It was a big decision for us last month. Our August e-newsletter got delayed because we, like many of you, often push deadlines on our own marketing to make room for client projects. So, there we were — Friday, August 30th in the ODEA office. And not just any Friday… this was the Friday afternoon before Labor Day Weekend. We had a decision to make: To Send Or Not To Send. That was our question.
We had two options: send out the monthly e-newsletter then and there, despite the fact that most of you were already on weekend mode, OR wait until the following Tuesday and have August’s hot topics be delivered in September. Ultimately, we did what any good marketers would do! We decided to run a test, hit “send”, and waited to see if our very non-scientific experiment would tell us if send date and time really does make a difference for email newsletters.
Disaster or Duty as Usual?
So did our “send-it-and-let’s-have-a-cocktail-to-start-the-holiday-weekend” decision mean no one read our August news? Did our open rates and clicks plummet to disastrous levels? Or did all our readers spend their holiday weekend opening and clicking as normal? Truth be told, none of the above.
As you can see in the chart below, the differences in open rates for our June, July, and August issues really weren’t that extreme. Similarly, click rates remained consistent throughout June and July and only dipped slightly come August. While we certainly did ourselves no favors by sending on a Friday afternoon, our loyal readers kept reading. And since we are very referral based, that was good enough for us.
ODEA E-Newsletter Stats:
Set Your Alarms
Obviously, a test of one email is hardly even a test. So, what does real data say about send dates and times?
The time at which you send out that important email or your monthly newsletter really does matter. While our July newsletter was sent out at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday, that tardy August issue arrived in your inbox on the Friday evening before a holiday weekend. Most emails are opened within the first hour after delivery, so data suggests sending emails in the morning to avoid the trash folder. Even if a recipient doesn’t see your notification right away, they will still check their email at other points throughout the day. This article illustrates different email-opening peaks throughout the day, starting at 6 a.m. with the early risers. The most popular times for people to check their email is from 9-11 a.m., with a spike at 10 a.m. This typically occurs when office hours begin, and workers are still prepping for the day. Post-lunch distractions also include checking emails; this spike occurs from 2-3 p.m. Finally, a last call for incoming mail occurs from 7-10 p.m.
Save the Date
Since we have already shown Friday is not an ideal send day, what are better days? Tuesday is considered the best day to send out your newsletters, according to Mailchimp and Wordstream. Wednesday and Thursday are also good days for emails, but avoid Monday, Friday, and the weekend. The rules don’t stop here. Take caution when sending emails two days in a row as this can be irritating and crowd up inboxes. Irritation leads to unsubscribes, and that’s the opposite of what we’re going for!
Another point to keep in mind when sending out emails to a mass audience is where your readers reside. Be sure to take time zones into account during scheduling—and if your audience is spread out all over the country, reference the Eastern time zone, which encompasses nearly 50% of the U.S population. You can also check if your email marketing platform lets you send based on recipient’s time zone. Some systems like HubSpot and Mailchimp ask you to simply check a box and they’ll make sure it goes out to everyone at your specified time, relevant to where they live in the world.
As it turns out, our poorly timed email that didn’t do as well as it could have was not the end of the world for ODEA! It really did not affect us as a professional service business, but the story could have been different for an online-based business or an e-commerce site. With that in mind, taking into account the timely tips we have shared certainly can’t hurt. But don’t sweat it too much if you find yourself in the same position as us in the future and just decide to hit “send”!