How many times a day do you check your email? Once or twice? Likely more often.
Thanks to mobile devices and tablets, people have become more flexible to how and when they check email. As a result, the traditional “best practices” around the best time to send email have changed.
There is a lot of noise around the new optimal times to send emails. Some experts believe it’s best now to send emails late at night, as subscribers are winding down from a long work day or preparing for bed. Others still believe mornings are peak time for sending emails, but that mid-morning times (10am to 11am), just as people are grabbing a second coffee or getting really settled in to their desk, is preferable over an earlier send time (7am to 8am). Even advice for steering clear of weekend emails is slowly waning as mobile use has increased (though it should be known the prime days for sending emails is still Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).
So, what’s the key takeaway from all of this? Ultimately, there is no definitive answer for the best time to send emails, as data is contradictory depending on what you’re sending and who you’re sending it to. Every campaign is different, so what works for one brand might not be the best strategy for another.
Like all other elements of email marketing, timing your email campaigns is something to be tested. As you plan timing tests, make sure your recipient pool is big enough to yield actionable results – ideally somewhere around 1,000 recipients. To begin testing, first test the day of the week to quickly narrow results. Then, move on to testing time of day by looking at two send times in the same morning/afternoon/evening/late-night bracket, such as 10am or 11am or 8pm or 9pm. If you feel strongly that a specific time would resonate with your audience based on a product or service related reason, test that time as well.
At the end of the day, timing emails requires you to think about the habits of your subscribers. What do they do for a living? What time to they go to bed and wake up? What are their behaviors, such as raising a family or commuting long distances, that would affect when they were available to check their inboxes?
Without being privy to every detail of their day, assess how and why recipients subscribe to your brand by seeking to understand their needs and put yourself in their shoes. And as always, test, test, test. Doing this will help you find optimal sending times for emails and yield better engagement results in the long run.