What’s your primary channel for communicating with employees? If you’re like most of us, the answer is, of course, email.

But what you don’t know about email may limit its effectiveness. For example, did you know that sending email at certain times of day increases the likelihood that employees will open a message? And that some days of the week generate more “opens” than others?

To improve email performance, take a page from marketers and pay attention to how and when you send email, not just what the message is. To get you started, here some key facts from MailerMailer's latest Email Marketing Metrics Report as reported in MediaPost’s Research Brief:

  • Too much email is leading to lower open rates. Over the past three years, for example, retail email volume has increased by 61%, reaching a record high in 2010. “As the volume of emails reaching the inbox increases, the likelihood that recipients are opening and interacting with the email starts to diminish, perhaps explaining the slow and steady decline of email open rates over the past few years,” says the report.
  • Your employees are reading a greater percentage of their emails using a mobile device. Roughly 70 million mobile users accessed email through their mobile device or smart phone in 2010, with 43.5 million doing so on a near-daily basis.
  • If your employees don’t open an email right away, they probably won’t open it at all. According to the Research Brief article, “Email marketers can expect their open rates to peak within the first two hours after delivery. This peak is then followed by a sloping decline for the next 46 hours. An email marketer can expect roughly 50% of 300 opens to occur within the first 6 hours of delivering their email message. Within the first 24 hours, approximately 77% of the 300 opens will have occurred.
  • Because you have a small window of opportunity for employees to open email, when you send the message matters. Open rates fluctuated marginally throughout the week, with Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays generating the highest open rates during both the first and second halves of the year.
  • Perhaps the most important factor? Timing. Email messages scheduled to be delivered very early in the morning generate comparatively high open and click rates. The findings suggest that email marketers who schedule their email campaigns to be delivered between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. can expect higher volumes of email opens and clicks. Emails are typically opened during the morning hours between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.. During this time, email open rates maintain a steady climb until noon, at which point open rates begin to slowly decline. There is a notable drop off during the middle of the day in which email opens and clicks tend to be stagnant for several hours. This means emails scheduled to be delivered during the middle of the day are less likely to be opened.
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