The danger of conventional wisdom in email marketing

There’s a significant danger lurking in conventional wisdom in email marketing. What do we mean? Here’s an oft-repeated piece of advice:

“The best day to send email is [insert day here]”.

You see this sort of advice repeated like a bad kitten meme on social networks everywhere, whenever someone publishes a new “study” (with questionably sourced data) about email marketing or social media. The current conventional wisdom is that Tuesday is the best day to send email, and it appears based on what our data center’s aggregate statistics are showing that people are following that advice slavishly:

Conventional wisdom will only get email marketers so far.
Our daily email monitor in our Atlanta office lobby

Every Tuesday, our aggregate volume spikes predictably as people go for what they think works. Meanwhile, days like Saturday and Sunday are left somewhat neglected.

Now flip this conventional advice on its head. You and your competitors are all flooding customers’ inboxes on Tuesday. There are literally 4x as many emails flooding in on Tuesday as on Sunday. If you’re looking to grab someone’s attention, should you send email when they’re the most swamped or the least swamped?

We’re not saying that Sunday is the best day to send email. Please don’t take that away from this post. What we’re saying is that you need to question the advice you are reading in marketing publications and blogs (especially online) that give too-easy, too-pat answers, because there’s a good chance everyone else is following the same advice. Instead, test, test, test for yourself. Send email using our 168 hour method and see when your audience responds best, as opposed to just blindly following overheard advice.

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts

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  1. Amen. The most frustrating example of this is when I’m in a seminar at a conference, and a speaker says something like, “Tuesday is the best day to send email” … and then the hashtag gets absolutely flooded with people blindly parroting this newfound kernel of wisdom without taking so much as a moment to think about it. It’s maddening.


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