Newsletter Schedule: How To Set This The Right Way
Timing is everything. How many good initiatives have failed because of poor timing? Unfortunately, when newsletters are concerned, timing is even more important. If you want your newsletter to be read, you need to know how to schedule it.
Plan for Delivery in the Morning
News happens all the time but your newsletter, even though it has ‘news’ in its name, isn’t Reuters or CNN to report news the moment it happens (or shortly thereafter). It is highly unlikely that your users are checking their mailboxes every minute in anticipation for your newsletter.
Rather, it is just the other way round. You need to plan your newsletter to be delivered when your readers are checking their inboxes because of the other emails they are getting. You need to do your best to fit into your readers’ attention span. This is why you can’t publish your newsletter whenever you want to but only when your readers are already tuned it.
The best time to have a newsletter delivered is in the morning. For many people the first thing to do when they go to the office (or even when they get up at home) is check for emails received overnight. If your newsletter is there when this check is performed, it stands a better chance to be opened. If the content inside is valuable, the user will either visit it right away, or mark it for later use.
On the contrary, when your newsletter is delivered in the afternoon, or even worse – in the evening, your readers are busy with other things and even if they notice it, the best they will do is set it aside for later use (which usually means the next day when the newsletter is already old). You just need to take these reading habits in account because timing alone can make or break your open rates.
Always Publish at the Same Interval
In addition to the time of the day when your newsletter lands in your recipients’ inboxes, another timing factor to consider is the interval at which you publish it. I already mentioned you can’t publish an issue every time something newsworthy happens, or whenever you simply want to. You need to develop a schedule because this creates a habit in your readers.
If you want your readers to say, “Hey, I didn’t get my newsletter today! I miss it!”, you must create a publishing schedule and stick to it. If you have lots to say, then it is easy because you can publish daily (same time each day, remember).
If you don’t have that much stuff to include, you can publish three, two, or even one time(s) a week but you need to be consistent – i.e. if it is three times, always publish on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, for example and stick to it for a long time. Test which days the readership is best and stick to them. Sometimes Mondays (post-weekend) and Fridays (pre-weekend) are poor in readership but this varies from one topic to the next.
If you are publishing a monthly newsletter, then you might not stick to the day that strictly. However, it will always be good, if you publish let’s say on the first/second/third, etc. Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, etc. (or at least in the first/second/third/fourth, etc. week) of the month because this also creates a habit.
Special Issues Are for Special Events Only
You might think that such a strict schedule is boring and it ties your hands. What if there is an important message I need to communicate and the next issue is days ahead? Of course, under special circumstances, when there are special events, you can have a special issue.
However, if you misuse the special issue concept and start issuing special issues there is nothing special about, soon you’ll lose the interest of your readers because they might remember the last few times you had a ‘special issue’ with nothing special inside and they will simply disregard your message. This is why you need to be careful with special issues and use them only when you really have to.
To an outsider, these timing tips might sound strange but to everybody, who has had the pleasure to deal with newsletters and ponder why the open rate is so low when the issue is ground-breaking, they are more than welcome. I hope they will help you, too.
This guest post was written by Ada Ivanova. Ada is the Blogger Relations Manager at WinkPress, which is a web resource about leveraging WordPress, its themes, and plugins to create versatile and unusual websites. Visit the site to learn more about WordPress newsletter plugins.