Nowadays email can seem a little bit old hat; the marketing world is hooked on social media and all around there’s a curious idea that using anything else is a waste of time and efficiency.

The thing is though that email isn’t going to stop. It’s still one of the best and most used communication tools among businesses and clients and it’s going to remain that way for some time yet.

With this in mind, it’s important that we remind ourselves of just how powerful a tool it is when used right, and the fact that so many ecommerce businesses are neglecting it is because they’re experiencing poor results from going about it the wrong way. Recently, software provider GetResponse provided some email data which, with a little digging around, could prove invaluable. Some of their most poignant findings were:

Almost 24% of emails are opened within the first hour of being sent. After this period, the numbers drop sharply hour upon hour. The implications of this are that knowing when in the day to send your emails is crucial, and especially when promoting things such as flash sales businesses need to be aware of their actions.

Most emails are sent from between 6a.m. and noon, with the least occurring from midnight to 6a.m. Of course, this means that if you’re planning to send your emails within this period then you’re fighting against the most competition to have yours opened, but this might well be worth risking…

…The hours in which most emails are opened are between 8a.m. and 9a.m. and then again at 3p.m. through 4p.m. Compounding this, the most email click-throughs occur between 8a.m. and 9a.m., and 3p.m. to 8p.m.

What can we take from this? Well, most obviously that the best time to send emails is when your audience are already viewing their inboxes. Generally, this means morning and early afternoon (with early afternoon being preferable, as less emails are sent here), but if you’re relying solely on click-throughs then you might try being brave and sending emails later on in the evening when there’s less competition.

Less specifically than this though is the idea that email marketing is a science. Failed email campaigns are likely to do with a lack of research and the assumption that an email will find its audience regardless of when it’s sent, and this simply isn’t true. Producing an appealing message and being aware of the strengths and limitations of the technology are vital, and if you can check both of these off then you’re well on your way to seeing results.

Rob writes for leading SEO and PPC agency Vision Media.

When (And When Not) To Send A Marketing Email