The question I hear novice email marketers asking more than any other is “what is the best day to send email?” It’s the wrong question to ask. Here is the example I use when I give talks on this subject: Let’s say, for arguments sake, that I think the best day to send email is Sunday and I say so in blogs and at conferences. Now you’ve got a group of people, presumably competing with each other on some level since they are going to the same conferences and reading the same blogs, who are all going to start sending email on Sunday and it instantly becomes the worst day for them to send.
The whole idea of a “best day” is based on the notion that there is a magic day when your audience’s inboxes are empty and will be sitting at their computer at the exact moment the message hits their inbox with nothing better to do than take your call-to-action. Just look at your own life for a second - is this really a realistic set of assumptions to base your marketing strategy off of? Not only does no such magic day exist, but it also completely misses the point of what makes an email campaign successful in the first place.
Part of the problem is that there seems to be a general notion that email is somehow special and distinct from other marketing channels and because of that, there is a different set of rules. It’s not - email is just a medium of communication with advantages and disadvantages like any other. Would you ask “what is the best day to drop a print piece?” Probably not. The day is not a significant factor in determining the success or failure of the message. Same with email. Just because you send a message on a certain day at a certain time doesn’t mean you’ll have the attention of your audience at that exact moment so it really becomes a non-factor in the success of the message. Instead, put your energy into the following areas:
- Copy: Is it clean and succinct? Is the call-to-action clear?
- Design: Does it distract from or enhance the copy?
- Segmentation: Is my list segmented to provide a meaningful message to the recipients?
More important than any of these factors though, is integration with other communications across mediums. You can’t view email in a funnel. It’s just one of dozens of touch points your institution has with its audience and they are CERTAINLY not viewing it as a singular event. Instead, view it as a component of an integrated marketing plan:
- How does the timing of it compliment and reinforce previous messages your audience has received?
- What is the progression?
- Does your template mimic the design of corresponding print pieces?
- Do all the messages look and feel like they are coming from the same place?
Bottom line: The notion that there is a “best day” to send email is an outdated mindset. Just because you can get really specific with send days/times through the technology doesn’t mean its an important thing to focus your energy on. Integration isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it will ultimately provide you with far more value and ROI than a “best day” strategy ever could.