When is the best time to send your email campaign?

You’ve written awesome content, and have a great subject line. You’ve got your images and graphics well placed and you’re all ready to send your email campaign. You want your customers to not only open and read your email, but to click through to your website for more information, to make a sales enquiry or otherwise respond to your special offer. After all, that’s why you’re sending the email, right?

email marketingSo when is the most effective time of the best day to send your fabulous communication? When are your readers most likely to open and respond?

Well, there’s no hard and fast rule for everyone – it depends on your industry, your particular offer and your target market – but there are a few times and days that yield better performance overall than others.

Several studies indicate the middle of the working week is better, with Thursday generally being the best day to send emails. Tuesday is the next best day, closely followed by Wednesday. Weekends tend to have significantly less open and response rates in general.

The most email opens occur within the first hour of it being sent. The percentage of emails opened drop exponentially after that first hour so once you’ve decided which day you’ll send your wonderfully informative email, choosing which hour to send it is paramount to success.

Several email test results show that the best open rates occur in the afternoon between 2-5pm, with the best time being 3-4pm. A larger percentage of email is sent in the morning, so it’s thought that emails sent during these afternoon hours have a better chance of being noticed, and therefore opened. The next best open rate occurs between 8-9am, as people are getting ready for their workday but before actually knuckling down to business. Try timing your email campaigns to hit inboxes no earlier than an hour before these optimum times.

Between 5-8pm most people are leaving work, having dinner and engaging with their families, housemates or friends, so emails received during these hours are less likely to be opened. After hours, during personal time, people tend to leave business and work related emails, but are more likely to respond to consumer promotions like special offers on clothes for example.

Another thing to consider is your recipients’ time zones. 3pm may be a great time to send your email locally but if your clients are 10 hours behind or 3 hours ahead of you, this will impact upon your email’s effectiveness.

Split your mailing list by time zones, or use your mailing program’s automatic time zone segmentation features to send email to reach your client at the preferred time, their time.

The only really accurate way to find YOUR optimum email response time is to run tests and do a little analysis of your own. Use your website’s Google Analytics to ascertain when your clients are visiting, their demographic and target emails accordingly.

Use the analytics in your email marketing program to find out which campaigns get the most opens and click-through response, where these recipients are (their time zone), and their demographic. Try running split campaigns: split your mailing list into two groups and send the same email at different times, or on different days and keep a note of which gets the most response. Some programs, like MailChimp, have this function built in.

In fact you can use this information to determine not only the best time to send your email, but the best campaigns to send to different age groups or clients in different countries, which subject lines are more effective, whether graphics and images make a difference. There are many options for testing, but by starting with timing your campaign well, you’ll give your email marketing the edge you’re looking for!