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When to send, or not to send, that is the question

March 15, 2009

Designed immaculately, planned carefully, but sent without thought. It is something that we have all been guilty of; spending limitless time and effort on an email campaign only to send it when it suits us, and then wonder why it failed to get the results we had hoped for.

Some can argue that an email is inevitably going to land in the same place regardless of when it is sent, so why bother delaying a campaign when it is ready to go? Simply put, it can be the difference between landing in the ‘deleted’ folder or being read and acted upon.

When can I send ?

Unfortunately, there is no ‘blanket’ answer to give regarding optimum delivery times. Instead, identify your target audience and call to action. For instance, do you want to achieve click through activity, generate replies or simply get people to play with and pass on your viral campaign? 

When are the worst times to send?

We have grouped our recommendations into different types of campaigns, and all are based on what has worked well for us over the past years.
 

Business to Business emails:

Monday – Friday around mid-morning and mid-afternoon excluding Monday am and Friday pm.

When emailing contacts in businesses, we are looking to catch people when they are sat at their desk, with their inbox open. If you email them at 8am, they will arrive at work to a stack of emails waiting to be read. If your email is not a priority, then it may get deleted, or read a few weeks later, or put in a folder never to be looked at again. Most likely it will get deleted.

Ideally, you’d like your email to be received when few others are vying for attention alongside it. It would be even better if your recipient saw it as the only new email received at the time, especially if the subject line draws curiosity.

Mid week days are less likely to be taken off as holidays and unlike Mondays & Fridays, your recipients will not be recovering/preparing for the weekend. We would normally suggest you steer clear of early mornings and lunch-time emails and similarly, you may find a lack of activity around 4pm onwards.

We would also say Fridays (in particular the afternoons) aren’t the best days to launch an email campaign, as it is a popular day for holidays and generally a time to unwind before a weekend. An exception to this would be light-hearted newsletters (which include games for example) and viral marketing. In this case, Friday afternoon is perfect as people are winding down, in a happier mood and keen to kill the time until the weekend by browsing through your email and forwarding a game to a colleague or friend. 

Business to Consumer emails

Thursday – Friday, 10.30am & 2.30pm onwards.

A ‘Business to Consumer’ list will contain a combination of personal addresses such as hotmails, yahoo addresses etc. as well as people who are using their work email address for personal use.
Friday afternoon therefore, would be a great way of catering for both groups. It would catch people in ‘wind-down’ mode at work, and would lie in wait for personal email address users who would typically log on a Friday night or a Saturday morning.

To take things further, you could even make a distinction between ISP addresses and business addresses, sending the company emails on a Friday and the ‘Hotmail’ type email addresses on a Saturday morning.

Again, it is important to distinguish the aim of your mailing. The above recommendations work well because they are times when your recipients will be geared up for the weekend, and will take into consideration your offerings. Weekend campaigns are great for mailings such as property alerts, or high value services that would take preparation on behalf of the buyer.

Conclusion

There are so many reasons for a campaign going out the time it did, perhaps overnight delivery was crucial to lighten the load on the server – or it was 5pm by the time you had the images, data and copy co-ordinated from various different colleagues and agencies. But timing is crucial for email campaigns and the above guide should help to ensure the maximum response rates to your campaign.

If you would like further information, please email [email protected] or call 0161 817 2929
 

Posted by Jenni Malley
Deliverability


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