Getting Started With Email Marketing Part 6: Scheduling Campaigns

Email marketing is similar to social media in that you should post at optimal times, and plan your content well-in-advance. Email campaigns need to be sent strategically to give your audience what they want and to get you the best return on your investment.

You want to email your lists just enough to stay on their minds but not so much that you're annoying them. Sending your emails at the optimal time to reach your audience will take a bit of testing. For example, MailChimp has a great feature that tracks when people in your lists open your emails and recommends the best time to send an email to reach them. (Obviously you'd have to send a few out for that feature to benefit you).

As you've heard me say many times by now, there is no set time that will work for every email campaign you send. Pay attention to the time of day when you check your emails, and start there. Then use the analytics within your platform to modify your email frequency and the time of day you send out until you get the best open reports, and if you notice a lot of people unsubscribing then you may need to adjust your schedule, or reconsider the content you are emailing out altogether.

Your scheduling should be based on the specific audience that you are targeting and what they need, however there are some general things you should consider when scheduling an email campaign to go out:

1. Time of Day

There might be some early risers or night owls, but you want to reach as many people as possible. So while this may seem obvious, it usually better to send your emails midday or in the early evening.

2. Manic Mondays are a thing!

People hate Mondays enough as it is. Most people dread returning to work to scan through all the emails they missed over the glorious weekend away from their desk. So don't include your emails in that list which will definitely be overlooked!

3. The Glorious Weekend

Weekends are typically spent doing anything but working, for those that can avoid it. So email is the last thing on people's minds.

4. Save the Dates

Most emails are open within an hour after being received; however, some people do not check their email until a day or two later. So if you are sending emails out about a specific event, make sure to send them at least 3-5 days before you need any information from them.

The tested and traditional approach is to send out emails midweek and midday. Most email campaigns are send between 1-3pm, but 9-11am works well too. It's a proven safe-bet. Just remember, nothing ventured nothing gained.

That's my advice...now ignore it!!

My tips above are going to be useful to people trying to get started, and are considered best practices for email marketing. However, there are many, many situations where these methods will not be effective for your business! It all depends on your target audience.

Just take my MailChimp data as an example. I have multiple lists within my platform, but I will pick the top 3 to show you what I mean.

  • Best Time to Send Emails to List A: 7am on Tuesdays
  • Best Time to Send Emails to List B: 12am on Wednesdays
  • Best Time to Send Emails to List C: 11am on Tuesdays

Just within my own target audience there are groups of people who are more likely to open emails at different times of the day than suggested, and it works because I get over 25% open rates at the times that are not considered best practices. The main thing that you need to do is focus on your audience and what they need from you. Give them great content and test the best times to send emails to them until you find it!