Timing Your E-Mail Marketing Messages - dummies

Timing Your E-Mail Marketing Messages

By John Arnold

Timing is everything in your e-mail marketing strategy. Send messages too frequently and your customers may perceive them as spam; send messages too infrequently and you drop out of your customers’ consciousness.

Consumers are willing to receive e-mails with almost any frequency as long as the content of the message remains relevant and valuable to them. Keep your content relevant, and they — most likely — will remain happy with your frequency.

Consumers generally judge e-mail frequency depending on the following:

  • The total number of e-mails

  • The length of each e-mail

  • How often you ask them to take action

  • The relevance of the information you provide

  • The timing

For example, a stock broker could probably get away with sending an e-mail twice per day to her subscribers if the message contains a single line of text announcing the current price of important stocks. The same stock broker would probably run into trouble, however, if she sent promotional e-mails asking customers to invest in various stocks twice a day.

Balancing the frequency of every e-mail message with the needs and expectations of your audience is more of an art than a science.

Your audience is more likely to respond positively to your e-mails if you send them when the recipients are likely to have time to read and take action on them — a Monday-morning e-mail to a work address is likely to be shunted to the bottom of the list.

Determine when to send your e-mails with this process:

  1. Test for the best day.

    Divide your list into equal parts and send the same e-mail on different days to determine which day receives the best response. For example, if you have 1,000 e-mail addresses, you can send 200 on each day of the week. Whichever day receives the best response can be your sending day going forward.

  2. Test for the best time of day.

    After you test for the best day, you can then test for the best time of day. Divide your list and send the same e-mail at different times on the same day.

  3. Set up a master calendar for each list.

    If you send more than one e-mail format, use a spreadsheet or a calendar so you can view your e-mails by frequency and format:


Planning allows you to visualize your e-mail frequency and make adjustments so you don’t inadvertently send too many e-mails too close together and overwhelm your audience. You can also use a calendar to help determine when to send e-mails that come up at the last minute. You can use a spreadsheet or a calendar to create your own frequency planner.