This may seem like a simple question but I’ve read a ton of information that supports just about every day and time of the week. This blog is not intended to reveal the million dollar answer, but is intended to give information for you to ponder as you decide when to send your next campaign. Here are a few thoughts:
- When I sent my first email campaign, I based my timing on, what I thought was, common sense. 9:30 Tuesday morning of course, for a lot of reasons. I felt that avoiding Monday was important because who would want to read my message after just getting back in the saddle after a weekend? I also chose A.M. because I knew that most people were fresh and more likely to have an empty in box by then. This seemed perfect, almost too perfect. As I quickly learned, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, so did a lot of other marketers trying to gather the attention of my potential customers. I’m not saying to totally avoid this time slot but just be aware that you may not be the only one thinking this way.
- Why do you think some advertisers choose to present their pitch on TV in the middle of the night? I used to think that it was because they got really cheap rates and it was purely a financial decision. The fact is that they prefer to run ads in this time slot to avoid competition for the viewer’s attention. Think about it, you can’t sleep so you turn the TV on and flip through the channels. No football game, your favorite sit com is no where to be found but you stumble across an infomercial that catches your attention. Next thing you know you grab your credit card and it’s on! I’m not saying everyone bites on this, but they have a much better chance to land sales in this scenario than during primetime TV spots. In much the same way, if you send a campaign early evening or on a weekend, you have a good chance of gaining the readers attention and they may be more apt to read it than toss it because it’s probably one of only a few they have hanging in their in box.
- The fact is most people do check their email first thing in the morning because they want to be as productive out of the gate as possible. For this reason, your valuable newsletter may fall by the wayside in the face of work related fires that may demand immediate attention. For this reason, you may want to consider afternoons or over the lunch hour.
- Test Test Test! The only way to truly know what works for you is to try different time slots. Keep trying until you get to the point where your results have peaked. Even then it’s wise to keep fine tuning a bit as you go. Try A/B testing. Simply put, it allows you to try different subject lines and/or send times to optimize open rates. For instance, if you have a database of 1,000 subscribers, we suggest sending a random sample of 100 to a specified time and another 100 to another time slot. After a period of time determine which has a better open rate and send the balance at the time yielding the best results.
Being that there is a lack of scientific evidence to back the best time and day to send email campaigns, you can’t beat relevant content. I will go out on a limb here to say that if you put interesting information out for the readers, it may not matter as much when you send it.
Joel Byford, Business Director, GreenMail Inc.