Emails: never surprise the recipient

Someone recently asked on Twitter for advice on the best frequency for a corporate email. I was surprised to see quite a lot of conflicting answers, although most were of the ‘this is what we do and it seems to work for us’ variety.

To me, the best answer seems obvious. It’s all about regularity and predictability. With different hats on, I send out emails to about half a dozen lists, and I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. I send out emails daily, weekly and monthly. What they all have in common is that they appear on the dot at the same time each day, each week or each month.

That way, they never surprise the recipient.

It’s the ‘getting in the way’ that I think can irritate recipients, even if they asked for the thing that’s surprised them. But if you send out emails at predictable times, there’s far less chance of irritating them.

I don’t think fortnightly or quarterly works. That might be predictable for your production schedule, but recipients don’t think that way. They won’t remember when the last one was.

If you can, keep it simple, and call the email ‘daily’, ‘weekly’ or ‘monthly’, and if appropriate, include in it the time, day or date when it comes out each day, week or month.