Email marketing campaigns: is there ever a perfect time?

You’ve probably heard that there’s an optimum time for sending out your email marketing materials: your newsletters and your correspondence. Supposedly, there are those times when you must never send newsletters out to your customers, and others when your efforts will be most actively appreciated.

But is it really that simple? Is there a true formula to help you determine which day, at what time and how often you should send out email marketing materials? We’ve decide to get to the bottom of this marketing urban legend once and for all…

The day of the week

A recent study by GetResponse looked at 21 million US marketing emails and endeavoured to find some degree of correlation between days of the week, open rates and read-through rates.

Want to know what they found?

According to the GetResponse figures, Thursday is the most productive day of all to send a marketing email, boasting an open ratio of 9.5% and a click-through rate of 2.19%.

The problem is, however, that these figures aren’t statistically significant. Saturday is reportedly the least productive day of the week to send a marketing email, with open rates at 6% and click through rates at 1.88%; there isn’t too significant a variation between top and bottom when it comes to email marketing, with Monday through Friday being separated by 1.5% at most.

The time of day

So what about the time of day? Is there an email marketing ‘witching hour’ that you should all seek to take advantage of? Remarkably, there is.

A separate study undertaken by Pure360 found that marketing emails were more likely to be opened and read through in the afternoon than in the morning, and particularly during the time between five and six when many people are leaving work.

The ‘optimum hour’ varies by sector, with each industry having its own unique sweet spot. Again, however, the numbers aren’t often drastically significant, with emails sent either side of your industry’s ‘window of opportunity’ just as likely to be opened and read as those sent at the perfect allotted time.

Does it really matter?

The question remains whether or not these optimal days of the week and ideal time slots make all that much difference after all.

You could bend over backwards to get your emails sent out at 5.15 pm on a Thursday afternoon but is it really worth fitting your schedule around email marketing, rather than the other way around, for the sake of a couple of per cent here and there?

In reality, there are other, more important aspects you ought to be concentrating on. For example, your email marketing materials and weekly newsletters are far more likely to be read and engaged with if they offer entertaining or informative content that your customers will actually want to view.

Bombarding your customers and clients with aimless sales materials simply because that’s all you’ve managed to do by your allotted deadline won’t help to improve your click through rates: you have to give them something more.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.