5 Reasons to Test Your Marketing Email Timing

Welcome to another edition of the “5 Reasons” blog series. This will be a weekly blog series, with a fresh post every Monday. Last week’s topic was “Five Reasons Your Employees are Leaving”.

This Week’s Topic = Five Reasons to Test the Time of Day You Send Emails

Studies have been done, people have written whitepapers, gurus have held classes. Heck, I’m one of the “experts” who has made my opinion loud and clear about when the times to send emails are. You can see my post on email time of day here.

But the truth is, different times of day will work better or worse for different companies. So here are five reasons you should test it:

  1. Your subscribers might work odd hours. One of the main argument for when to send your emails is based on when people are at work and checking email. The problem is, maybe your subscribers don’t work the same hours as everyone else. Maybe many of them work nights, or weekends, or mornings. If you time your email when they are not connected to their inbox, you may miss out on the highest conversions.

  2. Your subscribers might not work. Adding to #1 above, your subscribers might not work at all. Students, retirees, stay at home moms and dads, and people out of work will all receive promotional emails. And they will likely read them differently than those people at work will. If you’re not testing the time of day you hit send, you may be missing this group.

  3. Your subscribers might not be as connected. Marketers have a tendency to see a trend and take it to the next level. ‘Everyone has a smartphone’ is not yet a true statement. And just because the people in your office are constantly checking email, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. When subscribers are not as connected, there may be very specific times of day where they are most likely to respond, and other times when your email will just sit there.

  4. Your subscribers might be more connected. You can turn #3 around and test whether or not more connected subscribers mean higher response rates during “off hours”. If your subscribers are young professionals, chances are they’re checking email 24/7. A promotional email on the weekend or at night might have a chance at getting a higher response than with other groups.

  5. Your competitors might be getting there first. If you’re competing directly with others who are emailing the same set of subscribers, than timing might have more to do with getting there first than getting there at a specific time. Test sending your emails earlier in the day to see if you can beat them to the inbox.

Want to be safe? Then send an email when I tell you to. Want to be smart? Then test different times and pick a winner that works for you specifically.

As always, if you have your own tips, please include them in the comments below.

The Best Time to Send an Email – Part 1

This is part 1 of a 3 part series on the best time to send promotional emails.

Email marketing is a war. Every email that you send is sent with a purpose (if it’s not, then why are you sending it?). There is a goal, there is a victory.

And every email that you send is made up of a number of battles. These battles must be won in succession in order to win the war and achieve victory. And the more you know about email going into the war, the better your odds.

One of the big email marketing questions is when to send your email. The answer is not so simple, but here are some tips.

First, picture your customers. Who is getting the email? And when are they most likely to read and take action on an email? The answer might be different if your email is going to working adults and if it’s going to college students.

On average, a person in the US receives 7 promotional emails each day. That means that you’re not the only game in town. You need to stand out in a crowded (more crowded every day) inbox.

So let’s begin to dissect the day…

Early morning is no good. You don’t want your email sitting in their inbox with multiple other unread emails. That’s an inbox that is screaming to be ignored, and emails that are screaming to be deleted. When your email hits their inbox, you want it to be top of the list.

9am is the majority of working Americans arrive at work. Most will look at email immediately, some for the first time. Anything before 9am is a gamble.

It’s important to keep in mind that if your audience is national, time zones will come into play. Anything before 12pm EST is before 9am PST, so the mornings are dangerous all around.

Lunch time is a good time to catch people when they are not busy, and able to focus on your “offer”. The average American worker has a lunch break between noon and 1pm, and this is one of the best times to reach them if your intention is a purchase.

Afternoons can tend to feel a little longer, and drag on until quitting time. The closer it gets to the end of the work day, the more a person might be thinking about the commute, and the evening hours. While an email at the end of the work day may get the right kind of attention, there is also the risk of it getting deleted as a “non-essential interruption”. While I would not necessarily recommend an email at this time, it’s still better than late night and early morning.

After 5pm is another danger zone. Many people check email on their phones, but often will leave anything that comes in after hours until the morning. You don’t want that.

So it sounds like we’ve settled on a target time of 12pm-2pm EST. Picture that as the bullseye or the top of the bell curve, with times most immediately before and after that range being the second best.

Stay tuned the remainder of this week for more on email timing.