What’s The Best Time to Send Email

One of the most asked questions in email marketing is - When is the best time to send out my emails?

In this article you'll find out exactly when the best time of day to send an email to your customers is.

The perfect time to send an email is just before your customer wants to read it.

It may seem obvious, yet few e-marketers attempt to do it, settling instead to send within the current 'best send times' guidelines.

Business email addresses 10:00am to 3:00pm
Personal email addresses 5:00pm to 8:00pm

The advantage of paying attention to when your customers want to read email is that you get their undivided attention, great open rates and an even better ROI.

Getting your messages into customer Inboxes at the best possible time for your customers, requires some simple analysis, segmenting and some clever technology.

Clever Email Marketing Technology

At the moment there are only a few Email Marketing Services that give you the ability to distribute your current mailout based on the individual email open history of each of your customers (for customers without an open history the mailout is sent at a predetermined time in a large batch).

Without technology to make it easy to send emails out based on every individuals preferred time, the task seems enormous, but here's a way you can get started while you wait for the technology to catch up and come to you.

Are you like your customers?

If you look around your office, or just think about when you and your friends read email, you'll recognise that there are different blocks of time during the day when people view messages. Some people like to start the day with a coffee and email, others wait for their mid-morning tea break, some enjoy catching up during their lunch break, while others finish the work day with email, when it's quiet.

The important thing here is to realise that there are blocks of time during each day that people set aside to read their messages - when they're not feeling stressed and pushed for time or distracted by things they need to do.

What's real for your Customers

By looking at the open times from previous mailouts you'll discover that your customers have preferred times of day when they open their messages, and that you can loosely group these times into blocks - such as early morning, lunch time etc.

Once you've identified two or more blocks, you can set up segments within your email mailing lists so that you're delivering directly into those all important attention time blocks.

Take a look at the open history for a typical sample of your customers. You want to look at a minimum of 10 opens for these people so that you have enough information to see if there is a trend.

You're look to see if there is a 2 - 4 hour block of time when that person is regularly opening their email.

When you've found out what the blocks are for your sample group look for the time block over laps and narrow it down to at most four different time groups (your segments based on time).

Test with your sample group by sending the same email message to each segment at a time prior to their preferred open/reading block. Check your open rates; do what works, change and retest what didn't. When you're satisfied with your results use these time groups as your segments and allocate the rest of your customer database into the segment that best corresponds with when they open emails.

To make sure you keep getting great results, sort through and review what happens in each segment regularly.

As people's lives change with the introduction of new technologies their behaviours with old technology also changes. For example, the introduction of the Blackberry absolutely changed the way and when people made phone calls, checked email and managed their time. Instead of being tied down to desk in the office, people where free to do things in very different ways, which has a direct impact on us, marketers who are looking to get the attention of these people.

Whether you choose to stick with the 'best send time' guidelines or start looking at getting your emails in Inboxes at better times, by keeping your customers informed regularly by email demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to great customer service, so stick with it.

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