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April 10, 2013 / christinazuniga

Ideal Email Send Time

SendCommunicationIt’s the end of the meeting with your project stakeholders and there’s only a few items left to discuss about an upcoming marketing email.

“What send date and time do you recommend?” someone asks you. Just as you begin to answer, another colleague speaks.

“I read that the best time to send is on Tuesdays at noon”, responds the coworker you suddenly find yourself despising. All eyes are on you to either agree or dispute this claim.

Does this scenario sound familiar? There are an unending number of websites with a barrage of advice about the ideal time and day of the week to send your email. Some say that consistency is the key, while others advise you to employ variety.

The problem with following the newest report and changing your typical send day from Monday to Thursday is that many people will read the same report and they’ll change their send date from Saturday to Thursday. Next quarter’s report will suddenly list Thursday as a less than ideal day to send emails.

You can use logical deductions based on the profile of your customer to rule out certain times. Is your typical customer an 8am – 5pm Monday through Friday US worker who works closely with people in Asia? Then sending your email during the weekend means that by Monday at 8am, their inbox will be full and your email has a greater chance of being ignored. Friday morning may have a better response rate.

StahpEmailBestPractices

I send my B2B email communications on consistent days – surveys, event invites, webinars etc have their own preset days. In 2012 we sent three emails over a few months inviting contacts to a customer event. These emails were sent Tuesdays in the early morning and they generated good open rates above our average with decent registration.

Tuesday Morning
The open rate for the third email was 38% lower than the open rate for the first email, but that could have been caused by the motivated contacts registering via the first email or contacts using methods of viewing the email that cannot be recorded (such as using a preview pane).

Tuesday Afternoon
For the 2013 customer event, we used the same audience criteria which had roughly the same overall number of contacts as last year. Due to scheduling conflicts, we changed the send time to the early afternoon. Our open rate for the first email was almost identical to 2012, however, the third email only had a 6% lower open rate compared to the first email. Varying the send time meant we found a better slot for sending this email, based on the message and when people would prefer to read it.

No infographic or blog post is going to be able to tell you when you should send your email, since your customer profile is unique to your industry, your niche, or your organization. I challenge you to experiment with your sending time and day to increase your Click Through Rate (CTR), Open Rate, Conversion Rate, or another statistic that shows your success. If you see a difference, let me know in the comments!

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