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mobile email

For those of you who missed it (and with 20,000 people registering for it I’m not sure who that may be) Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella’s “The Science of Email Marketing” was a reminder that testing and optimization are a core best practice which will ultimately drive the success of any email initiative.

Not that the webinar was focused on testing. Instead, takeaways were presented with the caveat “this may or may not be the case for you” ... which is another way of saying “test it and see what happens.”

Content was based on a mix of email data, Hubspot survey and focus groups results. Key takeaways include:

  • Try sending email on weekends: Based on data of over 9 billion emails (yes, billion with a “b”) provided by Mailchimp, Saturdays and Sundays have notably higher Click Thru Rates (CTRs); this is coupled with said data showing unsubscribes peak on Tuesdays. These rates include both B2B and B2C emails (although given the volume, are presumably skewed towards B2C.)
  • Send very early in the morning: Data layered over Hubspot survey results reveal while recipients report reading email throughout the day, CTRs peak between 6 – 7 am (localized).  And while unsubscribes also peak in the morning, they also spiked late in the evening (when readership dropped off).
  • Optimize your email for mobile: a bit of a no-brainer; surveys cited 80% of the respondents read email on mobile devices, highlighting the importance of making sure your email doesn’t look like scrambled eggs on mobile.
  • Include reference data in your email: Make email searchable. Focus group participants report using email inboxes as an archive of ‘elite’, personal data, referring back to it on an informational basis.
  • Use lots of links in your email: While this may be counterintuitive, Zarrella says there is strong correlation between a greater number of links and higher CTRs. Data also shows lower unsubscribes as the number of links increase. (This may be, of course, because the unsubscribe link is tougher to find…)
  • Serialize and label your email: Using continuity and content-based words such as “[this] week’s,” “newsletter,” or “digest” in the subject line leads to the higher CTRs. Conversely, the traditional “spam” words continue to hold true. [Bonus hint: monitor your spam box for common “trigger” words to avoid.]
  • Give your subscribers special access: Focus groups find people like getting offers specific to them, offers with exclusivity built into them. Another no-brainer, but worth repeating.
  • Send email from people they’ve heard of: Be it a celebrity name or a guru, people like receiving emails from names they recognize.
  • Do not be afraid to send too much email: Unsubscribes are notably higher for organizations that send one or two emails per month; as the frequency of emails reaches eight the number declines.
  • effect of sending frequency on ctr small
  • Your newest subscribers are your best: While most subscribers opt out shortly after first subscribing to an email, CTRs early on are also at a high – proving the adage “get ‘em while they’re hot.”
  • Ask people to follow you, not forward emails: It’s not just using social media, but using it wisely. Survey data showed about 80% people either never or rarely forward or Tweet commercial email, even with the advent of ‘share’ and ‘tweet’ buttons. Instead, get people to follow you through Facebook, Twitter, etc. driving prospects to subscribe to your email.
  • Make them want to get your emails: 70% of people report reading most or all of their email, and 58% have separate “junk” inboxes. Given that, Zarella stressed incorporating all the best practice takeaways detailed to ensure your message gets to people’s “good” email address, read, and acted upon.

The final takeaway, which predicated the presentation, is “Businesses are Consumers.” Survey data reported 88% of people not having separate work and personal email inboxes, blurring the line between B2B and B2C audiences and leading to some of the more counterintuitive takeaways. 

The real answer: survey your subscribers and test. In summary: think through these takeaways; use them to test timing, subject lines, frequency, to maximize the value of your email strategy and initiatives.

John Gibb

Published 15 February, 2011 by John Gibb

John Gibb is US Marketing Director at Econsultancy. 

1 more post from this author

Comments (9)

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Clive Miller

John, this is a useful list. I agree about testing however, these days many would be email marketeers are individual sales people. Selling is moving online because potential customers do most of their research online. In the old days, sales people could fulfil the information need in exchange for a chance to build a relationship. The traditional relationship building phase now has to be conducted digitally.

Individual sales people don't have the usual resources at their disposal. What are your thoughts and ideas for those who are doing it on their own!

over 6 years ago

Robin Buxton

Robin Buxton, Online Program Manager at Esendex

Interesting. Many of your tips seem to be the complete opposite of what I have previously been told about email marketing.

Still worth testing.



over 6 years ago


Nigel Williams, MD at Emailcenter UK

"Your newest subscribers are your best" - true, but usually because after a few untargeted blasts received, the subscriber is no longer engaged. Marketers that tailor their email marketing don't see this drop off in performance anywhere near as much.

over 6 years ago

James Noel

James Noel, Director at Perfect World Communications

Can you please breakdown and qualify the first & second points:
1 Try sending email on weekends.
2 Send very early in the morning:


over 6 years ago


John Gibb

Hi all - a few thoughts in order posed...

Clive - Certainly see what you're saying re: increase in independent sales people delving more and more into the world of email marketing. However, even for the individual sales person (or small enterprise) there are email solutions which are priced at an affordable rate (or even free), based on volume of emails sent and provide capabilities for tracking.
Robin - agreed on the results. As noted, while not specified given the volume this is probably B2C, not B2B, which is something to consider. However, in tests I have done emailing a B2B audience on weekends I did not see any adverse results so worth giving a whirl.
Sean - Again agreed, and that was actually a cavaet mentioned during the Webinar. Targeting your message is very key in todays' environment - the term "email blast" these days makes me cringe ;).
James - the webinar itself has specific slides addressing these points, but in brief the data from Mailchimp demonstrated a strong inverted bell curve on CTR on weekends vs during the week (about 9% Sat/Sunday vs 5% during the week). Similarly there was a strong peak of CTRs (upwards of 10-11%) at 6:00 a.m. (localized time) - the assumption here is that people are going through their email before they are fully into their workday.

Thanks to all for your reading the piece and your questions/comments!

over 6 years ago

James Noel

James Noel, Director at Perfect World Communications

Thank you for the feedback John - will just have to give it a go :-)

over 6 years ago



very nice I like it thank you for your sharing

over 6 years ago



A very good and handy list, John. I really liked the information you provided, especially optimizing your emails for mobile customers and giving your recipients some incentive to open up the emails with a catchy tagline.

However, one thing that's crucial is your message having relevancy. In his blog that I found (http://www.fullcirclesolutions.com/blog/practical-considerations-for-email-marketing/), relevancy helps cut through the clutter and puts the information into their hands -- making a call to action possible.

over 6 years ago


Jay Chambers

Nice summary - Most of the data i get back from my clients campaigns tallies pretty well with the above.

about 6 years ago

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