When Is the Best Time to Send Your Marketing Email Message?

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The best time to send your marketing message

Frequency GraphicWhen you’re formulating your email marketing strategy, one of the biggest questions is when — and how often — you should send email marketing messages.

Every marketer I know seems to be searching for the answer to this question but unfortunately there really isn’t an easy answer.

It’s one of those questions where the answer always begins with, “it depends.”

Every list has a certain personality and its own tastes and preferences. Niche and demographic factors come into play in these tastes and preferences and your job as a marketer is to find the sweet spot where and when your list is most responsive.

The Almost Complete Answer You’re Searching For

Although all lists are different, marketers have found that there are a few key times that do tend to do well. And by do well, I mean the open and click-thru rates tend to be higher. Remember, this is not set in stone and your list may be completely different. However, you can use this as a guideline to get you started.

Data from various sources shows that email subscribers — especially if you are marketing to consumers — are often the most responsive on weekends. This is when people are likely to be shopping online and when people receive the least amount of emails. Without work emails coming into their inboxes, there’s more of a chance that they’ll see yours.

In terms of time of day, data generally shows that people are most responsive in the mornings. This is considered peak shopping time. Evenings can also be good. Subscribers may be online after a long day of work (although they’re less likely to be shopping then).

When considering the best time to send messages, also keep in mind location. Your target market may be in a different time zone than you are, so you need to adjust accordingly.

You will need to test to find out when you get the best open and click-thru — and most importantly — buy rates.

The Right Frequency

You also have to discover your list’s best frequency. In general, most folks don’t like to receive too many messages. If you’re sending a daily message to your list, they may be tuning you out, unless the content or offers you’re giving them are particularly amazing.

Receiving too many messages is one of the main reasons people give for unsubscribing to email lists.

One huge exception to this is if you offer an e-course. If people sign up for daily emails, of course you must deliver them daily. If their expectation is to receive regular messages from you, they’re probably not thinking ‘daily.’

On the other hand, sending too few messages can also kill your email marketing campaign. If you rarely send a message, people will forget about who you are and what you do.

A message with a promotion that comes out of the blue could make it look like you only email them when you want something. Whatever the right frequency for you and your list, it should be consistent.

I always suggest that you touch your list at least once a week. Once a month is just not often enough.

Testing Your List

Since there are no hard and fast rules, the only way to discover the best day, time, and frequency is to test. Most email services offer split testing. You can segment your list and send identical messages to both segments, but at different times. You can then see which responds.

You can also try mixing up your time, day, and frequency to see how your list responds. For example, you can increase the frequency slightly and see if there are any changes. Just always give yourself enough time to do a fair test.

It’s important to rely on solid, objective data from your email service provider’s stats and not just what your gut feeling tells you. Make your decisions based on real feedback from your list.

Create a spreadsheet — either on paper or on your computer — so you can track things from your stats. After a few weeks you’ll begin to see trends, and when you see the trends, then you’ll be able to make decisions about days and times to email to YOUR particular list.

One important key to remember is to NOT make decisions based solely on what you like or don’t like. It really is all about what your subscribers like and don’t like. Nothing else.

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