If you’re planning to start an email marketing campaign, you need the right strategy in place to increase open rates, click-throughs, and sales. Believe it or not, timing can play a huge role in your success.
Choosing the best day and time to send your emails can catch your prospects at the perfect time. Everyone has different schedules, though, so pinning down the ideal day and time can prove tricky.
That’s why we’re going to walk you through this process and help you understand the variables that you should consider when timing your email marketing campaigns. It might seem like too much work, but you’ll thank yourself with your online course sales start going through the roof.
Plus, remember that writing emails takes work. If you’re sending your hard work to 3,000 people who simply delete the messages unread, you’re wasting your valuable time. Nobody wants that.
So how do you know the best day and time to send your email marketing campaigns?
What Is The Best Day To Send Email?
Let’s start with the days of the week first. There are seven of them, but they’re not on equal footing when it comes to sending promotional or educational emails to your prospects.
According to research compiled by CoSchedule, there are three days of the week that serve entrepreneurs best when it comes to email:
CoSchedule found that Tuesday is the perfect day if you’re sending just one email per week. If you’re sending two, send the second one on Thursday. Wednesday comes in at a close third on the list.
But let’s break this down even further. Keep in mind that the best day to send emails can vary depending on the type of online course you create, the specific preferences of your audience members, and even the time of year.
The Monday Blues
Lots of people hate Mondays — and for good reason. The weekend has come to an end, people have to go back to work, and there’s usually a backlog of correspondence to slog through.
Think about the last time you returned to your desk on a Monday morning. Did you find dozens or even hundreds of emails awaiting attention in your inbox? If so, you’re not alone.
Since many people don’t check their email over the weekend because they’re busy with other tasks, Monday often brings a deluge of correspondence. If you send your educational or promotional emails on Mondays, you’re likely to get lost in the void.
It’s not just because your email might get buried, either. Since people have received so many emails, they’ll be more discerning about which ones they deign to open. An email that might get read on a Tuesday could wind up in the Trash folder on Monday. Don’t take that risk.
Lastly, Mondays can be crazy for entrepreneur’s, too. You’re getting back into the swing of work (even if, like many entrepreneurs, you also work on the weekends), so you might not have time to devote to email marketing. Give it another day before you start sending email blasts.
Now that we’ve covered Mondays, let’s talk about the weekends. It’s true that some people check their email on Saturdays and Sundays. They’re checking for coupons if they want to go shopping, for instance, or catching up on personal correspondence.
Because of the research mentioned earlier in this article, many entrepreneurs have given up on weekends for their email campaigns. They realized that they got more traction during the middle of the week, so they stopped wasting their time.
This, however, has created a potential opening for the non-risk averse entrepreneur. You might want to consider testing email campaigns on weekends to see if they work well for your audience.
For one thing, you’re selling online courses, and many consumers don’t have time to pursue continuing education during the workweek. They might feel more open to exploring your content and courses on the weekends when they have fewer tasks on their plates.
Furthermore, you can capture the attention of consumers who don’t have much to do on Saturdays and Sundays. People with large families, for instance, might be too busy to give your email a second thought, but people who are less busy could see your email as a diamond in the rough.
As always, testing your email marketing campaigns is critical. You never know what strategy will work for your unique business.
The Midweek Success
Now we’ve come to the optimum time for sending emails to your prospects. Based on the data detailed above, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays have proved most successful for other businesses and entrepreneurs.
It’s not surprising, really. Your audience has gotten over the Monday blues and cleared out overflowing inboxes. They’re more likely to notice your email — and, more importantly, more likely to click on your CTA.
However, don’t trust other people’s research completely. You need to test your own email campaign.
Start by segmenting your audience into three separate groups. Send emails on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, targeting one group for each day. See how well your open rates and click-through rates do for each of those days.
Next, set up a Saturday and Sunday campaign. Segment your audience again, then test the weekend. If you notice that you get more opens and clicks, you know that weekends will work well for your audience.
But keep testing. Your audience’s needs and preferences might change over time, so continually update your strategy. Yes, it takes more time, but it can ultimately lead to more sales — and that’s the goal, right?
What Is The Best Time to Send Email?
Remember that people live in different timezones. Since you’re sending emails to people who might take your online courses all over the world, you might not be able to nail down the ideal time to send emails.
However, you can try.
When you’re considering timing, find out where most of your customers live. If they’re in the United States, for instance, you can aim for approximate times that will hit all timezones within a specific time frame.
We’ve covered days of the week, but we still need to discuss the time of day. In other words, at what times do you have the best chance of reaching your audience?
According to Verticalresponse, the best time to send emails is during the evening — specifically between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. That might surprise you, but it makes sense when you think about consumers’ typical behavioral patterns.
After 8 p.m., most people have eaten dinner with their families, cleaned up the kitchen, and settled in for the evening. They might turn on the television, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their smartphones in their hands.
According to Adweek, an Accenture report discovered that nearly 90 percent of consumers use two or more screens at the same time. In other words, they might be watching “Game of Thrones” on television while checking email on their phones.
It’s digital multitasking at its finest.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of your emails need to go out to your prospects between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. You have multiple time frames to consider.
The Accenture research reported the fewest transaction rates between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. In other words, if you switch to the other end of the spectrum, you might reach fewer people and enjoy fewer sales.
During the morning, people are getting ready for work, helping their kids get ready for school, and generally managing chaotic households. They’re also settling in at work, responding to work-related email, and addressing the first tasks on their to-do lists.
In other words, they’re not in the mood to read educational content or to be pitched an online course.
However, Adweek also reports that people often check their phones within minutes of waking up. It’s become a common habit among consumers — maybe you’re one of them.
In this case, you might experience success if you send your emails early in the morning. They might be the first thing to greet your target audience. You just don’t know if those people will actually engage with the email, especially if they need a few cups of coffee before they’re truly awake.
As we discussed above, you have to test times of day. If your research suggests that you have an audience of early risers, the best time to send email might be early morning. It all depends on your specific audience.
Research suggests that people engage more with emails during the afternoon than they do during the morning. They might be commuting home from work on the bus or train, for instance, and sift through their emails to pass the time.
Additionally, people are generally more alert between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. than they are in the morning. They’ve had a chance to get their brains in gear, so they’re in a better position to make decisions and to engage with your content.
Think about the subject of your online course. Do you provide advice on time management, for instance? Your audience might welcome midday and afternoon emails that help them get back on track in terms of productivity.
On the other hand, if you’re marketing to an audience of single parents, you might have trouble reaching them in the afternoons. They’re preparing after-school snacks, helping their kids with homework, and planning the evening meal.
Consider testing afternoon emails, but don’t expect many conversions. You can decide how to proceed after you get a look at your numbers.
As mentioned above, this seems to be the best time to send email. It’s the sweet spot across industries, so you might experience similar success. However, keep in mind that thousands of other entrepreneurs already know this information. If you target the prime time of the day, you’re going to experience more competition.
Furthermore, Constant Contact reminds us that there’s no magic formula. Even though research and studies seem to suggest a perfect time of day for sending emails, there’s no guarantee that those statistics will apply to you.
Instead of focusing on the perfect time of day, try to remain consistent. After you test and choose the right day and time, stick with it. Your prospects will start to expect to hear from you at that time, so you’ll never disappoint them. Plus, your name will become more familiar in their inboxes, so you can expect to see better open rates and more click-throughs.
B2B Vs. B2C
There’s another factor you must consider when deciding on the best time to send email. So far, we’ve focused primarily on B2C entrepreneurs — in other words, people who are marketing to consumers rather than to other business owners.
But what if you have a B2B business? Maybe you create courses for entrepreneurs, startup founders, and similar professionals.
In this case, you might need to rethink the best time to send email.
First, you’ll probably use your contact’s business email address. While some professionals check their corporate email accounts outside of business hours, many don’t. Therefore, sending emails late at night or early in the morning might work against you.
Additionally, you don’t want to overload B2B customers when they first get to the office. You might experience better results if you shoot for late morning or early afternoon. At that point, they’ve settled into their offices and accomplished some work, but they haven’t yet headed for home.
You’ll probably want to avoid weekends entirely if your email campaign is targeting a B2B audience. Even if your prospects check their email, they might get annoyed that you’re bothering them during their off time.
Run your own tests just like you would if you were marketing to a B2C audience. Segment your email subscribers to find out which times of day and days of week perform best. You might discover that your results buck the averages.
The Best Day And Time For Others Not Be The Best For You
As we mentioned earlier, testing is the best way to find out the best time to send email. What works for another entrepreneur — even one who creates online courses — might not be ideal for your audience.
Focus on A/B testing different days and times to find your sweet spot. You can also survey your audience to get feedback directly from them. In addition to asking them about the days and times when they would like to receive email, you can also ask them other revealing questions:
- Content: Do they prefer educational content, brief tips and tricks, coupon codes and discounts, or some other type of content in their emails?
- Frequency: How often do they want to hear from you? Once a week? Twice a week? Once a month?
- Length: Are they interested in long-form content, or would they rather you get straight to the point with a quick question, tip, or another piece of content?
Armed with that information, you can structure your email campaign more effectively. Plus, you’ll see fewer unsubscribes because you’ll deliver the types of content that your audience desires.
However, you collect information, make sure to update it every six months or so. You want to keep up with your existing customers as well as the new subscribers that you acquire.
Send Educational Emails Earlier in the Week and Actionable Emails Later
There’s another way to make your email campaign more successful. Start by segmenting your emails into two categories: educational and actionable.
An educational email helps answer questions, solve problems, and explain solutions. For instance, it could be an article that relates to your online courses or a Q&A session that answers the questions that you receive most often.
Educational emails can also include curated content. You might send a list of your most popular blog articles so your subscribers can check them out and get familiar with your writing style.
Actionable emails, on the other hand, serve one purpose: Drive conversions. While an educational email should have a CTA at the end, actionable emails are all about getting your subscribers to take the next step.
For instance, you could use an actionable email to announce a new course or to promote an older course that hasn’t gotten many purchases lately.
If possible, send your educational emails early in the week. This is when your audience is primed for information — not sales. They want to learn and better understand your digital products.
Reserve actionable emails for later in the week. People often get paid toward the end of the week, for instance, so they have more money to spend — preferable on your online courses.
Plan to Test Using Your Audience
If you want to get the most out of your email campaign, you need an email list. This is the database of email subscribers you collect using various methods. Make sure you have an opt-in form on your website and blog. You can also ask your current subscribers to forward your emails to their family and friends. They might help you get new subscribers that way.
Of course, there are plenty of other lead-generation tactics. You can even build your email list through YouTube videos.
The important thing is to collect as many email addresses as possible, but through ethical means. Don’t spam people or buy email lists. Use a permission-based lead-generation strategy that ensures you don’t break any anti-spam laws or irritate potential customers.
Measure Your Email Test Success
Once you’ve acquired a sizable email list, you can test different days and times, as discussed earlier. Use your preferred email marketing service, such as MailChimp, to help you track the results.
Kajabi also has built-in analytics that can help you test your email campaign’s success rate. Set up two different campaigns, but change one factor, such as the day or the time you send it. Based on the interactions, such as open and click-through rates, you can decide which one performed best.
You might find that customers in different parts of the sales funnel have different preferences. Remember that you can always segment email addresses in your database according to your own research.
Tips to Increase Your Open Rate
Ideally, when you send an email to your subscribers, you want as many of them as possible to open it. Unfortunately, email open rates aren’t anywhere close to 100 percent. Smart Insights reports that the average email open rate across all industries is around 25 percent, though it can vary from 14 percent to 27 percent, depending on the industry.
Poor open rates could result from a number of problems. However, you can avoid that outcome by following a few email best practices.
Plain Text Vs. Visual Emails
You have two options when designing your email campaign: plain text and visual. A plain-text email includes only text. It’s not formatted with HTML — it’s just like an email you might fire off to a friend.
Visual emails, on the other hand, contain HTML formatting. They often include images and other graphics that grab readers’ interest and help increase engagement. However, that’s not the whole story.
HubSpot research found that open rates and other interactions increased with plain-text emails. It’s possible that people prefer the simplicity of reading a few paragraphs of text. Visual emails take longer to load, and the differences between various email clients can result in off-kilter formatting that kills the visual appeal.
However, you can have the best of both worlds. It’s common practice for entrepreneurs to include both visual and plain-text versions of an email message in every campaign. That gives the consumer the ability to decide for him or herself which one is best.
Additionally, you have to consider the email’s content. If it doesn’t need images, why include them? You’ll just take up more space in your subscribers’ inboxes.
The other side of the coin matters, too. If an image can communicate more information than words, use the image and send visual emails. As long as you include that plain-text option, you won’t offend any of your subscribers.
Keep it Informal
When you’re writing educational or promotional emails for your subscribers, pretend that you’re penning a letter to an old friend. Use casual, informal language that makes the content feel intimate and personalized.
You can use contractions, fragmented sentences, and short paragraphs to keep the copy engaging. If you want to include a funny graphic, do so as long as it’s on-brand and relevant to the content.
Most importantly, avoid sounding like a salesperson. You probably don’t like hard-sell tactics when they’re used on you, so don’t visit that discomfort on your subscribers.
Share Why Your Subscribers Should Click Through
People don’t click on links in your emails just because you want them to. We know you’d love it if that were the case, but it’s not.
Your subscribers need a reason to click through. In other words, you have to incentivize the click if you expect to receive it.
Your CTA should include a clear and compelling benefit that makes the subscriber feel that a click is the only option. For instance, if you’re asking your subscriber to click on a link to your sales page, explain how your new online course can change his or her life.
In other words, be persuasive without sounding too salesy. Make it all about the subscriber — not about your revenue.
Your Message Has to Be Mobile Friendly
People read email on their mobile devices all the time. If your emails aren’t mobile friendly, they won’t get read. That’s the bottom line.
That’s why it helps to work with a third-party email service that can format your emails correctly for all devices. It makes it easier to reach people, and it increases the likelihood of high open and click-through rates.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your online courses. You get a direct line to the customer as well as an opportunity to usher prospects through the sales funnel. Even more importantly, you establish rapport with your subscribers and build your relationship through email.
None of that matters, though, if your emails don’t get read. Finding the best time to send email can improve your odds and help you launch your new online courses more effectively.
Start by looking at the research. Most entrepreneurs find that days in the middle of the week offer the best chance of success, but you might have more luck with weekends. Test, test, and test again.
Similarly, data suggests that emails get read more often when they arrive in the late evening. You might have more luck with morning or afternoon emails, so you’ll have to test different times of day to find your sweet spot.
Once you figure out those solutions, make sure you’re optimizing the time for your audience. If you’re communicating with a B2B customer, you might have to make some adjustments.
Finally, test your campaign and make sure that you optimize your emails for open rates. Send mobile-friendly emails to encourage open and click-through rates, and don’t hesitate to write with informal language. Pretend you’re communicating with a friend.
All of these tips will help you garner more conversions from your email campaign.
What time do you send emails? Have you tested your theories? What works best for your current email campaign?
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