Everyone raves about the effectiveness of sending out email blasts, but what happens when your email campaign isn’t cutting it? It may be something as simple as timing. Interestingly, the day of the week and the time of day are important factors in determining email marketing success. If you’re confident that everything else is up to par – format, graphics, content, headline – then it’s time to take a look at an obvious culprit.

Day of the Week

Companies tend to send out emails when it’s convenient for them. If this is the approach you’ve traditionally used, it’s time to start thinking about what’s best for your recipients instead.

According to research from GetResponse, most inbox traffic and activity take place on the typical work days, Monday thru Friday. The reason for this is not surprising. People probably spend more time in front of their computers, as opposed to the weekends when they are out and about. And, we all know those dreadfully long days at the office. Taking a few minutes out to read emails is common practice to speed the day up, if even for a minute.

The data from GetResponse found that Thursday is the best day overall. It is the day where the most emails are sent, opened and clicked through. This may be because people are planning for the weekend, but are still in front of their computer. A promotion or discount sent on a Thursday may entice people to plan a trip to your store for the weekend.

Out of the five work days, Mondays and Fridays have the least engagement. Monday morning, it’s common for people to ‘start fresh’ and delete all emails that look like junk or were sent over the weekend. On Friday, people may be disinterested and already planning for the weekend.

Time of Day

GetResponse’s research indicates that the majority of email is read on the same day it is sent out. Emails have the best response when read within the first 60 minutes of being sent. After 24 hours, the chances of having the email opened are close to zero. What this tells you is that you need to get your emails in front of recipients when they are most likely to open it. Understanding your audience can help you in determining when this time is.

For instance, afternoon emails seem to have a better chance of being opened, but your audience may show more activity in the evenings when they are settled down for the day. Top activity in general is from 8-10 am and 3-4 pm.

Don’t read too much into these numbers. These are simply averages across industries, and you may find that the complete opposite works for you. The important point to remember is that both the time of day and day of week are critical measures to consider in your email marketing strategy.