Email Campaign Timing

When is the best time to send an email campaign?

By guest blogger Matthew Parente, Aperio Marketing

People ask me all the time, “when should I send my email?” And usually, I have about as much information about that campaign as you do – which is not much. If you spend some time researching this question, you will find some good best practices and benchmark data. For example, if your list is mostly comprised of business email addresses, send your email during business hours. If your list is made up of mostly home addresses, then send it on weekends or after-hours. When people ask me this question, I feel they are usually looking for a direct, simple answer like this. But I generally don’t give these kinds of answers.

It is important to realize best-practices and industry benchmarks (while interesting) can be misleading. Why? Because your email list is unique. The people on your list, combined with the content you send, makes it so. (Or at least it ought to. If it doesn’t, you have other problems to address.) The only good way of knowing the best time to send an email to your list isn’t when everyone else is sending theirs, but at the time that is right for your list.

The Key is Testing
If you really want to know the best day (and the best time of day) to send your emails, conduct some tests. Split your list up into to two randomly assigned lists. Send the exact same email to half of your list on one day, and the other half gets it on another day. Keep everything else the same, including the time of day that you send it. Then see which email gets the better open and click-through rates.

These are called A/B tests, and can be done with virtually any part of your email campaigns, from the subject lines, the “From” line, the day, and time of day, the layout, content, and more. If you really want to get better with your email marketing campaigns, it will all come down to your ability and willingness to test.

Start Testing Today
Most marketers don’t test because they feel it will delay the justification for any of their activities – results. There’s an old saying about this: This best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today. More to the point, you aren’t delaying results, you are setting yourself up for better results. You will still get results during the testing phase – probably no worse than the results you have been getting. Half of the list will probably do even better than what you normally have been doing. So don’t be afraid to start testing – the only thing you have to lose is a better, more efficient marketing campaign.