How Much Email Marketing is Too Much?

July 05, 2016
Written by
Warren Duff
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

How Much Email Marketing is Too Much?

We hear questions like this all the time: How much email should I be sending? How much email is too much? Have I sent too many messages to my list?

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer for this, but luckily, email marketing provides you with the insights you need to answer those questions yourself. By looking at a few key metrics and performing a few tests, you can make sure you’re sending the right amount of email to each recipient.


While unsubscribes aren’t necessarily good, they’re also not all that bad! There are always going to be recipients that are churning out of your list, so by unsubscribing, they’re helping you by telling you they’re finished with your email, but they aren’t designating you as spam.

Each time you send mail to your list, look at the unsubscribe rate. If this rate stays consistent, you can tell that you’ve over-messaged your list if you see it spike. Make sure you're always keeping an eye on this metric because once a customer has left, you no longer have the opportunity to message them again.

Opens vs. Clicks

Obviously, your opens and clicks are the most important email events. An open means that you’ve sent a recipient a message at the right time with a subject line that speaks to them. Clicks, on the other hand, mean that you’ve created message content that resonates with the recipient enough for them to click on a link.

There’s another insight from these events that you can infer. If you have a high number of opens, but a low number of clicks, you may need to work on your content. This could mean that your subject line and content aren't in sync, or it could mean that the message itself lack clarity or provided a clear action for the recipient to take.

Test the Frequency

An easy way to find out if you’re sending the right amount of email is to test the length of different email series. If you’re debating whether or not to send the third email in a series, identify a small segment of your list to test the email on. If the email gets a high number of unsubscribes, it may not be worth sending that message to the larger list.

Make Messages Relevant

We have a mantra SendGrid that we try to express to all customers:

Send the right message, to the right person, at the right time, with the right frequency.

What does this mean though? It means thinking about your recipient and trying to deliver them a message that they want. One of the ways you can do this is by making content as personalized as possible. Personalizing content means more than simply adding a first name to messages, it means sending messages that recipients will find useful and valuable. You can also use an email preference center so that recipients have the opportunity to tell you exactly what types of messaged they'd like to receive.

To learn more about the best email marketing techniques, read our guide, 24 Email Marketing Best Practice Tips for 2020.

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