Emails seeking consumer action are most effective when sent early in the week, according to research by SmartFocus on some 1.4 billion anonymised email marketing messages sent by major retailers in the UK.

The study revealed that brands can significantly hike up click-through rates (CTR) when sending email comms on specified days, with those sent on Tuesday gaining CTR of over 30% more than those sent on a Friday.

Meanwhile, Sunday proves to be the most effective day for sending informative and educational emails not requiring of an action, perhaps given that consumers have more free time and are more willing to read and digest content.

Despite this, Smartfocus found that the majority of email marketing communications, whatever the intention, were sent out on Thursdays and Sundays, while the fewest were sent on Monday and Tuesday, despite accounting for the highest open (18.6%) and CTR (2.5%). 

“Engaging effectively with customers is the ultimate goal for any email marketing campaign,” said Sarah Taylor, CMO at SmartFocus.  

“Brands need to have a deeper understanding of their customers’ behaviour and then tailor their email marketing campaigns accordingly. The results of the study show that there is a serious disconnect between marketer’s strategy and the consumers they are reaching out to.”

Drilling down into the optimal times to send email flights, SmartFocus found that the most marketing emails – accounting for 600,000 an hour – were opened between 6 pm and 9 pm, while those sent between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm were the least likely to lead to unsubscribes.

“In the competitive retail sector, ongoing engagement with customers is paramount,” Taylor continued.

“Using the results from this study, marketers and brands can better prepare campaigns, building a clearer picture of their customer and enabling them to target the right person, with the right offer at the right time. This individualised customer-centric approach will determine the success of any email marketing campaign in the future, particularly in light of the imminent GDPR deadline.”