Your recipient wakes up in the morning. They flick open their phone and open up their inbox. With bleary eyes, they see that overnight, they’ve received 15 new emails. There are newsletters, CRM updates, project emails, promotions, social media notifications, and somewhere within that pile, your email.
At best, your email is going to garner the smallest bit of their attention as they swipe their way through the inbox. It’s a chore for them. It’s devastating for your email campaign. So, how can you avoid this situation? How can you ensure that your email gets the best chance at grabbing the recipient’s attention? Timing.
In this article, we’ll share precisely why you should pay attention to the timing of your email. We’ll also answer questions such as;
- What factors influence email timing?
- Are there best practices to follow when timing emails?
- How can you find out the best time to send an email?
We live in a time where connecting to someone is easier than it has ever been. Yet, connecting with them on a quality level where you can genuinely communicate? It’s never been harder. Quite the paradox.
It’s certainly no different when it comes to email. For email marketers, it’s a challenge. Your content will get you so far, but that requires the recipient to receive and then open the email. Even if you know precisely how to format an email, it’s no use if it remains unread.
Your email is going to be fighting against a seemingly overwhelming pile of notifications. So, how does timing help?
The first reason is our behavior as humans. Everyone is different, but we can go with majority rules in most instances. People tend to follow a fairly typical routine. They wake up, get ready for the day, work, come home, relax, sleep. Yes, that’s an oversimplification, but it does speak for the majority.
It’s your job to consider where your email fits into their routine. Would it be best received over the morning coffee? Or would it gain engagement during the evening wind down? Only you know this. It’ll be dictated by the content of your email and the knowledge you have about your audience.
There are technical reasons why timing matters too. If you’re running an email campaign, marketing a new product for example, open rates, click-through rates, and other email marketing metrics will interest you. These are excellent metrics to show campaign success. They also tell a story. Low engagement rates could suggest mistiming. The opposite would indicate a well-timed email.
Avoiding the spam filter should be a top priority. If you ever ask yourself why your emails are going to spam, it might be because you’ve annoyed too many people with badly timed emails. If people dislike the timing, they are more inclined to mark them as spam. Especially if it’s a regular occurrence.
The Perfect Time To Send
Unfortunately, there isn’t a perfect time to send that can be applied to everyone. The short answer is that it depends. It depends on what you’re sending and who you’re sending it to. Consider your own individual situation and these influencing factors:
Who are you sending the email to? The recipients make up your target audience. Think about their daily routine and what they might be up to. Take a campaign that is targeting CEOs and CMOs. It wouldn’t be a good idea to send your email first thing on a Monday. They’ll already have too much to do. Think like this and consider their typical habits.
B2B vs B2C
Businesses that are emailing businesses will have different “best” times than those emailing consumers directly. B2B will often get the best results by emailing within the working day. That’s especially true when paired with a business email template. B2C often will get more engagement in the evenings or on weekends as their recipients spend more time scrolling.
Different demographics access emails at different times. Retired recipients might access emails regularly throughout the day. Young professionals are more likely to engage during morning commutes. Hobbies might be a factor too. An outdoor supplies business is catering to people who will spend their weekends exploring nature. They shouldn’t email then.
If your business has an international audience, then you should segment users by their timezone. Don’t fall into the trap of only thinking about your local audience. It might be the perfect time for them, but the middle of the night for others.
Days Of The Week
Research shows that Tuesdays to Thursdays receive the most engagement. Monday mornings receive the lowest engagement. There are other considerations too, such as sending an email on Friday afternoon, which might mean it sits there until Monday. As with the other factors above, consider your audience and their habits.
Using Analysis To Determine The Best Time
It doesn’t all have to be guesswork. There are ways that you can begin to get clues to the best times to send your emails. A great deal of it lies within your analysis of the campaigns that you’re sending. Understand that you’re unlikely to nail it the first time, but if you use the results and data, you can make improvements for the next campaign.
A/B testing is the digital world’s equivalent of trial and error. In this instance, send exactly the same email to two similar groups but at different times. They should be times that you consider to be worthy of testing. You can then analyze which group received the best engagement rates. That can then influence your next sending time.
If you’re using a sophisticated email marketing tool, such as Instantly, you’ll have access to a treasure trove of analytical data in the form of key metrics. The best metrics to consider when choosing the best time to send an email include:
- Open Rate: The higher your open rate is, the more people bothered to open your email. If your open rate is high, then it means you’ve hit a good time window. Bear in mind that the average across all industries hovers around 20%.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): Opening your email is the first step, but real engagement comes in the form of action. Every email you send should include a call to action that directs the reader to the next step. This could be a link to your website or your calendar. These clicks are measured by CTR as a percentage. The higher the rate, the better the engagement.
- Conversion Rate: This is the next step. How many of those who clicked through actually completed the action?
Don’t be afraid to simply ask your recipients! Chances are they’ll be more than happy to tell you when is best to contact them. You can run regular surveys and make this one of the questions that you ask. You won’t be able to please everyone, but you can work with the majority of recipients. Remember that if you ask for feedback, you should then respond to that feedback and adapt your practices accordingly. That completes the loop.
Change Your Behavior
As alluded to in the last point, be ready to adapt and change your behavior. Audiences change. Situations evolve. What worked for your last campaign might not work for your next. You should be ready to adapt as you’re required.
There are lots of tools on the market that can lend some insight and help with determining the best time to send emails. Remember that these tools will work best when combined with your best judgment and understanding of your audience.
- Email Marketing Tools: Tools such as Instantly and Mailchimp offer analytical insight and email tracking. They also offer automation and sending schedules so that you can guarantee that your email is sent at the right time, even if you’re not at your desk.
- Analytics: Google Analytics and other analytics tools offer insight into email campaigns and visitors to your website. You could investigate what time of day your website gets the most traffic and test how emails fare at that time.
Imagine back to the person in our opening. They spent the morning ignoring, filing, or deleting their flooded inbox. Later in the day, perhaps during a coffee break, a value-laden email arrives with perfect timing. They open it, read it, and move on to a suggested blog article. That’s the power of email timing. It’s an opportunity to connect rather than simply contact.
- You should gauge your target audience’s demographics and habits while considering your sending time.
- Adhering to time zones will be appreciated by an international audience.
- You don’t have to rely on your best guess. Use email tools and analytics to be more precise.
There’s little use in picking the perfect time to send an email if there’s a risk it won’t arrive at all. Thankfully, Instantly can also help you with all kinds of deliverability issues. See for yourself and get started with it today.