As so many comedians have said, 'timing is everything'. It is the same with bulk email marketing; no matter how good the email, if the subscriber receives it at the wrong time then there is no sale.
There are two distinct types of timing of an email:
1 – the time of day/week/month
2 – the time in relation to an outside occurrence
For this article we will deal with the first one and follow-up with the second later.
As with so much in our craft, the returns of your email marketing software should be your guide. You should record the time a particular subscriber opens their email. This will probably be a range of times rather than a precise figure. If you bring in the completion rate then you often find this limits the range as they need not only to read but engage with the email.
The one thing you should not do is to wait for a dip in your open rates. The time to act and experiment is always now.
Over the years researchers have suggested, for instance, that the middle three days of the week give the best results and the mornings are the best time-of-day. This became common knowledge and email marketers then followed the advice and instead of there being a few emails going into the inbox before midday Thursday they discovered they were competing with lots of others.
A little later came the conclusion that, perhaps, Friday morning is optimum and the same cycle occured. The only option is to try and stay one step ahead of the competition and for this you will need to experiment with a sectioned list, trying various times and various days.
It doesn't end there of course. Whilst a high open rate might look good for the end of campaign statistics, the completion rate is probably more important. On top of that we have ROI. When the returns come in you have to look at which time was best for your most important criterion.
Do not accept accepted wisdom. The difficulty for us is that if it is an uncontested fact of email marketing then everyone knows about it and this will distort the results as they try to exploit it. For instance, we all know that planning is an exercise for Monday mornings in business and that we do not expect marketing emails to be opened that day. Yet I have worked for two companies where Friday is planning day, the idea being that the reluctance to disagree on minor details will be limited by the approaching weekend.
We all know that B2B emails should not be sent on Saturday or Sunday. Yet how many of us have perused our work email on an occasional Saturday morning? The one thing we know for certain about email marketing is that unless we experiment, we will never know.
What I hope I have made clear is that there are no hard and fast rules with regards to when to send an email in relation to the time and day of the week. There are just too many variables. You must be guided by the returns from your email marketing software to work out when best to press the send button.