Email marketing is a marketing tool every company needs to take advantage of. The cost-effective approach of connecting with consumers makes it possible to maintain a direct line of communication open with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of prospective customers and potential leads, all with a single message. However, business owners and marketers shouldn’t just write up an email and send it out at any time of the day or night. Just like posting to social media and publishing blogs, there are times where sent emails receive better click-through rates and higher conversion numbers. Due to this, before sending out any future correspondence, an email marketing manager needs to understand what times are statistically proven to be the very best with regards to email marketing.
When Are Most Emails Sent Out?
It is a good idea to know when the competition is sending out emails. Most companies do focus on sending out email correspondence during the week, but the percentage of sent emails does not necessarily mean the same percentage of emails are read during the given days.
According to CoSchedule (2017), roughly 16 percent of emails are sent out on Thursdays. This number stays consistent with Wednesday and Friday (although the two days do see a fractional decline). The beginning of the week sees a slight decline. Tuesday sees about 14.3 percent of emails sent out, while Monday sees about 14.1 percent of emails. Again, not a large difference between Monday and Thursday, but enough to make a difference. The weekend experiences the largest drop off with regards to percentage of emails sent. Just 12 percent of emails are sent out on Saturday, while the number declines to 11 percent on Sunday. Fewer recipients of emails are around to open the messages over the weekend, but it also means less possible reading competition.
Thank Goodness It’s…Tuesday
When sending out content for an email marketing campaign, it’s all about maximizing exposure. As long as the advertising department carried out proper research, segmented its email list and created content specialized for the recipient, it all comes down to when an email should go out. After all, if the email doesn’t contain quality information or comes off as spam, it doesn’t matter when the email goes out, it’ll just end up in the spam folder or ignored.
According to CoSchedule (2017), the very best day of the week to send out emails is Tuesday. Now, a handful of studies do suggest sending out emails on Sunday evening so the content is there for recipients on Monday morning. Due to this, it is worth wild for email marketers to experiment a bit with when to send out (all demographics and target audiences are a bit different, so the exact time and days may vary slightly). In general, though, Tuesday stands as the top day for sending out emails. This is followed by Thursday and then Wednesday. For companies that send out multiple emails a week, sending out the first on Tuesday and the second on Thursday is desirable.
What makes Tuesday so much better than other days of the week? According to MailChimp, Tuesday receives the most email opens when compared to all other days of the week. This is because, on Monday, most workers spend time catching up on accumulated weekend work, so Tuesday stands as the best time to sift through the email.
Does the Content Impact When to Send?
One of the most important questions the head of an email marketing campaign can ask is whether or not their content will have an impact on when to send. The short answer to this is yes, it does. Different material will experience a different open rate. Business-related material opens better during the week, while more fun, hobby related content sees an increased open rate during the weekend. This is because the recipients of the content can spend more time on the hobby-based material during the weekends. According to MailChimp, businesses see roughly 16 percent of email recipients open mail during the weekend as opposed to the week. Business, financial and nonprofit emails drop down to 15 percent, just under the average, and government based emails drop further to 14 percent.
However, on the flip side, arts and artist based email content increases to 17 percent, eCommerce and retail emails push up to 18 percent, and emails focusing on hobbies sees a jump all the way to 21 percent. So yes, email open rates during the weekends will vary, depending on the subject and context of the sent material.
Best Time of the Day to Email
Just like the best days of the week, there are better times during the day to send out an email than others. However, there are a few different time frame potentials, depending on the content and the recipient.
According to CoSchedule (2017), the 10 am time slot is the very best for sending out messages. It receives the top open rate and isn’t bogged down by all the messages sent during the previous night. This way, by the time a recipient has gone through all of his or her messages from the night before, the 10 am message will land without as much competition.
As the same research from CoSchedule points out, the next best time period to send an email is the 8 pm time slot. This likely receives the second most number of views from recipients because many users check their email accounts prior to going to bed.
The third most popular time frame for sending emails is 2 pm. Following lunch, workers begin to wind down and check out of work mode. When this happens they begin to look for distractions online. In environments where social media accounts are blocked on work computers, email becomes a primary distracter. So checking emails at this time becomes that much more likely.
The fourth best time for sending emails is early in the day at 6 am. In fact, according to the same CoSchedule information, 50 percent of workers begin their day checking emails from their bed. As they wake up they sift through their email, social media accounts and other resources. This is also a reason why email marketing material should be formatted for mobile usage.
According to HubSpot, more emails are opened around 11 am than at any other time during the day. This would correspond with a desirable 10 am time slot for sending out the emails. 10 am is the second highest email open time during the day as well, so by sending the email out around 10 am, it ensures the message is there for both the 10 and 11 am time slots. Following 11 am, the number of opens does begin to drop off significantly. At Hubspot indicates, nearly 30,000 emails are opened at 11 am. By 6 pm, this number drops down to around 16,000 emails. So, for optimal open rates during the day, both HubSpot and CoSchedule suggest sending out emails at 10 am.
Know the Time Zone
It is important for a person in charge of an email marketing campaign to understand the time zone of their recipients. In fact, it may prove beneficial for the company to segment emails into time zones. This way, the emails can go out to both emails in Eastern Standard Time and Pacific Time at a set time period. Instead, if the emails go out at once, one-time zone will either receive the messages too late or too early.
Is Everyone the Same?
Every business has a very specific demographic. At least, if the marketing and sales departments are conducting the right amount of research, the company should have a very clear idea of their customers. With so much information available for identifying the target audience, the key time for sending out emails may shift, at least slightly. While it is impossible to document every single variation in demographics, MailChimp does indicate there are some slight variations in when individuals of specific ages check and respond to emails.
MailChimp looked at three different age groups: over retirement, forties and in college. While the general pattern for opening emails remained more or less consistent, there were some slight shifts in when recipients opened their emails. In general, the older the individual, the earlier they are going to check their emails (on average). Email recipients of a retirement age have the highest click through and open rate between 8 and 10 am. Those who are in their 40s have a higher click-through rate between 10 and 11 am, while college-age students have a higher click-through rate around 1 pm. College-age individuals check their emails less often between 3 am and 12 pm than the other two age groups, but between 1 pm and up to 3 am, they are more likely to open their emails than the other two age groups.
Is There a Difference Between Conservatives and Liberals?
When breaking down target audiences and key demographics, it may seem logical to look at political affiliation. However, MailChimp has indicated there is very little shift in when individuals of either political party actually open and click through emails. In general, Republicans are ever so slightly more likely to open emails earlier on in the day, namely between 7 am and 9 am. On the other hand, Democrats are ever so slightly more likely to open emails between 7 pm and 2 am. However, these numbers are minuscule higher. This is because while a person’s political connection may affect certain aspects of their day and what they do, it really doesn’t affect their overall schedule or when they check their email.
Keep In Mind Careers
The MailChimp information also suggests email marketers need to keep in mind the kind of work their customers and recipients have. This plays a big role in when an email may be received and viewed. Lawyers, for example, tend to check their emails early on in the day. Then, after lunch, many attorneys are out of the office in court or meeting with clients. Due to this, emails are most likely to be opened around 9:30 am. The open rate remains higher through 12:30 pm but then drops off significantly. Bartenders and those who work night shifts (such as servers, bouncers, and barbacks), on the other hand, are more likely to open emails later in the day due to their shift in sleep schedule. These professionals are more likely to open their emails beginning around 12:30 pm with a slight drop off through 3:30 pm. After that, the email open rate drops off as the individuals prepare for their work shift.
Constantly Test and Monitor
With so many variables at play, it is important for marketers to constantly test, tinker and monitor email marketing campaign results. What works not only for one company, but one segmented target audience within the company might not be the same for other segmented sections of the email list. It will take some time to finely tune the process of sending out emails, but in the long run, it is well worth constantly testing out and monitoring results. It also is a reason as to why email marketers need to take advantage of as many analytical services and reports as possible. The more analytical data based on the segmented email campaigns, the easier it becomes to tune up for future campaigns.
Email marketing is a must for any business to thrive. It allows companies to instantly connect with segmented portions of its customer base or reach out to prospective clients. However, in order to increase click through and open rates, it is necessary to understand the best times of the day and days of the week to send out messages. The exact time frames will vary slightly depending on the key demographic and the content of the messages. However, by using the provided information and some experimentation, it is possible to boost the email marketing campaign’s return on investment.