When to send or when not to send – that is the question.
When it comes to emailing your leads and customers, how do you decide when the best time to send is? How can you predict the optimal day and time that people open emails? Although it’s never the same for every business, the main goals of sending out an email blast is for recipients to open the emails we send (Email Open Rates) and follow through in the email to your website or landing page (Click Through Rates).
Why Send Emails?
Email marketing is a tactic with proven results. 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email (Convinceandconvert.com). Emailing your leads and customers also have more subtle (but influential) outcomes, such as spreading awareness of your brand.
You can connect with your target audience and keep them informed, which in turn builds your credibility. And of course, email marketing can generate leads – signing up for your newsletter could mean a conversion later on from a secondary email.
Bonus for your business – you can use content you already have and promote it in an email blast such as a newsletter, which saves you time instead of having to create new content. Just round up your company’s best blog posts/products/promos/anything and fire away!
What is Open Rate?
Open Rate = Emails Opened / Emails Sent
Open rate is a measure of how many people in an email list view a particular email campaign, usually shown as a percentage. So if you email 10 people and 7 people open your email, you have a 70% Open Rate.
What is a Click Through Rate?
Click Through Rate = Number of People who Clicked the Link / Total Number of Email Recipients
Your email Click Through Rate is the number of people who click any link that you’ve added to in your email. For example, if you send out a promo email for 20% off your online store, it’s considered a successful Click Through if someone opens the email, then follows that link to your site to the promo.
The Best Time(s)?
There are countless studies online that seem to have nailed down the best days and times to send out your emails. Here are some of these emailing benchmarks:
- Tuesday’s emails have the highest open rate compared to the other weekdays (Experian)
- Consumers were highly responsive on the last day of the work week on Fridays (Emarketer)
- Sending emails on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday will yield the best results (Email Marketing)
- A higher percentage of emails get opened on Tuesdays and Thursdays (MailChimp)
- Best time to send emails: Thursday 8 – 9 am (Wordstream)
- The best open rates tend to be seen in emails that are sent around noon or 1:00pm (Email Marketing)
- The highest engagement rates occur between 8:00 PM and 12:00 AM (Experian)
- If you send emails earlier in the morning or later at night, your odds of getting a response go from about one in three to almost one in two (Forbes)
Confused yet? So were we. There are a few conflicts that you can pick out pretty easily from these benchmarks. Nobody has nailed down the perfect time or day to send out emails to get the best response rate.
Timing Isn’t Everything
But maybe that’s the point.
Timing doesn’t matter as much as as other factors to get the best Open and Click Through Rates. Of course, it’s important to exercise common sense when sending emails – very few people will be opening your company’s newsletter Friday night at 11pm.
So what’s more important than timing?
How to Increase Your Email Open and Click Through Rates
Confirm that your emails actually send and go to working email addresses. NeverBounce is a tool that goes through your list and flags bounced email addresses before you do your mailout. You can also expect 10-20% of your emails to land in a spam filter (MailChimp), but that can be avoided ahead of time. Certain phrases can trigger for spam – check here for tips on how to stay out of the spam filters.
Too many people check messages on the go to let mobile slide. Craft responsive emails that work on any device. Another thing to keep in mind is load time and data consumption – avoid embedding videos or heavy graphics into your emails.
3. Audience & List Segmentation
The content in your email should be relevant to your audience. Don’t send vegans recipes for steak or you bet they’ll be hitting that unsubscribe button!
4. Stand Out
Make it so people want to check your emails. Create a catchy subject line and do what your company does best to stand out from the crowd. 64% of people say that they open an email based on the subject line (SalesForce).
5. Keep Clutter at Bay
Pick one thing to be the focus of the email and decide it ahead of time. What is the purpose of the email? Now only use one main CTA for that specific thing – use visual hierarchy to keep your email clutter free and balanced.
6. Alt Text
So your email doesn’t show up as blank in some inboxes. It’s more of a catch-all, but it gives people an idea of what you’re sending out rather than them seeing a bunch of empty space.
7. Email Frequency
Frequency is a balancing act. The goal is to be kept on their radar without being spammy. This depends on your business, but once a week or so should be plenty.
Seeing your own name in an email catches people’s attention. Try making the email more personal by using their first name in the greeting – but only if they’ve already introduced themselves or given you their name. There’s friendly and then there’s too friendly.
9. Test, Test, Test
And then test again. Try running A/B testing on subject lines, send times and days, email content, CTAs, anything at all. Send out your email blast to two different groups and track which ones have better Open and Click Through Rates.
One Size Never Fits All
As usual, this method might work for some, but one size never fits all with marketing (if only it were that simple). At Accel Web Marketing we specialize in Conversion Path Optimization and Marketing Automation, where we do the heavy lifting for email marketing. Give us a shout, or leave us a comment and tell us what you do to get higher Open and Click Through Rates.