Timing is everything…or not?

timing_is_everything_in_email_marketingFor a while, there has been the assumption of certain sweet spot moments per day to send out an email campaign: 8AM here, 1PM there, 4PM on a Thursday but only if there are two doves on the window sill…you know the drill.
I believe in certain sayings. Timing is everything is one I use every once in a while: to note certain specific situations, photographs happening to have ‘perfect timing’, that stuff.
Is there something like perfect timing in email marketing? It seems it doesn’t matter anymore, excluding some specific timed offers. Tim Watson already wrote about this a while ago, and it is becoming even less of an issue these days. The reasons for this would be diverse, but I can name a few nice candidates.
Email everywhere, all the time
One of those is mobile. People are not chained to a desk anymore. They read and send email throughout the day, whether early morning while still in bed, on the couch during the movie on the tv or at the office while waiting for coffee to get into the cup.
In the old days, the daily number of touchpoints would be much lower, even if you were a desk jockey and working on a computer. There simple was a lot less email in the old days, so it wasn’t as important as a communications channel as it is now. The telephone, fax and such had much more importance then.
This makes timing less of an issue when it comes to landing in the inbox: it becomes more of an issue when it’s about truly reading and acting upon your email.
Where did I put that email from 1999?
This is where the second reason would come into play: people revisit emails more and more. It is one of the silent powers of email, compared to many other channels: it is patient. It just sits there, in an inbox, until something is done with it. Read, forwarded, clicked through: it doesn’t matter. You have delivered your marketing message: the receiver now has to decide what to do with it.
Certain emails have a higher chance of being saved: event notifications and reports, registration and login information, invoice or reservation emails. If you send out a lot of those, be sure they are as perfect as you can get them: they will be revisited a lot.
This one’s still got a heartbeat, doc!
A third reason which plays into mobile and email’s patience is inbox triage: these days more and more people skim their inbox first, sort out emails and afterwards, return to actually handle email. They do it either with tools or their own sanity, but it helps in handling big email volumes.
This last one gives the email marketer of today an advantage: make the intro (subject line, pre-header) of an email interesting enough to have someone at least not delete the message, or better: mark it to read it later. This will make sure that a person will engage with the email content at a moment that suits them better than the moment they receive the message. Awesome, right?

I sometimes say that the best time to send an email is when the chances are highest that the receiver will read/engage with the email. It seems the receiving end has slowly grown to that themselves over the years now, and that email marketers don’t have to worry about ‘timing is everything’ anymore – some exceptions about timed offers excluded, of course.
If you have a certain experience about timing and email campaigns you’d like to share, let us know in the comments!


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