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Digital Marketing

Is there really a best time to send an email?

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One of the most contemplated questions in email marketing is: is there actually a specific day and time an email should be sent for the best results? In my opinion, it is almost impossible to say a specific day and time is the best for an email send. The world, and more specifically the workforce, has changed tremendously in the last 2-3 years which makes this question even more interesting.

Remote Work Changing the Workday

With the number of people now working remotely for at least part of their work week. Remote work lends to a more flexible schedule for most people. Remote work allows for talent to come from any time zone. With this comes some scheduling differences that seem to erase the typical noon lunch break. In the past, a lot of professionals used a midday break to scroll through their personal social media accounts and email. Now it seems most of us find ourselves booked through that personal time with lunchtime meetings.

In addition to more flexible workdays, there is a laundry list of factors that lend to differing schedules for all. For example, one professional may wake up at six in the morning to get their kids ready for school before work. Whereas other professionals may wake up at six in the morning to workout, make coffee, and scroll through their personal emails before the workday. The varying scenarios will likely lead to different email open times.

Another piece to consider when thinking about the best email send time is that people live all over the world. Now with remote work increasing, consumers are moving to different places. Different places mean different time zones. With varying personal tasks and physical locations among consumers, it is impossible to say that a blanket email will be the best performing.

Screen Time Increasing Email Visibility

On the other hand, screen time has increased tenfold in the last several years. With most consumers glued to their phones, tablets, or computers, it raises an interesting (and opposite) question: is there really a bad time to send an email? Constant access to email opens the door to test different send times.

In contrast to unlimited screen time, companies like Apple are introducing tools to avoid distractions during certain parts of the day. Options like turning off notifications from work email after work hours, or personal email during work hours, also impact email visibility. The unlimited options of personalizing communication truly shows that only the hard evidence of data can show what the best time to deliver an email is for a specific industry, product, promotion, audience, etc.

Using Data to Optimize Send Time

Two people working together at a desk

With all the speculation above, it is important to note that data is superior. Engagement metrics will be the true test for success, but the overall metrics don’t help adjust to someone’s specific trends. Consider A/B testing the time of day. This will help figure out the preferences of your own audience. It could also be helpful to use time zone support in email programs. Another option is to delay your sending in smart campaign flows by using choices in the flow step (if ET send immediately; if CT wait 1 hour and send; etc.).

Send time optimization is the idea that real data collected per lead will show the best email send time for that lead. Send time optimization tools exist to potentially integrate with marketing automation tools. They show specific data points per lead like when they open an email and on what type of device.

Analyzing data per record is the best way to ensure an email will land in the inbox of someone who is ready to read it.

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Katie Parness

Katie is a Marketo Consultant working in Perficient’s Adobe Practice and is a Marketo Certified Expert with over 5 years of marketing automation experience. She is passionate about segmenting audiences for targeted and relevant automated marketing campaigns.

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