The Best Time To Send Email
YYet another question that I get asked very often is “Sameer, based on your experience, what is the best time to send an email to your list is?”. Early morning? Late Afternoon? Evening? Is there a best time at all?
Well, the answer to this question is evidently important to email marketers – and rightfully so! So is there a right answer to this question? Can it be backed up by data and research? And what actions should you take out of it as email marketers to decide your strategy? Read further to find out…
The Importance of Getting This Right
The importance of getting the timing right is actually pretty simple. Now I always recommend that you have excellent content and deliver great value, irrespective of how often you email your list. Though of what use is it if the mail doesn’t get opened in the first place as it was sent at the wrong time? So not only is it crucial for you to deliver excellent content but also get the timing of when it is sent out to be perfectly right. Just make sure you read this article until the end step-by-step to really get to know the secret sauce behind getting this right.
As billions of email marketing messages have been sent out by marketers to their subscribers, the good this is that a lot of data and research exists on the best time to send email But there is a problem! Quite a big one, actually. And that is that the various studies come to equally varied conclusions! Experience suggests that there is one “timing” guideline you should make, and one more thing you definitely do consistently afterward. More about that in just a bit.
The Concept of Lifespan
Everything in the Universe has a lifespan. In fact, the universe itself is supposed to have a lifespan. But before we get too philosophical or astrophysical, let’s just agree that I cover the broader topic of lifespan in a totally different blog. And not to digress…
For now, we’ll establish that marketing emails DO have a lifespan, too! No exceptions. And what is called the lifespan of the email is the duration of time that elapses after it being sent and it actually being read. For example, if an email is sent out at 10:00 AM and it gets opened at 10:45 AM, then the lifespan is 45 minutes. If opened at 12:00 PM, then the lifespan is 2 hours. Now, bear in mind that this applies only to emails that were opened. If it didn’t get opened, then it doesn’t have a lifespan, as a result.
I have used several autoresponders over time such as GetResponse, Aweber etc. There is study by GetResponse done some time back but highly relevant nevertheless. The findings are based on analyzing over 300 million messages to find top times of open and click-through rates.
The Best Time To Send Email To Your List
What this means is that if you know what time your readers are most likely going to open their emails, then send them the email a maximum of one hour BEFORE that time. That is the best time to send email. For example, if you know that your readers open their emails mostly around 9:00 AM their time, then do not send the mail before 8:00 AM their time.
The image further shows that 2-4 hours after delivery, less than 8% of all email opens occur. As the time after transmission increases, the percentage of opens also decreases dramatically. The chances that the mail will be opened 24 hours after being transmitted is practically zero.
This is powerful information. Your mail has to be in front of your recipient no earlier than ONE hour before they normally open and read their messages.
Time Travel and the Best Time to Send Email
It’s great to know that if your email reaches your subscriber within one hour of their usual time to open it, then it would be opened. But here’s a huge, different challenge – What if your subscribers are in different time zones? Most typically, this will be the case. Even if they are “only” in the United States, just as an example, most of them would be spread out over 4 time zones. How does one handle that?
Well, most autoresponders allow you to choose which hours the subscribers get the emails. In GetResponse, this is called the Time Travel feature. It knows which time zone your subscriber is in and transmits the emails accordingly.
Highest Open and Click-through Rates in the Day
As the owner and manager of your list, you would be in the best position to know when your emails get opened the most. This information is crucial for you to know what the best time to send email to your list is. You’d either know this by experience, or through analysis, or both. Through two different studies (one is a book, in fact), it turns out that best times for emails to be read are:
The timeframe around 6 AM turns out to be the highest and far exceeds any other time during the day for emails to be opened. So, sending out your emails such that it is in your readers’ inbox between 5 AM and 6 AM is the best time to send email, in this example.
Ideally, hence, you would not want your subscribers to receive your emails before 5:00 AM, or before 7:00 PM
Test, Test, Test…and Test again
Like I mentioned in the earlier blog post on how often you should email your list, testing highest open times is an absolute must for you. Together with the insight of “within one hour” stated earlier, you need to keep testing to find the best open and click-through rates for your list. This is the secret-sauce to knowing the best time to send email.
Pick two possible times you’d like to test against each other to see which yields better results. For example, 6am and 8pm. Now send an email to half of your list at 6am. And then send exactly the same email to the other half of your list at 8pm. Then check for open and click-through rates. Do this several times to prove a “winner”. Do this not just once but several times to show a trend and confirm your results. Also, test if the “one-hour lifespan” rule applies to your list. In all likelihood, it should, and you can only know if you test. Testing is essential for you to know for sure what works, and what doesn’t.
If you are looking for an email services provider (autoresponder), you can try out these out for free for the first 30 days:
I have worked with both and highly recommend them.
A Proven Template
As it turns out, even for what is the right time to send an email, a one-size-fits-all answer doesn’t exist. There are 2 key ingredients i.e. the “one-hour lifespan” and “continuous testing”, but you have also to validate these for yourself.
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