You have created a beautiful design for your email marketing newsletter, gathered a powerful list of consumers that are interested in your product (shame on you if you bought your list), laid out the content perfectly and have everything that your target market wants to see. In your mind there is no possible way that you can mess this up. But there is, you send the newsletter at the wrong time thus losing many potential readers and customers that you would have otherwise opened it. Well ain’t that a problem?
Many of us have been woken up by a newsletter arriving at our phones at midnight on a Thursday night, and we have all been annoyed by newsletters filling up our inbox on a Monday morning when all we want to do is catch up on emails that came this weekend. They are annoying, but more than that, ineffective. I have been working on newsletters for over a year, and it has been a trial and error process for me all along to figure out the correct day and time to send a newsletter. Throughout this year I have sent out more than 8 million newsletters and I have analyzed the send reports since day one trying to find patterns. What you are about to read is my personal opinion, and it’s based on my own research with newsletters. One important thing I have to point out before I start is that this does not apply to every single newsletter, depending on your business trade or target market you might want to tweak your sending times.
So let’s start with the days and times you absolutely don’t want to send a newsletter. Friday afternoons is when we are wrapping up our week, looking forward to the weekend and just counting the minutes until freedom. Once we get out of the office we don’t want to check emails, we want to spend time with our family or friends. In other words, Friday afternoons are ineffective unless you are advertising something related to the weekend, more on that later. We then move to lunch hours, everyone is at lunch, not looking at work stuff (I hope) and we all have our smart phones with us, so we will absolutely open your newsletter when it arrives right? Well based on experience this is not really the case, some of the lowest open rates I have gotten have come in between the usual lunch hour times. So what about weekends? Your target market is hopefully out of the office and thus is more likely to open your newsletter because she has more free time. Well, wrong. Unless you are providing them with an event or something to do on weekends; it’s likely that they will disregard your email completely. We already get enough emails during the week, leave our weekends alone.
Monday mornings we usually use to catch up on the weekend’s emails, and for most Monday is our busiest day. So let’s scratch Mondays off the list. This leaves us Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday mornings. So let’s keep breaking the list down. Based on my experience Thursdays have not proven to be the best days, and have only delivered slightly above average open rates for emails. This includes both mornings and afternoons.
So now let’s break Tuesdays and Wednesdays apart. We never really want to send out things early mornings or late afternoons, so nothing before 10 and nothing after 3.We have also discussed how sending during lunch hours is probably going to be ineffective, and this completely depend on the time your target market eats lunch. I live in Texas and we eat lunch here at around 11:30 – 1:00. Why is this important? Well it took me some time to realize it, but when people get back to the office after eating, they might still be distracted from their lunch hour and thus more likely than on any other hour to open newsletters, read them and click them! So have you figured out my magic hour for sending emails on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Exactly, right after lunch, personally I like to send them between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. Some clients like to send them out at 11:00 a.m. right before lunch hour, and this has also had positive results. They use the rationale that when people are about to go eat lunch they tend to be more distracted from work and thus likely to open newsletters.
Last but not least we have Friday mornings, personally I don’t like to schedule sends on Friday morning unless the content of the email is one that will be related to weekend activities or information but I have noticed that open rates do go up on Friday mornings. My theory behind this is because we are thinking about our weekends and what we will do; we tend to open newsletters that might interest us.
Finally I want to share two important things to keep in mind; we have this little thing called time zones. Don’t be intimidated by them when scheduling your email, use them to your advantage! 11 a.m. on the East coast is 8 a.m. on the Pacific coast, quite a difference don’t you think? Scheduled your sends based on the time segments and you will see great results. By doing this for one of our clients we found a 5% increase in open rates and 2% increase in click through rates compared to similar emails we had previously send out for the same client with disregard to time zones. So it does work, use it!
And the second thing to keep in mind, always, always, always be consistent with your scheduling. If your consumers know that your newsletter arrives on x day and y hour they will be on the lookout for it. Trust me, this has a great impact on open rates, and it keeps top of mind awareness in your target market.
What are your thoughts?
I am sure many of you disagree with my ideas, so let me know, leave a comment and tell me what you think are the best send times and the results you’ve gotten through them.