Why small businesses should be mindful of timing when sending marketing emails

Marketers should avoid sending emails in the early hours in an attempt to top inboxes for the following morning, a study suggests.

Only 4 per cent of emails sent between midnight and 7am then go on to be opened, according to new research of 40,000 email campaigns from email and SMS marketing specialist Pure360.

The best time to send an email is during the ‘post-work peak’ as people are finishing up at work and heading home, according to the study, which covers email campaigns sent by 140 companies in 24 sectors. 

More a quarter (26 per cent) of marketing emails that are sent in the most successful hour, 5pm to 6pm, are opened – 9 per cent above average.

Abi Jacks, head of marketing at Pure360 says, ‘It’s easy to make assumptions about consumer behaviour and many marketers believe that sending emails first thing in the morning benefits their open rates.

‘But in fact, our research shows that they need to really get to know their sector audience and be aware of unexpected trends – such as the habit people have for opening emails that they receive as the time-pressures of the work day ease off on the commute home.’

Based on the research, Pure360 has identified the peaks and troughs throughout the day of when consumers are most receptive to being sent emails.

These include the ‘hike of hope’ (10am-12pm), when sending leisure emails is particularly successful, and the ‘practical pinnacle’ (7am-10am), the point at which sending finance emails is most effective.

There is a lull between noon and 3pm, on the ‘lunchtime ledge’. However, emails sent on functional concerns such as green issues, energy and technology perform best during these hours.

Travel emails perform best at 3pm, while the best time to send a direct response email across all sectors is during the ‘post-work peak’, between 5pm and 7pm. More than a quarter (26 per cent) of emails that are sent in the most successful hour, 5pm to 6pm, are opened.

There is another smaller peak in opening rates of emails sent between 7pm and 9pm. This is the best time to send emails on topics requiring a lot of consideration, such as cars, education and insurance, according to the study.

See also: 7 of the best email marketing software packages for UK businesses

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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