Is Your Brand Sending Emails Thursdays at Lunch Time? So Is Everyone Else [Study]

  |  March 24, 2014   |  Comments

A study of 2,000 email lists and 93,000 emails by TrackMaven finds that the approaches many brands have taken toward email marketing are stale. Here are five tips to give your campaigns a boost.

Email is an important aspect of many brands’ marketing channels. TrackMaven wanted to explore what brands were up to with their email campaigns, so they examined more than 2,000 email lists and more than 93,000 emails to find out.

In their study, TrackMaven looked at days and times sent, word count, headlines, imagery used, and more. Let’s have a look at the results published this week.

Thursday was the most popular day to send email, while Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to be almost tied:


Most emails hit inboxes between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Eastern Time, right around lunch breaks:


The majority (59 percent) of brands kept their subject lines short – fewer than 50 characters (that's less than a full tweet!):


Were brands using question marks in email subject lines? Questions are rumored to incite opens, and TrackMaven research revealed less than 5 percent used question marks:


When it came to body content, most emails were 400 or more words:


Seems like most emails had a healthy word count-to-image ratio, with the research showing most contained five or more images:


TrackMaven’s take on the results of its research is that many brands may be following standardized ways of performing email marketing, so the approach seems stagnant. 

"Some of the graphs show beautiful bell curves and major commonalities ... the monotony of the exact similarities shows that marketers are all doing the exact same thing," said Sabel Harris, director of marketing at TrackMaven. 

Based on TrackMaven's research, Harris gave five tips on giving email marketing campaigns a boost:

1. Try Sending Email on Weekends

"Mostly, all emails are sent during the week and during business hours, creating a lot of noise and clutter in one's inbox during the work week," Harris said. "However, we found that only 6 percent of emails were sent on the weekend. You can easily cut through the noise and competition by sending emails on the weekends." 

2. Pay Attention to the Subject Line

"The first thing on an email that a subscriber will see is the subject line, and it inevitably determines whether or not he or she will open that email," Harris said.

TrackMaven's research revealed email marketers were creating shorter subject lines that follow the "clear, concise manner that increases the likelihood of someone opening your email."

3. Listen to Your Audience

"Because our report pointed out that marketers are, in fact, doing the same things with emails, it shows that most aren't paying attention to their audiences much at all," Harris said.

"With this report, we looked at emails across multiple industries, so if these marketers were really paying attention to when their subscribers are reading emails and what they want, the data wouldn't be as uniform. Knowing when your audience checks their email, but also providing valuable content at that time, can increase the effectiveness of your emails." 

4. Take Care With Body Content

Harris said the report showed a common benchmark among emails: the majority used images and had at least 400 words in the body content. "Email is consumed in a variety of ways now, not just on desktops. Making sure your images and copy are mobile friendly should be a priority now." 

She added that buiding a relationship through emails is key. "Will they want to read 400+ words? Or would they rather have something short and sweet to digest in order to spur some type of action?"

"Just because they open your email that doesn't mean that they won't quickly unsubscribe," she said.

5. Refresh 

Marketing is rapidly changing, said Harris, and "even though email has stayed, at its foundational level, the same, it doesn't mean that the elements of an email need to stay just as stagnant."

"If your audience gets used to you having the same format and sending it at the same time, your emails could become a part of the noise, and your audience will become blind to them ... varying the times you send the emails, down to the content inside of them will guarantee that your email will not get stale." 

This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.

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Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee is the founder of bizbuzzcontent, a boutique content services company that offers quality content creation services and content strategy consulting.

Since 2005, Jessica has been in the business of content and communications, with the past seven years focused on the Web marketing space.

Prior to launching bizbuzzcontent, Jessica was responsible for content strategy, development, and marketing for Bruce Clay Inc. - a global SEO firm, where she served small businesses and Fortune 500 clients.

Jessica has a bachelor's in communications and public relations from San Diego State University.

She contributed to the book Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies second edition, and her writing is featured in an active college textbook, Reading and Writing About Contemporary Issues.

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