Concerns of choosing the optimal timing and frequency of mailings are some of the questions companies are most interested in. Unfortunately, getting answers isn't easy as there are a variety of studies dealing with these issues, but they come up with different results all the time.

Still, the right timing is crucial as it is in addition to targeting and relevance one of the three most important criteria that guarantees that your emails are perceived and work well.

When is the best delivery time for emailings?

There is no general answer for this question so you have to find out your individual, perfect timing, by testing over a certain period different days and times.

As a general guideline, the following considerations can be useful:

a.    Target Group - B2B or B2C;
b.    Behaviors of your target group (if known);
c.    In addition, look for possible seasonal dependencies.

There are of course some general rules of thumb, too. Why, for example, is sending out at night not a good approach, or why is it recommended in the B2B sector never to send on weekends? The reason is simply the fact that readers are usually only active in the first 48 hours after having received an email.

Generally it is said the optimum time should be:

  1. B2B: generally middle of the week, Tuesday-Thursday morning (but not too early) or in the early afternoon - Monday morning and Friday afternoon should be avoided;
  2. B2C: especially if you have an online store, you should test on Monday mornings, because on that day the most will be bought! Even on weekends or in the early evening hours consumers are active.

Do also remember how important you are for your target audience. News or highly topical special newsletters are also well received in peak hours (such as Monday mornings). If you sell "just" fun products or hotel deals, your relevance for the receiver is rather low, therefore, it is probably worthwhile to consider not sending out at peak times.

What dispatch frequency is good?

There are very conflicting opinions about the frequency of emails. Some say "more", because those who send more email, will sell more, others are more moderate and provide concrete suggestions, such as for which target group or type of content a weekly or more a monthly rhythm makes sense.

Basically, it’s certainly true that most companies could send out more often, as their customers would be quite willing to read their messages more frequently. The dread to be considered a spammer is however still high, so you should not fall into the other extreme and email uninhibitedly.

The dispatch rate is in general a very sensitive criterion for which there is no right or wrong answer. Finding the right balance is a game between provider and reader, a balancing between supply (yours) and need (the customer).

Fact is that the dispatch rhythm depends on the target group! Put yourself in the position of your audience. Do your readers need or want your information daily, weekly, monthly? How relevant is your message to your readers (not for you ...)?

There are some rules of thumb to consider for frequency, too:

  1. Do not send too infrequently – if you message just once or twice a year, the recipient neither remembers their permission nor your offers. The recognition factor is gone.
  2. What decisive role does up-to-datedness play for your newsletter? What kind of products/services do you have?
  3. In weekly-changing offers, such as from grocery stores, messaging on a weekly basis definitely makes sense; vacation deals, however, nobody needs every week.
  4. The higher your delivery rate, the more important it is to send highly targeted, relevant and current content – if possible, be as concise as possible.

If you are already advanced in email marketing and run automated follow-up emails, the question of frequency is becoming even more important. How often should recipients, for instance, who have clicked on your offer in the newsletter but not bought yet, be contacted in succession?

In general, it is recommended to keep the interval between email messages relatively short. Every few days or each week is a good choice, while the frequency may initially be slightly higher. It has to be said here clearly that you have to find an end, too. After a certain period, you should stop writing to the recipient as often, especially if it is always about the same content.

Last but not least, don’t forget: content is king! Even if the question of timing and right frequency is handled well, you have to make sure to keep your content relevant. If that’s the case your email might still be opened at an inopportune time, too. When you send repeatedly in the week the same content or the same kind of content that is simply not relevant for the reader, not even a well-thought-out timing strategy saves your email from ending up unread in the trash.

By Daniela La Marca