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3 Facts About Email Marketing That Make or Break Campaigns

11/27/2016 05:57 pm ET

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Does your brand obsess over marketing? Good. Does your marketing team constantly try to stay up to date and fresh with their marketing? Great. Do they tend to abandon older technologies, and assume that they're obsolete? Hold up.

American adults spend, on average, around 11 hours looking at screens a day. Over 20% of those people admit going online "almost constantly," according to Pew Research - and it's no surprise that the younger the person, the more time they spend online, with 36% of 18-29 year spending more than double the time of those 65 and older. So what are those people doing, and how can your brand reach them?

The answer is email. Overall, 58% of online consumers check email as their first online activity of the day, followed by a search engine or portal site (20%), and Facebook (11%). Over 215 billion emails are sent every day. There's a reason why email marketing has a 3800% ROI, resulting in about $38 for every $1 invested.

So how can you master your brand's email marketing campaign? We asked the team at VerticalResponse, the leading email marketing platform, whose users sent around 100 million emails in 2016 - here are the top three guiding trends to keep in mind when developing an email marketing plan:

Brace for Q4: Email Density and Intensity Peak

The fourth quarter always dwarfs the others in number of emails sent, and often approaches double the amount of emails sent in the third quarter. While it's not hard to guess that these are due to all of the holiday shopping emails, there's a piece of good news that many overlook: open rates in the fourth quarter are 6 percent, which is the second highest rate of the year. Your consumers are actually looking at those emails!

Days of the Week and Holidays Play a Role in Success

If you examine your own behavior, it's no secret that the day of the week determines our activities, and habits can be completely disrupted by a holiday. As an example, the number of emails in October peaks on Thursday and Friday. However, in November, the highest-trafficked day is almost always Monday, as usage skyrockets on Cyber Monday. While the average is somewhat distorted, because of the activity that day, the statistic stands.

In December, Tuesdays and Thursdays see the busiest email traffic, with, unsurprisingly, the two weeks before Christmas showing the highest numbers as last minute sales are pushed out. Throughout the entire fourth quarter, VerticalResponse customers send the fewest emails on Saturday and Sunday - they're out shopping and partying, and they know their customer are too. However, if you're feeling brave, consider sending that promotional email on Saturday or Sunday, Harland Clarke found that users viewed 34.5% of emails sent on these days!

Time of Day Matters

While the most popular days of the week vary based on holidays and seasons in any given month, traffic according to time of day is more consistent regardless of the month.

The most popular time for VerticalResponse users to send email is between 11am and 3pm EST. The next most popular window is between 7am and 11am. EST. These findings lead us to reasonably conclude that email marketing is the most popular in the morning - however, don't write off 1pm to 5pm EST, which is the third most popular time during the holiday months.

Needless to say, sending emails during the night isn't the most popular business practice. Email numbers drop to their lowest between 11pm and 7am EST -- but it might be a good idea to experiment with this time period. Night owls actually tend to be more likely to look at your email, with an average open rate of 21.7% from 8pm to midnight, and 17.6% between midnight and 4am. Blame it on our round-the-clock work schedule with blurring work-vs-play boundaries, but the advice "don't send email late at night" is no longer relevant.

Whether or not you're ramping up to create an annual email marketing plan, or if you're just looking for some quick hints to boost your sales this holiday season, don't overlook email marketing - even though it's the oldest form of online communication, it's still the best.

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