Do you realize in one year, based on 365 24-hour days, there are 8,760 opportunities to email to your list? Most marketers don’t send out daily, hourly emails; they may mail once a week, twice a month, or some other schedule that suites their business.
Scheduling the right time to send email campaigns seem to have turned into a science. I’ve run across formulas, studies and wag’s. Even though everyone has an opinion, unfortunately, what works for one marketer may not work for another. Therefore, it’s best to develop your own sending schedule based on list demographics and common sense.
Take the marketer that mails twice of month. At first glance, they have up to 576 email opportunities in a year to reach their list base. However, like all of us, email list owners are practical, they enjoy sleep, time with the family and time to play with the dog. They don’t want be accused of spam or tire out their list members, so they narrow this number (576) down using a few assumptions, because marketing messages are only as good as the interest level of the recipients when they receive them.
The easiest way to begin is to categorize the list membership base. Are you mailing to B2B, homemaker’s, families with children, Jeep owners or Nurses . . . you get the idea. Segment the list then consider where the list members are located: East Coast, West Coast, overseas or, down the street. An email sent at 12 midnight that evening might not be worth one that has been sent at 9 am that morning when you are having a one-day sale – AND if the sale is in New York with a coupon you can’t use online, why are you sending this email to people in Ohio or England for that matter.
Now that you have some numbers to work with what can you do? The next step, decide when to mail and make the numbers work for you.
Ebay for example, makes the numbers work for their sellers suggesting to them that Sunday evening between the hours of 8:00 PM eastern time and 10:00 PM pacific time is the best time to end an auction. Why? Because they found this is the peak time for Ebay shoppers to be online. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could predict the peak time email recipients open and respond to marketing messages?
Unlike Ebay, who concentrates on one group of people, there are many different types of email messages hence many different groups of people. I’ll just pick one: B2B.
With Business-to-Business email marketing, is there an optimal time to email to this group? It’s probably safe to rule out night time email and narrow the mailing opportunity down to an 8 hour 5 day week, increasing your mailing opportunity to 80 hours (more concentrated): A very manageable number. (5 days a week (the day is still an unknown) x 2 (twice a month) x 8 hours a day). Increase the opportunities in your favor by selecting one or two days out of the 5-day week.
- Monday: The consensus about Monday – most people are inundated with back-to-work emails, therefore they will not open marketing emails first: they may save them for later or just junk them. For example on a typical Monday morning, my in-box has anywhere from 300 to 500 pieces of email. I am concerned with company Sales so my mail filters discard the obvious SPAM subjects like “Spend 10 Minutes and Save on Car Insurance” or any Subject Line with specific words like Sex and Pills. The rest of my emails I review. Will I take the time to read all those remaining emails? No.The remaining emails are sorted by Subject, I delete emails with duplicate subjects and those with iffy subject lines (Help Grandma I’m stuck in Mexico). I also delete emails with attachments if not expecting one. On occasion I have missed sales inquiries and I’ve also “accidentally” deleted bills so I ask all vendors to postal mail bills.I am a subscriber to several email newsletters, and if the subject looks interesting, I’ll leave the message unopened in my in- box and get to it later on. But never on a Monday.I also have a Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail account. Gmail receives reports from Google and blog posts I’m following, Hotmail is for my XBox live account and I’m a member of Yahoo for competitive analysis.BTW it’s 9:16 Monday morning, my Gmail account has 30 messages and counting and my regular mail has 376 messages waiting.Am I alone in this, getting hundreds of emails, NO and neither are your recipients.
- Tuesday: Tuesday time is spent on zeroing in what needs to be finished by Friday. With deadlines, meetings and presentations, there are still emails to be read, answered, saved or deleted. Tuesday afternoon is a good day to catch up on mail, and may be a good day to have your marketing email in their in-box.It’s been noted that early afternoon messages are read more often. I’ve read on several competitor sites, Tuesday and Thursday are the two most favored email campaign days. However the reality of the work week supposedly sets in on Tuesday, therefore in theory,Tuesday is the highest stress level day of the week.So who wants to read email when they’re stressed? And, if you’re in the retail business going after a different demographic there’s different stats for you too.As a consumer, I read my personal emails on my phone, I check them on my computer before bedtime or read them on my tablet while cooking. (We use an exchange server, which is a great way to manage emails on all devices) I want to see those Groupon Messages, sales from my favorite store, or the next blog chapter I was waiting for after 5 pm on weekdays. When these messages come in during working hours, they are not read, and if I haven’t filtered them to a folder they are history.We recommend, for people like me, allow your list members to tell you what day, time, or amount of email they would like to receive. Profile pages work great for this.
- Wednesday: No issues that I’ve read about, one of the favorite days to send.
- Thursday, like Tuesday, again, is one of the most favored email campaign days. Try sending early in the morning, 8 am, yours might be the first email they read that morning.
- Friday. How many people seriously buckle down to read emails on Friday (besides business owners), but that’s the demographics you’re after, right?
- Saturday and Sunday. Generally, weekends have the lowest open rates, mail at your own risk.
If everyone followed the same email schedule you will be facing a truck load of competition from others in the same boat. So should you make it up as you go along?
- Know your audience, from the night owls who will read your midnight messages to the snowed-in technical writer who would enjoy your email on a Sunday afternoon.
- Test for the best times, just as you test for anything else. Dundee Internet Inc., for example, gives you the ability to send different version of a message to a random subset of your mailing list, scheduled to be delivered at different times.
- Look at other factors that may be hindering your open rates besides the hour and the day. This would include your Subject, graphics, frequency and message format.,
- Best day and hour to email depends on your industry, audience, and message content: remember you want to send the right message at the right time.
- Realize that the sending opportunities change with the hours and days in the week available. Increase your opportunity by decreasing the sending opportunities to a manageable number.
- To figure out your ideal sending date and time TEST, TEST, TEST