When Should I Send Email and How Often?

Okay, you’ve gotten your content squared away. It looks good and reads right. Congratulations. You’ve even got your list nice and cleaned up. It’s all segmented and everything. Good job. You’re ready for the next step but a niggling doubt prevents you from moving forward: should you hit the send button now?

The question that arises for most senders at this point (and, very likely, including you) is when to send mailings. Should you send in the morning? In the afternoon? When exactly? And, further, how often should you even be sending, anyway? These very questions are the very roadblocks keeping that email of yours out of the inboxes of your subscribers. So, what then are the answers to these questions?

There aren’t any. Not simple answers, anyway.

We can’t tell you exactly when and how often to send messages to your customers or subscribers. And the truth is no one can. There is no universal “best” time of day or even day of the week to send email. Nor is there an optimal sending frequency that everyone can simply abide by. In spite of this, though, we can tell you that if you capture the right data, it’ll be obvious to you how to proceed and therefore when to send.

The reason that there is no one “ideal sending time” is that this concept is vastly complex and depends on many factors such as your industry, audience demographics and message relevancy. No one time works across the various combinations of the aforementioned. This is compounded further by the fact that, considering more and more people check email on mobile devices numerous times throughout the day, it is questionable whether there can even be a single best time to reach them. In fact, a recent Nielsen study showed email by far the number one mobile phone function. People may view your email on their mobile device while at work or on the road, but may not act on it until later that evening, or the next day. How exactly does one time for that?

Additionally, the timing of your email is dependent on the action of the customer or subscriber. Subscribers that are reading your emails, clicking on the links to gather additional information, and converting are the customers and subscribers you can typically send emails to more frequently. But you can only send to them more if the emails contain relevant information that is anticipated and/or welcome.

To determine your optimal frequency, TEST, TEST, TEST! And don’t forget to analyze your data. To mitigate the risks, carefully monitor the results of each send. Do not simply review the metrics of those emails that your subscribers are opening and clicking on; delve into the data of the emails they are not reading as this could be a sign of fatigue. It is also important to monitor your open and click-through metrics along with the number of unsubscribes and complaints. Take note of when any of these trackable events are happening. While relevant emails have fewer unsubscribes and complaints, the increase in frequency could bump the numbers up a bit if the emails aren’t directly targeted with new offers and specific information the recipients want. Value is as important as relevance. Even if you offer your subscribers relevant content, they won’t take action unless it provides some value. Reviewing all these data points over time will soon make it clear when and how often you should be sending your email campaigns. Equipped with this intelligence, take action and engage (but still continue to monitor your campaign performance, of course).

Have you discovered a time or day that works best for your email marketing campaigns? How frequently do you send? More importantly, what data collected helped you form these decisions? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear about it!

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