When is the best time to send an email?
We get asked this question a lot. This is not a simple question, it has a variety of answers based on how you run your business and what you are looking to achieve.
So when is the right time to send an email? Let’s break it down into sections.
How you use email marketing?
How you use email marketing, will determine your options in finding the right time to send out your marketing messages.
- Do you use marketing lists?
- Do you have a regular email newsletter?
- Do you use any marketing automation software?
There are two different ways of adopting email marketing, list based and data driven marketing.
List based email marketing
List based email marketing is the ‘traditional’ method of email marketing. That is email marketing messages that are scheduled to an audience or manually pushed at a time that is decided by the marketer within the business. Finding the right time to send these messages is one of the biggest questions the marketer within business is looking to find the answer for. This is also a very manual process.
Data Driven Marketing Automation
Data Driven Marketing Messages are driven through marketing automation processes and require marketing automation software such as Websand. The timing of these messages are driven by the behaviour of the target audience. This results in a type of ‘pull’ marketing which is highly targeted to each person that receives the message.
Data Driven Marketing messages tend not be batch based. They are usually sent individually and automated. As a result, businesses that adopt these processes find that;
- Less email is sent,
- Response rates are higher,
- It takes less time as its all automated.
It should also be noted that for businesses using marketing automation software finding the right time to send your email marketing messages is usually taken care of as part of the customer centric marketing process you create.
When to send B2B Email Marketing
If you are sending a direct sales message to a B2B audience then sending the message during business hours would be sensible.
In sales, there is a ‘sales rectangle’ that was considered to the optimal time for sales. That was typically between Tuesday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.
However, for B2B email marketing my preference is to send out any marketing messages before 2pm. That way you have the rest of the day to handle responses.
If you are sending a daily news bulletin, then these messages are usually sent out early in the business day. If the message is more of a summary of events, then these tend to be sent out later in the week.
Find the right time for your Audience
With any marketing audience, you should always consider the audience and try to consider when would be the most appropriate time to send the message. A little bit of thought, investigation and a bit of common sense works wonders here.
For our Sunday Supplement was based around conversations with customers and contacts about their behaviour on a Sunday afternoon. Quite a few mentioned that they checked their email and ‘caught-up’ with things on a Sunday. So that became the basis for our Sunday Supplement, so far it been well received. If you aren’t signed up, please do so 🙂
When to send B2C email marketing
The correct time to send B2C email marketing messages is completely dependent on the business and the objective behind message they are sending. In the majority of cases, B2C email marketing will be used to drive traffic to generate online sales, rather than looking to promote in-store traffic.
As a result, increasing B2C email marketing is being driven by marketing automation software such as Websand. Using marketing automation software, businesses can create marketing processes that will sent based on the activity of a customer. Through this process, the marketing messages that you send to your customers should always be at the relevant time.
Time Sensitive Messages
If you are pushing a time sensitive message, then work back from the time that the message expires and consider the best time for the audience.
Allow them time to make decisions and build in follow up messages to remind the audience on the run up to the expiry of the message.
But remember to be relevant. For example, if people only need to respond once, then make sure that they don’t receive the follow up messages. It can devalue your brand.
Email Campaign History
When trying to establish the best time to send a marketing email, the history of previous email marketing campaigns can provide a useful guide.
Did the timing of an email message make any difference to the response?
In my experience this also proves the ‘long tail for email marketing’. When reviewing the response from any marketing message – the first week provides the focal point. How many were delivered? How many opens? How many clicks?
However, because of the structure of email inboxes, email marketing messages can stay ‘in play’ for a quite a long time. Key responses can still be collected a long time after the initial email marketing message was issued.
This is always worth considering, and it can be difficult to measure. This is one of the reasons why Websand collects email response information back against both the individual and the email marketing message. So we can understand results and see the big picture.
The best time to send your email marketing messages?
So in summary, when is the right time to send out your email marketing messages?
The answer depends on the following
- a) your business offering – B2B, B2C, online, offline
- b) the response you are looking to generate from your audience – sales, registration, telephone call, event registration?
- c) history – which times have worked in the past.
- d) the customer data you hold.
As technology evolves and marketing automation software becomes more accessible to businesses, the answer to when is the best time to send ‘that’ marketing message to ‘that’ section of your audience becomes less important. The behaviour of your audience will answer that question for you.
If you’d like to talk more about this, pop a comment below. But if you’d like more help to manage your email marketing, we’d love to help so please get in touch.
It’s time to start getting more from your email marketing
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