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How to best time your email marketing campaign

How to best time your email marketing campaign

Abi Clowes is Marketing Manager at progressive email marketing provider Pure360. Founded in 2001, Pure360 provides well known brands and businesses, know-how and support to run effective email marketing campaigns that have a measurable, positive impact on business.

Analysis of over 660,000 emails sent by our customers has revealed consumers’ behavioural patterns constantly shift throughout the working day. Marketers that respond to the changeable moods of consumers will reap the rewards.

It seems that media stereotypes of employees taking advantage of work-based email and the internet to browse online may be leading marketers astray. In reality, recipients are more likely to open emails outside of their working day. Almost half (48%) of all email marketing campaigns were opened outside office hours.

Contrary to popular assumptions, the volume of marketing emails opened actually drops during the lunch hour.  Our research showed that a mere 9% of email marketing campaigns were opened between noon and 2pm.

Furthermore, 62% of those opened in this period were news or magazine alerts rather than promotions on goods or services. This indicates that employees prefer to spend their lunchtimes catching up on the latest news, sport and gossip and are therefore less receptive to email marketing campaigns during this period than at other time of the day.

A significant finding from the research is that marketers can capitalise on consumers’ desire for a ‘morning boost’ to engage with their audience. Employees are more likely to be receptive to consumer promotions, such as discounts on clothes, gadgets and events, at the beginning of the working day.

And counter-intuitively, offers relating to dining and going out are far more likely to be opened first thing in the morning. For example, 27% of all restaurant promotions and 19% of promotions on live events, such as concerts and rugby matches were opened between 9am and 10am.

The research also indicated that during the well-documented post-lunch slump period (between 3pm and 5pm) people become more responsive to email marketing campaigns that focus on larger, more serious issues such as a financial product like a loan.

Nearly 43% of all the financial services emails that were sent were opened mid-afternoon.  It would appear that job-related apathy perhaps leads to employees being more receptive to life-changing promotions mid-afternoon.

Based on the research findings, we identified correlations in consumers’ responses to different email marketing promotions at different times during the day:

The Abyss (10pm to 9am)

This is an ineffective time to send email promotions – it’s like to throwing them into a black hole.

Consumer AM (9am to 10am)

The second most common opening time is at the beginning of the working day, when consumers are more likely to be distracted by offers on consumer goods such as clothes and live events.

Do Not Disturb (10am to Noon)

Consumers are focusing on work in this period and are therefore unlikely to open email marketing campaigns.

The Lunchtime News (Noon to 2pm)

Counter-intuitively, consumers are less likely to open marketing emails during their lunch, they are more interested in news and magazine alerts.

In The Zone (2pm to 3pm)

In the period after lunch consumers remain focussed on work, responding mainly to email offers relating to financial products.

A Life-changing Afternoon (3pm to 5pm)

Focus on work begins to evaporate and consumers start thinking about their personal situation. Consequently, more emails relating to property and financial services are opened between 3pm and 5pm than any other type of promotion.

Working Late’ (5pm to 7pm)

There is a marked increase in recipients opening holiday promotions during this period (17.9% of all emails promoting holiday promotions were opened in these two hours). Counter-intuitively, this is also the timeframe within which recipients are most likely to open B2B promotions (26.4%).

Last Orders (7pm to 10pm)

Recipients are more likely to respond to consumer promotions in their own time, with 23% being opened in this period. Promotions on clothes and leisure themed promotions (26% opened during this time) performed extremely well in this period.

While our study reveals behavioural trends and popular opening times for various emails, the most effective email marketing campaigns should look at the behavioural patterns of individual recipients.

Everyone opens their emails at different times and marketers should use technology such as Intelligent Time Saving (ITS) to enable them to spot these trends. Analysing when people have opened and clicked through on previous messages, ITS can ensure that emails are delivered at the time they are most likely to be read.

Marketers shouldn’t rely on gut instinct with their email marketing campaigns. To achieve the best results they should tailor their campaigns to suit the consumer’s individual needs.

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