Are weekends and holidays your email enemies?

Yes, we know it’s the Fourth of July, and people don’t read emails on holidays. But then again, here you are.

It just goes to show that in email marketing, the times that get the most bang for your buck may surprise you.

This week’s GLG blog explores the effects of holidays, seasons, and times of day on email marketing campaigns. Now, the emails that your business sends will arrive at a time when your customers actually will read and engage with them.

Timing is everything.

Unlike most other marketing channels where there’s no guarantee that consumers will even see your message, email marketing gives you a direct line of communication. Consumers open their inboxes and see your messages.

However, if you send an email at an inconvenient time, your recipients will just see it and delete it, since it’s not relevant to their tasks at hand. But if you send that same email when your recipient has the time and energy to engage—fireworks!

It turns out that with email marketing, as in love, timing is everything.

So what’s the right time?

People’s email habits have changed fundamentally over the past decade with the introduction of mobile email. According to research by Kahuna, 84 percent of email opens occurred on mobile phones or tablets for almost all industries, up 14 percentage points from last year.1

Since mobile devices can go anywhere, emails now can be read at any time—including outside of work hours. That means it’s up to you to gather data about the unique routines of your particular audience.

Moreover, because your audience members are human, their needs and preferences will change over time. The only way to determine actionable trends is to test continually and to use your data iteratively.

So test different send times on different segments of your audience. Whenever their click-through rate (CTR) is highest is the new “best” time to send.

How to get started

Start by looking at industry trends. That will give you an idea of how other audiences have responded to similar offerings. For instance, try Monday morning. Many industries report seeing high CTR when people return to work after a weekend’s rest.2

Or test Thursday afternoons. Your audience might be part of the significant segment of people who engage in the afternoon when they’re mentally checked out at work.2

Similarly, industry trends indicate declines in CTR around holidays. Those declines can even be season-wide, with the lowest CTR for many industries clustered around summer and winter vacations, so don’t be too depressed if a December email doesn’t perform well.

That said, people surprise us, and they have their own unique patterns. So segment your recipients into two (or more) groups every time you send an email, and experiment. Also, keep time zones in mind: an email that arrives at 8 a.m. eastern time will arrive much earlier on the West Coast.

Finally, don’t be afraid to test times that people used to consider crazy if you weren’t having a blowout sale. Late at night, early in the morning, weekends, holidays—those times might turn out not to be your email enemy. Other companies who are still stuck in the rut of convention won’t even think of sending during those times. That means decreased inbox competition for you.

Enjoy the fireworks.

At the end of the day, there are no hard-and-fast rules anymore for timing your email campaigns—you just have to test. No time is off-limits anymore. Holidays or the middle of the night can offer a great opportunity to connect with your audience. Your audience might just love your Fourth of July email!

Need help running email tests, gathering data, and monitoring your CTR? We’ve done it all before, so let us know if we can help you to make your next email campaign pop.

1. “The Kahuna Mobile Marketing Index: Q1 2016,” Kahuna, http://go.kahuna.com/rs/052-HXZ-275/images/Kahuna_Marketing_Index_Q1_2016.pdf.

2. Kessler, Shelley, “Testing the best time to email, based on benchmarks,” Marketing Forward Blog, Experian Marketing Services, February 17, 2016, accessed June 22, 2016, http://www.experian.com.go.snip.ly/blogs/marketing-forward/2016/02/17/testing-best-time-to-email-based-benchmarks/?WT.srch=EMS_BGP_BLG_021716_030116\.

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