Win the Inbox: When’s the Best Time to Email?


Whether it’s time of day, or day of the week, or day of the month, this question crops up time and again in forums, at conferences, and in our support queues.

I’m going to tell you the answer.

Hi, I’m your host, Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider feedblitz.com. This is “Win the Inbox” where I answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.

So in the intro I promised you the best time of day to mail your list. Before I give it to you though, I think it’s worth looking at why this question is asked.

If you think that by switching to Tuesdays at 2, or every third Thursday following the full moon, then your email marketing results will be transformed, I have news.

Changing the time of day, or day of the week, is unlikely to make a huge difference to your email marketing program’s success.

Maybe a percentage point here or there, which might be a very big deal for your business, to be fair. But. If you’re looking for a “Hail Mary” breakthrough moment, optimizing delivery time probably won’t give you it.

But, that said, a promise is a promise! So here’s the big reveal: The best time for you to send your emails is….

I don’t know.

WAIT. I don’t know, but there are people who do know exactly what it is.

I bet you want to know who they are, right?

Ready?

Your subscribers.

They will tell you. Not by answering a survey (although you could always try that as well), but by how their engagement changes when you alter delivery times.

They key to this is (a) testing, and (b) knowing what metric(s) you want to use to define success.

Start by building a mental model of your ideal recipient, and when the best time to reach them is in their daily and weekly routines. Then test based in that premise.

Mailing weekly? Split your list into days of the week, see which one does better over a long enough time frame. Don’t be afraid of weekends either, when there’s less competition in the inbox. Try it.

Got a daily newsletter? Try overnight, so the email is there when your audience wakes up. Or at lunchtime, when they’re on break. Bear in mind here that ¾ of the US population is in the eastern and central time zones.

If and when you get a result, get everyone onto that schedule and return to a predictable delivery cadence for the whole list.

One thing to be prepared for during this process is that there will be those who’ll dislike any change whatsoever. I once got a phone call late at night once from a subscriber who was furious that the email he used to get at 4:30 in the morning now arrived at six am instead, and what was I going to do about it?

I don’t know when the best time of day is for you to send your emails out.

I do know that your subscribers can tell you.

If you do optimize delivery times and get a result, share your results in the comments.

Please like, share and subscribe. There’s more at FeedBlitz.com/WinTheInbox, where you can also ask me a question you’d like addressed in a future episode. I’m Phil Hollows, and I’ll see you next time.

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