Follow our steps to find out how you can use your mass email software to pinpoint the best time to send your messages.
Sending out newsletters can be tricky. After all, it is not easy to write, design, and personalize messages that clearly convey your brand—much less the right time of day to send them out. On top of that, every target audience responds differently to emails sent at different times of the day. For newsletter marketing specifically, you must create something that conveys your brand and offers value to your audience. Unfortunately, if you send your perfectly crafted message at the wrong time of day, a large portion of your audience may end up missing it. That’s why we’re here to demonstrate how you can use your Gmail add-on to determine the best time to send your messages. Let’s get started!
What is Email Testing?
If you aren’t testing your newsletters, you could be missing out on key insight from your mass email software
Testing out your messages before sending them is important for any newsletter campaign—no matter how small. Testing your messages in your mass email software involves sending out two messages with one key difference and then examining the performance based on your target metrics. Using message testing, you can determine the best subject line, message design, call to action, and more! Really, any part of your message can be tested on performance metrics so you can gain better insight into which elements of the message engage your audience.
To determine the best time of the week to send out your messages, you should use the feature included in your mass email software called A/B testing to test different sending times. Now that we know what email testing is, let’s take a look at how you can A/B test to find the best time to send out your newsletter.
STEP 1: Segment Your Address List
The first step to finding the right time to send your message is to separate your address list by demographic
To find out the best time to send out your newsletter, you need to test for different groups. Each group may have a different time of the week that they are more receptive to clicking on your newsletter. Using your mass email software, you can easily segment your address list by age group, gender, profession, location, or any other information that you have collected from your target audience. It is super important to test for different audiences as people who are of different ages, people who have full-time jobs vs stay-at-home parents, or people who live in different time zones will all have different email habits.
Once you have divided up your list by adjusting the settings in your mass email segmentation tool, you’re ready for the next step in the process!
STEP 2: Guess When You Should Send Messages to Each Group
Predict before you begin testing your campaign using your chosen mass email software
Now that your address list is segmented, it’s time to predict when your recipients will be most likely to interact with your newsletter. Your prediction doesn’t have to be right—that’s why we’re testing to find out! But, it is necessary to have a starting point. That’s why it is so important to start with a prediction and begin testing from there. For example, you may predict that people who have children will wake up early in the morning and be most likely to check their email from 6-7 AM. Here's your starting point. When you begin testing, you can start by testing the current time you usually send your messages compared to the hypothetical time you predicted.
STEP 3: Split Your Address List Segment into A/B Groups
To get the most accurate results, you need randomly split your segment into groups A and B
Once you’ve made your prediction, you need to further split up the segment you chose to test. One of these groups will be the control and the other group will be the variable group. While you can A/B test for any aspect of the message—today we are testing for timing.
The last thing you need to make sure of before you begin A/B testing is the size of your two groups. To get reliable statistics on message performance, we recommend that each group has about 1,000 recipients. If you are a smaller business without a robust address list you can still A/B test, but you will likely have to test several times to get a reliable result.
STEP 4: It’s Time to Test Your Newsletter!
Now that you’ve created your A/B groups, it’s time to put your hypothesis to the test
When your test is completely set up in your mass email software, you’re ready to hit send and find out if your hypothesis is correct. Something you want to keep in mind is that you only want to be testing for the time of day that you are sending your messages. In practice, it means that the A group and the B group newsletter should be the same. If you change any elements of the message, you will end up invalidating your results on the best time to send out a newsletter.
STEP 5: Gather Your Data from the A/B Test
Congratulations! You’ve just run your first newsletter A/B test! Now it’s time to look at the results
After your results begin to roll in from your A/B test, you can start to thoughtfully analyze the data. The first step in this process is to take another look at your hypothesis and keep your prediction in mind. Then, you want to use your mass email tool to gather the reports on the open rate for each group. The group with the higher open rate represents the more favorable time to send out your message. The great thing about mass email services is that they make reporting easy. Without a mass email tool, it would be very difficult for business owners to gain actionable insight into their email campaigns.
STEP 6: Make Changes to Your Newsletter Campaign Based on the Results
Once you’ve determined a winner from your A/B group testing, it’s time to implement the information you’ve learned
Now that you have the results from your test, you can use the data to plan your next campaign. There is a good chance that your initial hypothesis was wrong, which means that you likely need to go back to the drawing board and make a new prediction. If your prediction ended up being incorrect—don’t stress! Audience behavior can be very difficult to predict! All you have to do is start with a new prediction and run the test over again. Your second run may provide some insight that you hadn’t considered in your first test. It is also possible that you are already sending your messages at a time that appeals to your audience which makes improvement difficult. This is—of course—only applicable for campaigns that can get high open rates. If your hypothesis is incorrect and you are still getting less-than-ideal open rates, it is a sign that you need to run a few more A/B tests to find the best possible time to send out your newsletter.
STEP 7: Continue Testing!
After you’ve analyzed your results from your first test, you need to keep testing to make sure all of your newsletters are optimized
No matter the results from your first test, you are going to need to repeat the process many times to make sure that you are getting the best possible results in the future. In our example we only tested one segment of an address list to find the best time to send messages—but what about all of the other segments? We recommend that you test your messages as much as possible to stay on target with your audience. You can repeat this process for each element of your message, too, including your subject line, newsletter copy, design, call to action, and more! The more insight you can gain about your audience the better!
Your tests will also depend on your goals for your newsletter. Are you interested in improving your open rate? Or are you trying to increase site traffic? And what about eCommerce conversions? These are all metrics that you can use to expand and improve future newsletter campaign strategies.
Overall, testing out your newsletter is your key to determining what makes your audience interact with your messages. Therefore, the more that you test your messages, the closer you are to sending the right kinds of messages—and at the right time of day. Once you feel you’ve hit your target, you’re on the right track. But, with the world constantly changing and people's priorities shifting it is important to test regularly to ensure you aren’t accidentally missing the mark.