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In all of the focus that email marketers, newsletter publishers, and other volume email senders put on tweaking their content, format, and other aspects of their email to help maximize deliverability, they often overlook the scheduling of their mailings – by which I mean when they send their mailings, and how often they send them. Yet this can have a definite impact on your deliverability! Here then, are the top 5 mistakes that email senders make in scheduling their mailings.

1. Sending email too frequently

If you send email to your mailing lists too frequently, you can cause a number of unintended effects, all of which will affect your deliverability. First, you can tick them off, and they will hit the “this is spam” button. That’s really bad. Second, you can cause them to tune out and just ignore the email – this will affect your open rate which yes, make no mistake, will affect your deliverability rate. Think about it this way: if you were an ISP and a sender’s email never got opened, by any of your users, wouldn’t you start sending it to the spam folder?

2. Not sending email frequently enough

Conversely, if you don’t send email frequently enough, then people will forget who you are, or that they signed up for your mailing list. Then, guess what happens when, suddenly, after two years, a user gets email from you, seemingly out of the blue, advertising your service? That’s right – they hit “this is spam” – because they don’t remember you. It’s important to find that delicate balance between sending email often enough that your users remember and follow you, but not so often that you get them upset by inundating their inbox.

Also, and even more potentially devestating, if you only send email very occasionally, but when you do you send a lot of it, many ISPs and other receiving mail servers will junk folder with extreme prejudice – why? Because it’s classic spam and phishing behaviour, and looks a lot like a bot net.

3. Not sending email consistently

This goes hand-in-hand with item #2. If the timings of your mailings aren’t consistent, then people can’t anticipate your mailings. If they aren’t anticipating them, they aren’t expecting them, and if they aren’t expecting them they – you got it – mark them as spam.

4. Sending an email just for the sake of sending an email

Once you recognize the importance of sending your mailings consistently, it’s also important that you have something to say! Don’t send an email just because it’s time to send another email. In other words, do send an email when it’s time to send another email, but not just because it’s time to send another email. Have something interesting, and useful, to say. Because even if you send an email when it’s time – if your emails are just rehashes of other things you’ve sent, or yet another announcement of the same thing – your users will either get ticked and hit “this is spam”, or get desensitized to your mailings and stop opening them which, again, can affect your deliverability bottom line.

5. Not paying attention to the day and time that you send your email

If you think that the actual timing of your email – whether it’s sent on a Monday or a Friday, in the morning or the afternoon or evening, doesn’t matter, well, you’re wrong. For some email senders, having their email show up at the end of the business week is the kiss of death – for others it’s the ideal time as it gives their users the whole weekend to look the email over. It depends – a great deal – on your target audience. The only way to find out the best day and time to send your mailings is to test it and carefully track your open and click-through rates.

And there you have it in a nutshell – the 5 mistakes that senders make in the scheduling of their mailings.

Have you thought about these things before? Have you committed these mistakes? What changes are you going to make now that you know?

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3 Responses

  1. This is a very interesting piece. Since mine are pre-determined based upon when someone signs up I seem to have very little control over when they receive it except it is timed for a period of days/weeks after the last in the series. How do you address this?

    However, broadcasts I can time and have found there are ideal times and days of the week which work best.

  2. Very good article, all valid points. I was hoping you could clarify something for me. You say “Think about it this way: if you were an ISP and a sender’s email never got opened, by any of your users, wouldn’t you start sending it to the spam folder?”

    What is the technology behind this? I was not aware that a recipient email client passed info back to the ISP on whether a message was opened or not.

    Opens to affect deliverability by bogging down your email addresses with people who are no longer interested, but I am not aware of any technology that open rates are somehow collected by the ISP.

    Please clarify.

  3. Point 5 is so very very true. No matter how many times you tell people this, they just won’t listen and instead insist on sending out as soon as they’ve finished the email (at 18:32 on a Friday Evening).

    I think it’s the idea of “testing” that seems to scare the living daylights out of people. As if it’s going to really damage their stats if the portion of the email they send to doesn’t have a good return.

    An excellent post well done, thanks to Anne for pointing me over to it!

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