Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to have time to participate in the Hub Spot webinar, The Science of Email Marketing. I say “participate” because Hub Spot did a great job of integrating Twitter into the experience, encouraging people to comment and ask questions using the hash tag #emailsci. The information presented challenged much of what I have learned about email marketing, both through experience and from other sources.
For example, way back, a whole 2 years ago, when I first started writing email newsletters, the company I worked for presented statistical evidence that the best day to send marketing email messages is Tuesday. Mondays are too busy, they said, and on Fridays everyone is bored and tired of working, and obviously, no one is working on the weekends. Hub Spot, though, surveyed 95 million email users and found the highest click thru rates occur on the weekends.
In my experience, the best day to send your email is different and it totally depends on your audience and your business. For example, I have one client who builds custom furniture and sends out a monthly newsletter. His open rates are much higher if it goes out on the weekend. However, I have another client who sells plants wholesale to garden centers, landscapers and the like. He sends out a weekly newsletter. His open rates tend to be better during the week.
It should be noted, however, that the Hub Spot statistics focused on the click thru rates, not the open rates. Obviously, if your recipients are clicking on your links, they are more engaged and that is great. But my own experience – personal and professional – tells me that it’s the open rate that is more important here.
Personally, I read lots of emails but don’t always click the links in them. Professionally, I send email newsletters for a wide range of businesses and some of the most successful sales campaigns have happened through newsletters that didn’t get a lot of clicks. Of course, my clients generally have very small lists so my observations apply to really small companies. Hub Spot probably consults with much larger companies.
Another interesting conclusion of Hub Spot’s survey was that 88% of those surveyed do not separate work and personal email, which seems connected to the previous statement about click thru rates on the weekends. I don’t care how many people they surveyed – I doubt the veracity of this one.
People who work for corporations, as administrative professionals, or other sort of “regular” jobs do not like working on the weekends, even if that work is opening emails. I know this because I’ve had a good many of those jobs. When I was an administrative professional, I spent the weekend trying hard to forget about the office entirely. As a teacher, I worked on the weekends, but it was grading papers and writing lesson plans, and definitely NOT checking work-related email.
Finally, Hub Spot showed statistics that seemed to say there is not much risk of sending out too many emails. My issue with this one is purely personal. I will unsubscribe from any list that over-sends. The only exceptions (for me) are LivingSocial and Amazon. With LivingSocial, I knew I was signing up for daily emails, so that makes it okay. As for Amazon, I want certain things and to get them I have to put up with receiving a whole bunch of crap I do not want – especially at Christmas. And to tell the truth, I delete 95% of the email I get from those two companies without looking at it.
One of my clients suffers from serious email overload. He wakes up to 100s of emails just about everyday, and feels that just about the only thing he has time to do is respond to email. In order to get that person to read your marketing email, you better be offering something he needs desperately. It seems rude to me to send something “just to keep your name out there” to people like him weekly or even daily.
What are your email behaviors? Will you click all the links? Do you separate your work and personal email? Do you prefer weekend emails? Is it possible to over-send to you?