{Email} Marketing Sidebar: Frequency vs Cadence – Part Two

As an (analog rooted) email marketer, I prefer to focus much of scheduling strategy around effective frequency and cadence of messaging. I believe that the frequency we use to message our subscribers, and the cadence of messaging, have a significant impact on our  as marketers. But I’ve found that the concepts of frequency and cadence can be confusing for many.

So, what is the difference between frequency and cadence, at least in respect to email marketing?

Although frequency and cadence are closely related, these terms describe different aspects in email marketing. Whereas frequency is the number of emails sent in a given period of time, cadence encompasses the timing and pattern of emails sent. For example, cadence includes how many emails are sent and the amount of time between each of the emails, as well the email content and the audience receiving the emails. (Fulcrum Tech)


In simpler terms, frequency is the number of emails sent over a period of time, while cadence includes the frequency in terms of cycle time including time between messages, plus the nature of creative and copy of the messages themselves.

Why is this important? If your customers say they’d like to receive (or are willing to tolerate) two emails each week, they aren’t necessarily asking for two sales or promotional emails. The common practice would be to “blast” customers with two promotional emails each week, which will quickly lead to unengagment, unsubscription, or, worse, “the Spam button”.



“But wait, they said they wanted two emails a week – we gave them what they wanted!?!” As marketers, we are naturally drawn to the sell. But, in order to engage our subscribers and customers, and keep them engaged, we have to mix it up. How? I tend to recommend that close one third of all messages are of a non-marketing nature, where “non-marketing” means “non-selling” – a message with the sole effort of engaging and maintaining engagement, with no mention of a sale, special offer, or other selling-esque component.

And if you only send one email a week/month…. Basically, I feel, and have seen from all sides, including that of the customer, that if you do nothing but communicate to your customers to sell to them, they will begin to want no more to do with your company than the extent of their purchase experience. Want to drive higher, and longer-term customer lifetime value? Engage, don’t sell.

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