"Email programs tend to start with slow and cautious frequency, produce easy ROI, and become stars," says Karen Talavera in an article at MarketingProfs. The problems start, though, when management decides that more email would be even better. "[A]s with all good things," she notes, "increased consumption eventually leads to a point of diminishing returns. The correlation between cost and benefit is neither linear nor constant." And too much of this good thing can be just plain annoying.

To help you navigate the email-frequency minefield, Talavera offers recommendations like these:

Put yourself in your subscribers' shoes. Speak to them when they need, want or expect to hear from you—rather than when you have something to say. "You'll know what those points are only if you've walked in their shoes, mapping their decision and consideration paths," she says. Start walkin'.

Offer frequency options. Many subscriptions are dropped because recipients simply don't want so many messages; if they have the ability to reduce the number of emails they receive, they might prefer to remain on your list. By all means, give them that option!

Test any changes. Before making any permanent changes, compare results from the new frequency against the old. "A head-to-head test of different frequencies over a specified test period will tell you whether sending more often reaps greater rewards, or greater punishment," she says.

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