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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Timing Your Blog Posts for Success

If you are like many #bloggers and #email marketers, you finish writing your masterpiece and hit “publish” as soon as you’re done. But have you ever stopped to consider that those moments may not be the best time to reach the most readership for your blog? Timing your post can have a huge impact on who will read your blog and who may never see it.

How time zones affects blog readers

Since the American west coast is 3 hours behind the east, it’s safe to assume that posting a blog early morning on the east coast would mean that the people on the west are still sleeping. People are more likely to delete a blog post in their inbox early in the morning because their inboxes are full and they are in a hurry to get to work, drop the kids off to school or at the bus stop, and are thinking ahead to their morning meetings.

Another reason inboxes are cluttered in the morning, is because almost 40% of ALL email messages are sent between 6 AM and noon. By afternoon, most people are starting to wind down from the day, have ciphered through their emails, and have more time to read a blog post.

Timing posts for international readership is even more complicated and would be another post all by itself. Therefore, since most of our readership is located in America and Canada, we will concentrate on those areas.

Besides location, another consideration is the industry of your target audience. For instance, if you’re sending out an email to a list of child care professionals, the worst time to send it would be early morning between 6-8 AM or late afternoon between 4-6 PM when most parents are dropping off or picking up their kids. An industry of employees who work 2nd or 3rd shift may be best to reach when it is least appropriate for everyone else. Remember the demographics of the majority of your target audience and schedule your blog posts accordingly.

What do the stats say?

Statistics show that close to 24% of all emails are opened during the first hour of being received, but open rates rapidly decline over the next 23 hours after that. Subscribers’ highest open rate is between 8 – 10 AM, which contributes to cluttered inboxes in the morning. If that is when most people open and read email, then that is when businesses will want to send email. The second highest open rate time is between 3 – 4 PM.

The problem with hitting these timing slots, is the risk of being sandwiched between hundreds of other emails in overly cluttered inboxes. While the open rates are highest during this time, the number of deletes are elevated as well, resulting in subscribers receiving and opening a lot of emails—to glance at them, barely scanning through them, and then hitting the delete button. It is much harder to gain their attention when all your subscribers want to do is clear out their inbox so they will feel more in control of their lives. This leaves the option of sending your email at another high open rate time, to avoid some of the highest clutter. Therefore, consider early afternoon.

If you have subscribers from all over the globe, then you might want to try the Time Travel feature that GetResponse provides or Time Warp through MailChimp. They allow you to set the same time delivery for all your subscribers based on their specific time zone regardless of where they are located. Check with your current email provider to find out if they offer something similar. Most of these features are only available through a paid service.

A/B Testing

This is an email testing service that allows you to break up your subscribers into different groups. You can choose different subject lines and headers, as well as different times to send out your emails. It will allow you to figure out which settings work for your particular subscribers. What works for other businesses will not necessarily be the best fit for you, so it is a great way to test your subscribers without actually having to poll and survey them.

What other timing solutions have you tried?


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