How to Time Your Message in Email Marketing

Timing matters. 

“Timing is everything.  There is a tide in the affairs of men which when taken at the flood leads on to fortune.”  said William Shakespeare. 

Most applicable for email marketing, however, is a quote by Albert Einstein: “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”

From my perspective, the best way to find out when your email recipients want to receive emails from you is to ask.  When you first receive permission from a subscriber to send email marketing material, send an email early in the relationship.  Ask the following questions:

  • What day works best for you to have time to enjoy and absorb?  These are the days I’ll send any newsletters or unique information I’ve gathered just for you.     Please check the box.
    • Monday
    • Tuesday
    • Wednesday
    • Thursday
    • Friday
    • Saturday
    • Sunday
  • What time of the day do you open emails from me?  If I know this, I’ll send in this time frame so it will be easy for you to find.  Please check the box.
    • 8AM-noon
    • Noon – 4PM
    • 4PM – 8PM
    • 8PM-midnight
    • Midnight – 4AM
    • 4AM – 8 AM
  • If we’re making a special offer for only our very best customers, and it’s only available for a short time period, one or two days, how many reminders would you like me to send each day before the deadline?
    • none
    • one
    • two
    • three

“Ask and you shall receive.”  Your prospects and customers will like being asked.  It shows that you care about their time, and that you know it is valuable.  Treating their time with respect will gain you knowledge and respect.

Once you have accumulated this data, you can track and measure.  If you want to test how well this works, you could split your email list in half, send a questionnaire to one half, and randomly pick a particular time to send emails to the other half.  Then track and compare the results of the two groups.  See which group has the best response rate.   Not only which group has the highest open rate, but which group has the highest purchase or usage rate. 

Similarly, for the best day of the week to send emails, the best way to find out is to ask.  Then, after you have gathered the responses, test your two groups and compare.  MailerMailer and eRoi studies over the past several years show higher open and click rates over the week-end and beginning of the week.

You can, of course, go through all of your previous email campaigns to review the results and see if you can find a pattern.  If your market, for example, is motorcycles or motorcycle gear, you may find the best time to send informational emails about motorcycle races and events, or weather reports in areas known to be frequented by your customers, to be a Thursday.  That way the information is relevant and useful for week-end planning.

And, of course, if you know your marketplace normally purchases in connection with their regular payday…coupons, sales, and regular product advertisement is most likely to produce results if it shows up on or shortly before that occurs.

The main point, as you know, is timing to your prospect and customer’s needs and desires.  Make sure your email arrives just in time…the right time…to provide exactly what they need when they need it. 

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