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What is the Best Time of Day to Send E-mail? (Infographic)

If you’ve ever run an e-mail campaign, you’ve probably wondered the same thing we all have: Is there a specific time of day that’s best to hit the “send” button? With many small businesses turning to specialized software  that allows for timed e-mail delivery, small businesses are interested in knowing what time of day is best for information to land in a consumer’s inbox.

GetResponse decided it was time to find out. The company recently released an infographic detailing results of its study of 21 million e-mail messages sent from accounts in the U.S. The study found that if small businesses send e-mail newsletters between the hours of 8 a.m.-10 a.m. and 3 p.m.-4 p.m., they can increase click-through rates by up to six percent. Review the infographic for the facts and figures.

“We analyzed 21 million messages sent from US accounts in the 1st quarter of 2012 to determine top open and click-through times,” a GetResponse spokesperson wrote on the company’s blog. “We also analyzed the recipients’ top engagement times — all to test our thesis: sending times matter, and message results depend on reader engagement routines, not just a little but a lot.”

But it’s far more complicated than simply sending your e-mail at the right time. As GetResponse explains, nearly one-fourth of all e-mail opens happen within one hour of delivery, making it more important than ever that your e-mail arrive at a time a user is at his or her desk, attentive and ready to read information. If you send your e-mail when a consumer is at lunch, for instance, that customer may simply give your e-mail a cursory glance in the long list of e-mails on his or her smartphone. By the time that person returns to work, your e-mail is forgotten in the heap of new messages waiting.

Since e-mail open rates drop by half by the second hour after you’ve sent it, it’s important to pinpoint a time when users are most likely to be reading. Most people would assume morning is the best time, but as GetResponse’s infographic points out, most messages arrive in users’ inboxes in the morning, creating far more competition for readers’ attention. For this reason, GetResponse found that sending your e-mail in the afternoon provides the greatest opportunity for reader engagement.

In fact, GetResponse found that from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., e-mail messages hit a peak open ratio, with 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. being the hour with the highest number of click-throughs. In the infographic, GetResponse also emphasizes the importance of adjusting your message for each time zone. For your customers in New York, 3 p.m. will fall at a completely different time than your customers in London or Australia. Separate your mailings out by time zone for optimum results.

GetResponse asks you to consider the life of your average reader. What time of day is that reader in the car on the way to and from work, cooking dinner, bathing children, etc. While there’s no one time that will guarantee every person on your mailing list will read your e-mail, you can improve results by choosing the best possible time.

 

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About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

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