Step out of your business hat for a moment. Have a little think about the last few times you acted on an email newsletter that popped in to your inbox. Which ones got your attention? Which ones did you mentally flag to come back to later, and then never did? Which came through just as you were expecting to log off for the day, having finally got on top of your inbox, and so were greeted with ‘click-delete’?
There are a range of factors which entice you, and your customers, to click-through to an email newsletter, read, digest, and act. However, one key one is: time. Get the timing right and you’re well on the way to maximising value from your email newsletter.
Timing is Everything
Well, actually, when it comes to email newsletters, it’s not everything. You still need to be savvy about frequency, content, subject lines, segmentation and more. But time does matter. Research proves it.
That First Click
You can have the best and most enticing email newsletter content, but if you land that email at the wrong time, the majority of your subscribers won’t even see it. Given the average open rate of emails is in excess of 30% depending on the type and size of business, you need to make sure you aren’t missing any potential click-throughs just because you got the timing wrong. There are some general rules of thumb to follow when it comes to pitching the timing of your emails:
- Monday Blues: Monday hits the working week with an avalanche of demands combined with a feeling of general melancholy that the weekend is over. People sit down at their desks with that first caffeine hit of the week and open an inbox that is already overwhelming. That first caffeine hit is accompanied by a click-delete routine. Farewell email newsletters.
- Weekend Absence: Weekends are also problematic for email newsletter click-throughs. People generally have lives away from their inbox, and so this isn’t generally a good time to send them either. This also applies to middle of the night: We all have to sleep sometime.
- Give People Time: Whilst 23% of all email opens happen in the first hour after receipt, you also need to give people a little time. For example, with event reminder emails it’s best to send them out 3-5 days in advance to give them a chance to act.
- Terrific Tuesday: Tuesday is the best day to send out email newsletters but Wednesday and Thursday can be pretty good too.
- Mid-morning Reading: Emails are most likely to be read at 10am. Hit the mid-morning sweet spot just before elevenses and you’re really bang on the money.
Beyond the General Rule
The above said, there are of course situations when the general rules of thumb should be thrown out of the window. In fact, there are a whole heap of exceptions to these rules making it a little more complicated than just sending your email newsletters at 10am on a Tuesday.
The reality is you need to ascertain what timing works best for your specific audience. Combine this with the fact that because Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays have been deemed good for sending emails, and you’re competing with a whole heap of other email newsletters landing in the same time window. Your subscriber may struggle to see the wood for the trees and revert to their trusty click-delete.
Therefore, it can sometimes work in your favour to buck the trend a little bit. Get in first. This might mean that you discover that actually Monday afternoon works for you, or Tuesday at 8am.
Then there’s also the device involved. Again, you need to know your subscribers. Over 50% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. However, that’s an average. Perhaps 80% of your subscribers open their emails on a mobile device, or just a paltry 20%. The device used affects the best time to send. Generally speaking, you want to be entering a desktop inbox in the middle of the day, and a mobile inbox in the evening. Similarly, if your email newsletter is aimed at B2B, rather than personal retail, you suddenly have completely different ideas of when your subscribers will be open to reading your newsletter. Consider age and demographics carefully.
The Best Time to Send Your Email Newsletters
So the actual answer looks a little more complicated – the best time to send your email newsletters will depend on your specific audience. However, you want to get up close and personal with audience because this will help you in understanding so much more about maximising email newsletter potential so don’t shy away from seeking that knowledge. And once you’ve done that? Test. Test which times and day works best for you, not some generic average of the data.