Plus, Learn the Perfect Timing for Your Business
The first step you need to know about email is why you’re sending them in the first place. The purpose of every email you send is to motivate the person to want to receive and open the next one. If you scanned through that quickly, go back and read the last sentence. It’s the most important concept you need to know about sending email and e-newsletters.
You’ve got a great cause, a great email message, a great article, or a great e-newsletter to send. And you’ve got a tribe of supporters who have offered up their email addresses, so they can stay up to date with your organization. When you do send that email, you want to stand out from the crowd and avoid the delete key or the unsubscribe link. So, now, you need to determine how often to send email—and when you should send them to your customers.
You can do a fast internet search to gain the answers to these questions. Constant Contact, MailChimp, HubSpot, Wikihow, Yahoo! and a myriad of other email programs and media/marketing resources all have different—and often changing—statistics on the best day of the week or best time of day to send email to your customer base. We suggest that you take all of these resources with a grain of salt. Why? Because you need to find the day, time, and frequency that works best for your audience, and not a national average of multiple industries. Ultimately, your email strategy is your own and unique to your business or organization and your customers.
In this article, we’ll cover some basics regarding when to send an email message plus a few best practice tips.
Customer Communication: When and How Often to Send Emails
It can be a tight wire to walk, knowing when to send an email message. Send too many emails, and people will click unsubscribe faster than you collected all of those valuable email addresses. Send too few, and you won’t stay top of mind. So, where’s the balance?
The answer to this nagging question all goes back to testing and measuring. We suggest at minimum you send a customer communication email once per month, so that you’re not forgotten. However, some industries can send two emails per month—or even weekly or daily emails—because fans don’t want to miss a thing.
You may want to start by sending an email twice per month, then sending one every week in the next month. You can rotate this way for a few months and see if you experience any differences in engagement, clicks, or unsubscribes. Then test and measure again by sending one email message a month vs. two emails a month. Try this again for a few months and look for any changes in behavior. It may take up to six months or more to discover what works for your supporters.
You could also survey your audience in an email message to ask them directly how much communication they’d prefer seeing in their inbox each month or week. Depending on the percentage of responses, this may be the quickest way to get your answer.
The purpose of every email you send is to motivate the person to want to receive and open the next one.
Test and Measure for Optimum Email Sends
Once you determine the sweet spot for email message or e-newsletter frequency, either through discovery, testing and measuring, or a direct ask, we suggest sticking with that schedule. Then only send additional email when necessary or when you have a special announcement that can’t wait until the next scheduled e-newsletter.
Some industry research provides the following feedback regarding email message frequency preferences across industries:
- Monthly – 43%
- Bi-weekly/twice monthly – 17%
- Quarterly – 16%
- Weekly – 12%
- Twice yearly – 4%
- Several times a week – 3%
- Other or don’t know – 5%
NOTE: It’s important to temper your expectations when considering the success of any email campaigns. You may have 1,000+ eager supporters for your organization. However, for many industries, a 20 percent email message open rate and a two percent click-through rate (CTR) are considered quite good.
Have a question? Want one less thing to worry about? Let Precise Creative handle your email, while you focus on the rest of your business.
3 Tips for the Best Email Open and Engagement Results
1. Make Your Subject LineText Interesting and Relevant
We only click on or open what interests us. So, try to appeal to the widest segment of your audience as possible. Or, if you are sending an email that is hyper-focused to just a segment of your email list, then make that subject line text especially specific and relevant to just that segment of your customer base. Maybe they are early adopters or longtime customers, high or low engagers, or they fall under a different category in your sales funnel. The more personal you can be in what you send to their email inbox, the better your chances of an open and an engagement.
BONUS: Most email programs provide the option to use your customer’s name in the email subject line text, which traditionally increases your open or click rate. Of course, you will need to collect their name and any other pertinent information up front upon the initial email subscribe (e.g., birthday, job function, interests, state/region, etc.).
2. Be Consistent and Be Honest
As with anything marketing, do it consistently. If your goal is to send a monthly email, then you forget to send one for three months, your customers will forget about you, and you will no longer be top of mind. In addition, honesty is always the best policy. If you intend to send weekly or daily email, then tell your subscriber what they can expect up front. With each consistent email you send, you’ll be building brand awareness and customer relationships. The next time they are in need of your product or services, they’ll think of the company that’s been in their inbox regularly vs. the company they don’t yet know or, worse yet, the company that forgot about them.
3. Give Subscribers Control
Transparency will always work to your advantage. So, always give your customers an easy opt-out at any time, without making them jump through hoops. A simple click of an unsubscribe button will allow them to drop out of communications if they’re no longer interested or if they forgot that they signed up. Better yet, provide subscribers with an option to click how often they’d like to receive communication from you: monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, daily or other frequencies (e.g., a daily or weekly digest email). Or perhaps they’d like to receive email based on certain topics, such as service and product introductions, sales and daily specials, or education and tips.
The Perfect Timing to Send E-newsletters and Emails
Here’s another opportunity to test and measure–or ask your supporters directly. Do email sends get more opens or clicks first thing in the morning, mid-morning, lunch time, mid-afternoon, early evening, or mid- to late evening?
And do you send them early in the week? Mid-week? At the end of the week? On the weekends? There are so many variables. Once you find the perfect frequency, it can be challenging to also find the perfect timing.
Essentially, the best time of day for email and e-newsletter communication depends on the lifestyle of your supporters. Perhaps a busy mom would prefer an email in the evening after the kids are in bed or mid-morning after the kids are dropped off at school. A busy professional might be reviewing their email inbox first thing in the morning or last thing in the afternoon–or on the commute train before or after work.
The Truth About Email
The truth about email is that there’s no hard-and-fast rule. However, multiple data sources have found that the golden hours may fall somewhere between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. locally (meaning, where your recipients are, not where you are), with the highest spike around 11 a.m. plus an additional spike between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Statistically, email opens tend to fare better Tuesday through Thursday rather than Monday or Friday. (Although, some industries may find Friday at 12 p.m. an ideal time, though.)
In the end, determining email frequency and best day and time of day to send your email or e-newsletter will vary from one organization to the next. You’ll need to experiment a little to discover what works best for your supporters.
NOTE: It’s important to consider that not all of your email recipients may be in the same time zone as your offices. Some email providers have options that will help you schedule your email according to the different time zones of your recipients.