If your inbox is anything like mine, then it's flooded constantly throughout the day with various marketing emails, coupons, news from friends and family and funny cat photos; but when it comes to receiving the content you actually want to read—what's the best time to receive it? And if you're on the flip-side—pushing content to your readers—what's the best time of day to send your email marketing message?
When it comes to timing, there are two inherent factors to consider: day of the week and time of day.
There are several considerations you must make before you start to test your email timing. Let's take a look at the top five:
While there are hundreds (if not thousands) of email marketing infographics you can find summarizing some of the information from different studies, I'm going to showcase just one example I've been working on for the last few years. If you want to see some infographics, here are 11 to look at now.
The following data is from a real medical industry related client that's using the HubSpot CMS to send emails to its client list. We've used other email tools as well, such as Adobe Business Catalyst and Constant Contact, but the data examples are more easily seen by HubSpot's breakdown.
[Image 1: Delivery, Open Rate and Click (through) Rate of the last 5 emails sent]
[Image 2: Time of Day, Delivery, Open Rate and Click (through) Rate of all emails sent through HubSpot - averages on right hand side]
The data that's shown above is real data, so conclusions can be drawn, the biggest for this client being that emails sent before 10:00 AM (EST) typically perform better in both open and click-through-rate. But the analysis could be done in several different ways. First, you could segment the time stamps into three sections, early morning, mid-morning, afternoon, etc. You could also re-filter it to exclude the outliers. For example, you'll see the string of really high open rates, but low CTR—those emails were a specific announcement without a real call-to-action within the email. So those low CTRs are actually an indication of a lack of CTA rather than the time stamp being poor.
This is why it's hard to test only one variate at a time, but it's important to look at your raw data and be able to draw some conclusions from a specific variable—if for no other reason than to help determine what your next test should be.
We've noticed for a while now that the morning emails perform better, so we've started sending more emails in the morning. The next steps for this client is to refine the time stamps better and segment within the 7:00 AM (EST) hour.
Have you had any recent success with testing times on email marketing? What times work best for your industry?
Photo credit: Lloyd Morgan
Maddie Weber is a Web Developer for Kuno Creative. She truly enjoys being creative, drinking lattes, focusing on user experience for website design and development, and writing haikus. You can connect with her on Twitter.