I get asked all the time for tips on creating great content. One of my favorite pieces of advice is to take questions posed to you by customers and turn the answers into newsletter articles and blog posts. Taking that advice to heart, I thought posting the answer to a question we get often — and recently posted an answer to on LinkedIn — could be of help to those that use e-mail marketing on a regular basis:
What is the best time of day/week to send e-mail marketing messages?
It’s a great question with no simple answer. Conventional Wisdom says to send e-mail Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday around mid-day. For business-to-business folks, shade the time closer to morning for those reading at work. And for those dealing with consumers, target later in the day on the assumption that these folks are reading their e-mail when they get home at night.
Of course, there’s no single correct answer since every business and organization’s subscriber habits are different. That’s not to say the question is unanswerable; it’s just that each e-mail marketer has to do its own research.
Global Behavior: If you monitor your own e-mail reading process you will most likely find clues that will lead you in the right direction. For example, when I first arrive in the office I approach my e-mail box in rapid delete mode looking to remove all the non-critical e-mails as fast as possible. This means that anything that is on the margin gets a fraction of a second of my attention before it’s deleted. However, later in the day, I am more likely to give that same email a couple of seconds of attention. If you feel your e-mails are going to be received as nice to have vs. need to have, you should avoid sending late in the evening for early morning arrival.
Test, test, test: You can always try sending your message at different times during the week and see how the results compare. Simply split your list in half and send a copy of your newsletter to one group at noon and the second group at 3pm, and see which gets the best response from your audience.
Survey your e-mail list: Use a quick online survey that asks your audience, “When do you want to hear from us?” This gives subscribers a sense of control over the messaging they receive and helps you to better target your message time-wise.
Your innate knowledge of your market and customers can also help. One customer of ours, a farmer’s market in the Midwest, sends out its e-mail campaigns twice a week: Once on Monday and again on Thursdays. The reasoning behind two messages a week is that the company deals in perishable goods, so people buying on Monday are going to have to restock for the weekend, hence two different campaigns a week targeted at consumers’ vegetable buying habits.
As you establish a time, monitor your open rates to check for trends. If people are opening less but clicking through about the same, try changing up the schedule. If rates continue to improve, you’ve hit your specific sweet spot.