What Is the Best Day to Send Emails?

Somewhere, in the world just on the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical day for sending emails. The messages sent to customers and prospects on that day get more responses and generate more revenue than any other email. There is only one problem for marketers—catching a leprechaun is easier than identifying that day

Somewhere, in the world just on the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical day for sending emails. The messages sent to customers and prospects on that day get more responses and generate more revenue than any other email. There is only one problem for marketers—catching a leprechaun is easier than identifying that day.

I know that finding that special day is important to marketers because they consistently ask me, “What is the best day to send emails?” For some consultants, this is a perfect segue into a sales pitch. Finding the best time to send emails is a project that can take months of testing. For me, the question is extremely challenging because I am not an “it depends” consultant. I am a teacher who happens to consult. Showing clients how to solve marketing problems is what I do best. My clients operate in continuous improvement mode. We work together to identify what works best and then dig deeper to improve on that.

The real answer to the question is this: The best day to send an email is the day that the recipient is most likely to act. This is not the answer people want to hear. They want a day of the week, not a response that generates more questions than answers:

  • How do we know when a person is ready to act?
  • What action should the recipient take?
  • Can’t you just tell us what our competition is doing?
  • Aren’t there best practices for choosing the day to send emails?
  • Why is this so hard?

If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it! Since it is and they don’t, doing it well gives your company a competitive edge.

How Do We Know When a Person Is Ready to Act?
People act when they have a need, real or perceived. Timing emails to match when people are most likely to act requires behavior analysis. Reviewing historical data to see what prospects and customers do before they buy gives insight into action patterns. Once the patterns have been identified, test copy and timing to find the most effective messages and delivery.

Well-crafted emails create perceived needs. Reading copy that speaks directly to the individual motivates even the toughest prospect to complete the next step. Invest in good copywriters and designers who can create messages that appeal to multiple senses. Timing becomes less important when the needs are clearly defined.

What Action Should the Recipient Take?
Most emails are blasted out to customers and prospects in hopes of generating some revenue. Products or coupons are posted in a gallery to be sent to everyone on the list. This shotgun approach gets sales so marketers keep doing it until subscribers die from email fatigue. The only actions for the recipient are to buy or not buy.

Buying action doesn’t create customer loyalty. A good email marketing strategy is designed to get people involved enough to be loyal. It includes actions like asking, learning and sharing. The ownership established by participating in a marketing program that include more than “click to buy” increases lifespan and lifetime value. Test emails that include call to actions beyond buying to see what works best for your business.

Can’t You Just Tell Us What Our Competition Is Doing?
Implementing a marketing strategy based on your competition’s activity is risky. What if your competitors aren’t testing to find the best methods? Ignoring your competitors’ activity is equally risky. What are they telling your customers and prospects? Monitor what your competitors are doing by subscribing to their emails, watching online reviews, and shopping their business (when being a secret shopper is feasible).

When people are ready to buy, email timing can determine who gets the sale. If your company is sending emails once a week and your competitors are sending them five times, then they are more likely to be in the front of the line when the buying decision is made. Find the right balance between what you know works and what your competitors are doing to keep your business in the forefront.

Aren’t There Best Practices for Choosing the Day to Send Emails?
There are always best practices. The top three have to work together to get the best results. They are:

  1. Analyze behavior to find the factors that move people into the sales funnel.
  2. Test different strategies to find the best message and delivery time.
  3. Monitor competitors for content and delivery to insure that your strategy is competitive.

In addition to monitoring specific companies, services like the Who’s Mailing What! email archive provide additional insight. Last month the email activity by day and industry was:

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

Total

Retail

15%

15%

15%

15%

18%

10%

12%

100%

B-to-B

17%

21%

20%

21%

17%

3%

2%

100%

Non-Profit Fundraising

15%

19%

13%

23%

23%

5%

3%

100%

Financial Services/ Investments

4%

9%

30%

4%

48%

0%

4%

100%

Travel

13%

21%

17%

21%

20%

6%

2%

100%

Insurance

24%

10%

19%

0%

48%

0%

0%

100%

Looking at this gives you an idea of when your customers and prospects are receiving competitive messages. You can use this information to create tests that will go head to head with the competition or you choose send times when the competition is less likely to be present.

The magical send day remains elusive, but hopefully this post helps you find the best strategy for your business. Investing the time and effort required to understand more about the things that make people buy from your business is guaranteed to deliver a good return. The more you know, the better you can serve and the less likely they will shop elsewhere.

Get Ready for 2013: Email Marketing Redefined

How much time do you spend thinking about your email marketing strategy? Would you make the time if you knew that changing your email marketing strategy could make your job easier, increase revenue, and improve customer acquisition and retention? Email campaigns can do it all, but they have to be carefully planned and orchestrated to make the good things happen.

How much time do you spend thinking about your email marketing strategy? If you are like most marketers, juggling multiple channels in an ever changing marketplace doesn’t leave much time for contemplating the whys and wherefores in any area.

Would you make the time if you knew that changing your email marketing strategy could make your job easier, increase revenue, and improve customer acquisition and retention? Email campaigns can do it all, but they have to be carefully planned and orchestrated to make the good things happen. The way people access information and connect with each other is changing rapidly. Your email marketing has to adapt or die.

The best strategy is multifaceted with specific processes that move people for one stage to another. It provides access to the content via the technology that fits your customers and prospects. The people who subscribe to your messages aren’t always at their computers. Your content and how it is delivered has to adapt to their needs.

The first step in creating a comprehensive strategy is defining the purpose of your email marketing. Do you want to acquire more customers? Sell more products and services? Keep customers happy? Reduce operating costs? Or, is it all of the above?

The four primary objectives for email campaigns are:

  • Customer Acquisition
  • Sales
  • Customer Retention
  • Service

Each objective requires a customized strategy designed to move people from original contact to completion. Everything varies from the point of origin forward. The messages that sell the latest products to seasoned customers are rarely as effective with prospects. Creating a specific process for each objective moves email marketing from generic blasts to targeted marketing that connects with people. There can be some crossover, but in general, every email sent needs a specific objective and clearly defined success metrics.

Start the planning for 2013 by reviewing 2012. How many customers were acquired via emails? What percentage of sales is directly attributed to email campaigns? What percentage of sales was influenced by email marketing? How does customer retention for people who subscribe to your emails compare with those who don’t? How do service metrics compare for subscribers versus non-subscribers? You have to know where you are before you plan the journey to your destination.

Next, look at the content of the emails sent in 2012. Does it match the information in your analysis? Are there exceptions? For example, if the majority of the emails were sales promotions, then a low customer acquisition rate and strong sales generation would be expected. If there are any exceptions, try to identify the elements that made people act.

The last part of the 2012 review is looking at segmentation and consistency. Was your list segmented so people received emails targeted by behavior, or did everyone on your list receive the same emails? How often did each group receive messages? Is there a pattern of response in relation to timing? Are all of the emails branded so your company is easily recognized?

The 2012 review provides a benchmarking foundation so you have a reference point for comparison. The review process often triggers ideas and awareness that can be used to maximize the return in 2013. Document your thoughts and any metrics readily available for future reference.

It is time to look forward to the New Year. What do you want to accomplish with your email marketing in 2013? The best strategies have a balanced approach to accomplishing the four primary objectives. They attract new customers, keep existing ones happy and generate revenue while reducing operating costs.

Identifying specific targets provides goals and accountability. How many customers do you want to acquire? What are your direct and indirect sales goals? How much should your retention rate increase? What effect do you expect on service levels and operating costs?

There are many questions to be answered in the process of creating a comprehensive email marketing strategy. The better the answers, the more likely your email program will succeed. Investing the time and resources required to do this right is guaranteed to generate a solid return on investment.

This post is the first in a series on developing a comprehensive email marketing strategy.