down a bit.

  3. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Fiona: Thank you for the vote of confidence!

    Clint: Cool. I never heard that statistic. I guess I’m doing okay then. And, hey, I may need to pull this out and make it a separate post so that others can read it.

  4. i am one of the people who unsubscribed from your list about 6 months ago because i was receiving too many emails about things i wasn’t interested in. i signed up for the newsletter, not information about events taking place across the country from me or reminders about classes that i was already aware of. i love your blog, your newsletter and all the information you share but like many others i get overwhelmed with emails about things i am not at all interested in. i check in with your blog several times a week so i don’t miss anything but am sorry to no longer have the newsletter in my email box on mondays. maybe you would consider a newsletter only email option?

    i recently signed on to another newsletter email list and the woman has sent me 14 emails in less than a week. i unsubscribed this morning even though her newsletter is wonderful. it was too much.

    i totally understand that there are some people who would miss things if you didn’t let them know but maybe your emails could be more targeted to an area, etc. if you are promoting a specific event.

    This isn’t a criticism, just a thought 😉

  5. Curious… How did you limit you mailing to Midwest artists? Did you sort email addresses manually using snail mail addresses as a reference?

    Great post, by the way. There’s something strangely… encouraging about knowing you’ve suffered from Don’t Wanna Bother Syndrome too. I’ve collected email & snail mail addresses for YEARS without using them. And people have the nerve to get annoyed with me for not telling them about events? 😉

    Crazy, I know.

  6. Mary – Alyson runs a business and uses her blog and email as part of her marketing. I think that getting a few (very few in my opinion) emails advertising classes she is offering is a fair trade off for all of the wonderful information and help she gives to artists everyday FOR FREE! I am so grateful for all of the wonderful information I have received from you Alyson, you have no idea!

    Alyson is also very careful to state what the email is about in the subject line. She makes it very easy for anyone to hit the delete key without having to open the email if it’s something they aren’t interested in. How simple, easy and it takes less than a blink of an eye to do.

    I love all of your emails Alyson – please do not stop sending all of them!

  7. Pingback: The Hard Part — Art Biz Blog

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