There is no one perfect time to send out a marketing email campaign. Why? Because there are just too many variables to deal with. What might work for another company won’t necessarily work for you.
The complexities of the email marketing audience
There are just too many variables involved to say when to send emails. Here are just a few of them:
- The business sector in which the recipient works (financial, media, construction, public, medical etc.)
- Whether the receiver is commercial of domestic
- Their age
- Their sex and sexual orientation
- The location of the recipient
- Economic status, from poor to rich and everything in between
- Educational status
- Employment status and position
- Marital status and whether the target market has children or not
- Political viewpoint of the person targeted
- Religious beliefs – different faiths have different holy days and that can influence when they might look at their email
And these are relatively stable variables. Then there’s the macro environment; the time of year, emotional state of the recipient, weather or even natural disasters. They all conspire to ensure that there is no such thing as the right time, every time, to send a marketing email to a specific target market for your product.
Email marketing rules of thumb
The accepted wisdom is that…
- You shouldn’t send marketing emails on a Monday morning as the recipients’ email boxes will be chock full.
- The likelihood of an email being opened drops by half after the first hour after it’s been sent.
- Very few emails are sent at weekends so you might catch the domestic target market while they’re enjoying their well-earned break or the business target market when they check up on email during the weekend. It might work.
- The top CTR for B2B emails occurs on Fridays, possibly because the emails get read during after work drinks on a Friday evening or they get read during the weekend.
- The best campaigns run from Tuesday to Thursday – for both B2B and B2C customers.
- The four “hot” times for email being opened and actioned are 08:00 – 09:00 (journey into work), 12:00 – 14:00 (lunch time), 17:00 – 19:00 (catching people on their way home) and 23:00 – 00:00 (the hour during which many retire for the night).
- Success depends on a targeted and finely tuned campaign. That means segmentation and testing.
In addition to the list of email marketing audience complexities, as above, you can segment your targets using these criteria:
- Split your B2C and B2B clients apart and target them at the right times and days of the week.
- Make sure you send out content that matches the language of the client. It’s no use sending English based content to a Chinese client.
- Take into account such differences as time zone and culture (e.g. different weekend days).
To fine tune your campaign you’re going to have to test it thoroughly and that’s where A/B Split Testing comes in. A/B Split Testing is the simple idea, if not always in practice, of sending out two versions of the same marketing email. They will be exactly the same except for one factor. You then can monitor which emails are most successful, i.e. best Open Rates and Click Through Rates, and apply those lessons to the next campaign.
Here are a few variables that you can test:
- Subject line content
- Sender’s name
- Email content
- Time of day and day of week
If you only take one thing away from this article…
The trick here is to be willing to recognize what works and what doesn’t. Someone like Mailigen can make this process a whole lot easier especially as it offers both a selection of built-in segmentation tools AND a new A/B Split Testing facility. So let your motto be: “I will be constantly vigilant and flexible in my approach”.