Ever wonder ‘when is it the best time to send your emails?’ Or ‘how often you should send emails to your list?’

Perhaps you’ve been using email marketing in your business for a while and these questions have been at the back of your mind or you are new to email marketing and have not considered the impact that send time and frequency might have on your campaigns.

As simple as they sound, these are some of the questions business owners who want to get more out of the email marketing are asking. We’ve got a few more questions and some answers.

When is the best time to send emails?

Some say in the morning, others in the afternoon. The truth of the matter is, there is no ‘best time’ to send emails per se. There are a number of factors that vary from list to list and will be unique to you. Suffices to say the best way to determine the best time to send your email is to review your own data. Look at the open rates by day, look at open rates by hour and aggregate the data over time. If you don’t have that much data to analyse head over to Kissmetrics where you’ll find a nice little infographic which should give you some ideas for the best send times. Use this as a bench mark and build up your knowledge from here.

How often should I be sending emails?

A topic of much debate with a lot of toing and froing between sending daily, weekly or monthly. It should be possible to send email as often as needed, so long as the email you send offers something your audience will find of value. However use caution, some audiences in some markets may not be too receptive to your daily tips.

To figure out how often you should send emails start small and increase your frequency slowly. Be consistent in your approach as increasing your frequency in an inconsistent way can have an impact on your sender reputation, also keep a keen eye on those unsubscribes.

You care about your audience and want to build long lasting and productive relationship with them. The last thing you want is for your emails to end up in the spam folder. Unfortunately there are times when this might happen. To minimise the risk you should be working from an opted-in list, preferably one that you built-up yourself. You should also consider asking your audience to add you to their ‘Safe Sender List’ and use a recognisable ‘From’ name.

Top webmail providers also look at email open rates so make sure your subject lines are strong. You should also use best practice such as, clean HTML code, low image-to-text ratios and fonts; such as Arial and Times New Roman, that work across different platforms.

How can I stop my emails from landing in the spam folder?

How can I be sure my emails will look great when delivered?

Unfortunately email and webmail providers render HTML differently and whilst there’s been some progress in moving towards a unified standard we still have some ways to go.

Use designs that lend themselves to the channel. For example design your email both with and without images as most email platforms block images by default. Use CSS to make your emails responsive so that they will adjust to different screen sizes.

Once you have designed and built your email you should test it before you hit that all important send button. Most of the major email service providers such as Mailchimp, Hubspot, Campaign Monitor, should enable you to do this. Alternatively you can always sign up to the most popular email platforms and test that way by sending yourself emails to see how they look.

How can I measure the success of my email campaign?

Measuring the success of your email campaign will depend on the objectives that you have set however there are a number of metrics that you should be measuring as a minimum. These will enable you to gauge reach, engagement and value.

You should measure deliverability which is a measure of your reach. If your emails are not getting delivered to the inbox it could spell a bigger problem. Deliverability issues will impact your sender reputation and could lead to you getting your domain black listed.

Measuring the open and unsubscribe rates of your campaign will give you an indication of the level of engagement and brand recognition.

You should measure your click-through rate. It is an indication of the value of your email. If your message is not of any value then your audience will not click-through to your website.

What is the difference between a hard and soft bounce?

Sometimes you send an email to someone and you get a message back saying that they could not be found. This is what is known as a hard bounce and could be because the email address used is invalid, does not exist or has been closed. Any hard bounces should be removed from your email list right away as they will have an impact on your sender reputation.

If you send an email to someone and you receive an out of office message. This is known as a soft bounce. Soft bounces could also occur if there is a problem with the recipients server or their inbox is full. The recipients server may hold the email and try to deliver it later once any problems have been resolved. Keeping an eye on these can help you understand things such as when your subscribers are likely to be away on holiday.

Yes there are rules and laws; some you should observe, others you must follow.

Rules can be company specific and based around values and ethics. Laws are set by the various governing bodies in different countries and must be adhered to.

The laws such as CAN-SPAM include things like not providing a false or misleading “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” name and require you to make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe. EC regulation requires you the have your address in the email. You can find out more about CAN-SPAM here and the EC Directive here. There is also a new law which comes into effect in May 2018 called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This law is more stringent than CAN-SPAM and builds on the EC Directive offering greater protection for EU Citizens. You can find out more about GDPR from the Information Commissioners Office here

Are there any rules to email marketing?

Conclusion.

Whilst these questions may seem basic, you’d be surprises at how many people are asking them and with good reason. Not knowing where your emails are going or even if they are being delivered can have an adverse impact on your reputation and could get you black listed.

You’ve taken the time and effort to create strong messages, design and build beautiful emails and want to maximise the impact. It’s right to have some questions around these areas of email marketing as knowing when and how often to send will help you to strengthen the relationship you have with your audience. Furthermore knowing what to measure will tell you where to increase or decrease your energy and keep you focused on what works.

As with most things digital, email marketing is constantly changing and we would encourage you to keep questioning your activities within this space. This will be no doubt present new and interesting questions. Just don’t keep them to yourself.
Over to you, tell us about any new questions about email marketing that you might have.

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