The USPS is Going to Stop Delivering Mail on Weekends, Should You Start Delivering Emails?

After losing $16 billion last year, the postmaster general announced Wednesday that the Postal Service intends to halt Saturday delivery of first-class mail by this summer. That means most mailers, letters and catalogs would not arrive on Saturdays, ending a 150-year tradition.

I think that sucks, but there is an enormous budget deficit (imagine that) that the USPS needs to close. This is their best idea at the moment and one that President Obama has been pushing for quite some time. With physical mail being halted on Saturdays this got me thinking about the best times to send emails in the world of B2B marketing, and if weekends are indeed a good time to do so. It may be a stretch, but this is the type of thing I think about all day.

The notion of whether or not to email on the weekend was top of mind for me as I recently debated the topic on Twitter. Mike Volpe chimed in on the conversation with a link to the Science of Email Marketing presentation. I retorted with a heat map showing email open rates by day of the week for all emails sent out by Marketo’s demand gen team last quarter. How’s that for the power of revenue cycle analytics? Something that no other marketing automation provider can do by the way.

There’s a ton of info out there regarding the best day and time to send an email and in many cases the data is all over the place. Many believe sending email on Tuesday is optimal and Friday is the worst.  There are also those who believe that sending emails on the weekend when there tends to be less volume helps increase open rates.  What’s the correct answer? To be honest, there really isn’t one. To ensure optimal results, you simply have to test, test, test, then test some more.

The fact is that in 2013 it’s a whole new ball game. Many people check work emails on their mobile phones and are no longer tied to office hours. Since they have their phones with them all the time, Fridays or the weekend could be a great time to reach the constant email checker who is bored on a bus or on a train, or simply checking their messages before throwing in the towel for the week. As I mentioned previously, below is the heat map showing open rates for emails from Saturday to Sunday. Red signifies the worst times to send emails and green shows the best.

 

The bottom line is, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night should stray your company from experimenting with sending out email campaigns on Saturdays or Sundays. In the end, the best way to find out is to A/B test, review performance stats, iterate, and repeat. Who knows for sure, but after August 1st your customers and prospects might have more time in their weekends to open up your company’s mail.

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  • Anonymous

    Great blog post Jason. Leaves the marketing community with something to consider. This blog update would have been perfect to post/email on Saturday. Then you could have ran the test on your own post!

  • http://twitter.com/carriewriter carrie jaffe pickett

    I’m not crazy about receiving emails in my inbox on weekends, as I specifically schedule time for creative projects, writing, etc. I think marketers should be respectful that weekends are for refreshing, catching up, and getting ready for the week ahead, regardless if the new post office rule.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Thanks for the comment Carrie. I think it really depends on the industry and the message. The fact is that there are a lot of folks out there who don’t mind receiving marketing emails on weekends and some actually prefer it (myself included). As a marketer there are definitely incentives to schedule emails over the weekend, but again the bottom line here is to test and pay attention to where you have success.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Ha! Yes,good idea. Maybe I should have scheduled this for Saturday : )

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Kathy Chavez

    Good point about sending on a Saturday. I want to point out that I did not get her from email, but from Twitter. I wonder when the poster got the email.

  • http://cpom.us Chris Pomeroy

    Are the times adjusted for the local time of the recipient?

    It seems insane that 3AM on Saturday and Sunday would be green. Maybe you have less data here and one insomniac is throwing off the results?

  • http://twitter.com/HughMacfarlane Hugh Macfarlane

    Thanks Jason. We’ve recently found Saturday outperforming Tuesday. Opens are even of but net clicks (as a percentage of successful sends), are slightly better on Saturdays. Makes mobile friendly emails and landing pages key of course. Although time zones play havoc with data analysis. For example, it is already Saturday here in Australia as I read and respond to this post.

  • http://twitter.com/irinai Irina

    Jason, could you link to the Twitter conversation with Mike Volpe that you referenced? Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Sure thing:

    Experimenting with sending marketing emails on the weekends. Really curious to see the conversions come Monday…— Kevin Baldacci (@KevinBaldacci7) January 25, 2013

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Hi Hugh, Thanks for sharing that, very helpful.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    3AM on a Saturday or Sunday would be waiting in the persons inbox first thing in the morning. Check out Chris Brogan’s email that comes on Sunday morning. Really great time to send in my opinion.

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/ MicroSourcing

    There isn’t one answer when it comes to the best time to send an email or a physical mail because it depends on the recipient’s operating hours and the volume of messages they get on any given day. This differs greatly when the recipient is in another country or time zone.

Jason Miller is Senior Manager of Content Marketing at LinkedIn. Previously, Jason was Senior Manager of Social Media at Marketo and focused on optimizing social for lead generation and driving revenue. He is a regular contributor to leading marketing blogs such as Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, and Marketing Profs.

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The USPS is Going to Stop Delivering Mail on Weekends, Should You Start Delivering Emails?

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