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The Best Times to Send Email: How the Game Has Changed

B2B Lead Generation

Best times to send emailNot too long ago, it was thought that the best time to send Email was on Sunday night.

Then, “they” decided that later on Monday was good. Next, it seemed that everyone thought that sending messages first thing Tuesday morning was optimal.

Unfortunately, every time the gurus decide on a more optimal time to send Email, every major Email marketer switches to that time.

The rampant use of smart phones has changed everything. Your prospects and customers are reading their Email messages morning, noon and night. They check Email first thing in the morning before leaving for work. They check it when they get to the office. They’ll check throughout the day, and again in the evening.

What I’ve learned through experimentation and careful analysis of the results of Email campaigns won’t surprise you… but, it may cause you to re-think your email strategy. I know that I’ve had to alter my plans accordingly.

Mail Early in the Morning When…

Check your stats. You’ll find that at least 50% of the people who open your early AM messages are doing so on their smart phones.

Early morning messages should be succinct, set a positive tone, and create a meme in the minds of the reader. That is, tell a story, provide an inspirational thought, or plant an idea that they can muse on throughout their day at the office.

Do NOT push them to a landing page, ask them to download a report, or complete a form. They won’t, and it’s likely they’ll delete the message rather than save it for when they get to the office.

I’m finding that people want to “scan” messages in the morning, looking for something that’s particularly interesting or especially relevant. “Taking action” comes later.

Mail Mid-Morning When…

Mid-morning is an awkward time, but sometimes a good time to send Email. You’ll need to experiment and analyze your stats, but what I’m finding is that this is a good time for lead generation.

They’ve had their coffee and pushed through their first major task of the day. They’re checking Email because they need a break, or in some cases are checking for specific messages. People may be more likely to download your report or complete a form during the mid-morning post-caffeine rush.

They’ll also be more willing to watch a short video if it is relevant to what they’re doing and thinking, so send your links to videos when they’re more likely to be at their desks and looking for a break.

Mail Mid-Afternoon When…

Sometime in the mid to late afternoon, most people cycle through a “slow-down” phase. Our energy wanes, and our minds are looking distractions.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, this is not a good time for taking action. It is a great time to entertain your customer or prospect. Offer an amusing story or anecdote. Provide useful, but on the lighter side bits of information and advice.

Heavy-handed sales messages are not appreciated when what we’re looking for is a diversion. Videos that entertain while instructing are particularly good at this time of day. It’s a nice distraction, but still offers something of value so that they don’t feel as though they’re wasting their time.

Mail in the Evening When…

They’re back on their mobile devices (phones or pads) in the evening. This is a great time to send quick tips, ideas, or things that they can think about for the next day.

Many people won’t see these messages until the next morning, so they effectively serve the same purpose as the morning message. They’re quick reads, highly relevant, and either or both thoughtful and useful.

The Bottom Line on When to Send Email Messages

There is not and never will be an ideal time to send Email. Always evaluate your audience, test, and analyze your results.

Spend time asking “Why?” and “Why not?” when you do your analysis. Why did they open, but not click? Why did they not open the message?

Answer these questions while taking into account the time of day for the message, the subject line, the message itself, and particularly the type of device on which they opened the message.

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