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Email Marketing 101: Sending Best Practices

It’s a question as old as email marketing: when and how often should you email your prospects?

And the answer is simple (if somewhat frustrating): it depends. For instance, if you’re a B2C marketer, nights and weekends are a far better time to reach out, when your readers won’t be distracted by work emails and will be free to shop online at their leisure. For a B2B marketer, these hours probably couldn’t be a worse time to communicate about a business-related product or service.

But while your timing and frequency will ultimately depend on your product, there are some general rules of thumb that can help B2B marketers make sure their messages get the attention they deserve. Let’s take a look:

Be mindful of weekends and holidays.

Don’t send emails when your readers are likely to be on vacation — meaning that, unless your message concerns a Fourth of July weekend sale, you probably shouldn’t be sending out eblasts this Thursday or Friday. Email tends to pile up during these periods, so when your recipients get around to checking their overflowing inboxes, your email will likely be overlooked. For B2B marketers, this rule also extends to weekends and Monday mornings: prospects are already dealing with a stack of weekend email, so don’t let your best efforts get lost in the shuffle.

Aim for an early afternoon.

If your email is already sitting in your prospect’s inbox when they get into work, you’ll be competing with the usual barrage of early-morning email. Sending in late afternoon puts you at risk for getting brushed aside as your prospects knock off work and go home for the day — meaning your email must compete with the next day’s inevitable early-morning deluge. So it stands to reason (and a MailChimp study seems to confirm) that your best shot at successfully getting through to your prospects is in early afternoon, a little after lunch time.

Find your frequency sweet spot.

Finding the perfect frequency can be a little tricky: you should be sending emails frequently enough to stay top of mind with prospects, but not so often that you become an annoyance. Luckily, the nature of your product or service and the campaign tracking data you gather can help you find the sweet spot between too often and not enough.

A marketing automation solution can help you strike this happy medium by automating campaign actions based on decisions you’ve made ahead of time regarding timing and other variables. They also save considerable time and labor by allowing users to create emails and schedule them for future deployment, ensuring that your campaign is timed right while requiring minimal investment from you.

Be consistent.

This may seem like common sense, but don’t go two weeks without sending an email and then send three in one day. If possible, let your recipients know upon signing up what you will be sending them and when (better yet, let them choose how often they receive your emails), and stick to this schedule. Not only does this make your business seem more organized and credible, it makes it far less likely that a recipient will get fed up with an inbox clogged with your emails and hit the “Report as Spam” button.

What are some other email sending best practices you’ve found in your experiences? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!

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