How To Think More About Send Time

So apparently variety is the spice of life, but does the same ring true with regards to your email marketing efforts?

In today’s post, we’re going to look at timing and ask, is timing really everything?

If you send a daily/weekly/monthly email, should it be sent out like clockwork or is there a case for shaking it up a little every now and again?

Some say that if your recipients know that you’re going to email them at the same time every day or on the same day every week, they’ll look forward to hearing from you and will be sure to open your email in their inbox.

However, the ways we interact with technology and email have changed pretty rapidly over the past few years (even months). Even if you invested resource into determining the ideal send time for your emails a couple of years ago, I’d be willing to bet that your recipients (and their email habits) have changed somewhat since then.

I spoke to Francesca, head of editorial for Fresh Business Thinking who told me that they’d been sending their newsletters daily at 8am on the dot for as long as she could remember (at least 4 years) and their open rate had been pretty consistent during that time.

In an effort to improve their stats she opted for shaking things up a little. Francesca trialled a month long test for each of the new times she wanted to try sending at and was pleasantly surprised that their open rate increased by almost an entire per cent when they opted for sending at just gone midnight,  minutes into the send day.

Francesca said that ‘we chose 3 times to trial based on what we thought our recipients might be doing at those times. Midnight was one of the times we chose because we send (in the main) to business directors, owners & entrepreneurs and we know they work late, often past midnight or else start very early. We also know that almost all of them use smartphones so even if they’re not at their computer they’re likely to still be ‘switched on’.’

‘4/5 years ago 8am sends worked for us but we knew that as our recipients were changing we needed to adapt to keep up. We’re going to experiment further by making subtle changes other components of our emails following the success of this test, but that’s another story!’

Here are our top tips for determining your send time:

  • Think about your audience. What are they likely to be doing at the very moment that you currently send at? What about throughout the rest of the day?
  • Examine data that you’ve collected from previous campaigns to find out where your engagement peaks. If it is pretty constant then use the current data as a benchmark against any new send times that you trial.
  • Is there a day of the week that you get more emails from others in your industry? If so, there might be a reason for that. It also might be a total coincidence but you’ll never know if you don’t test.

Whilst there can be no absolute guarantee of reaching all of your subscribers at once, with the right data and some well-considered generalised user habits at your fingertips you can help to determine the perfect send time for your business which will hopefully result in increased engagement, interaction and possibly even custom.

Have you performed a similar test with your campaigns? I love to read your thoughts, tips and questions, so please don’t hesitate to speak your mind below, or tweet @dotMailer – we always respond.