"We fuss over subject lines, offers, calls-to-action, and targeting, but sometimes a lack of response is simply a matter of timing," says Mark Brownlow in a post at the Email Marketing Reports blog. "By the time the recipient checked her inbox, your carefully crafted email was buried by Facebook alerts, business memos and a reminder to pick up a bottle of wine on the way home."

In an ideal world, you have both the free time and a sufficiently large list to test which time-of-day or day-of-week nets the best overall results. But Brownlow concedes you may have neither. So to help, he offers a few ideas for some simple do-it-yourself testing:

Graph the results from six months of campaigns. Notice any clear patterns? Adjust your mailing times accordingly.

Study the opens-per-hour in the context of time-since-send. The ideal distribution will resemble a relatively smooth arc when graphed; if you notice deviations, finding the cause might help improve your timing.

Segment according to times when a recipient typically opens your message. For instance: Checks email between 6am and 10am EST; or Checks email between 9pm and 2am EST.

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