Direct mail continues to be a powerful tool within businesses’ marketing strategies, especially when aiming to reach specific target audiences. One crucial aspect that can significantly impact the success of a direct mail campaign is the time in which it is sent out. Keep reading as we explore the question that plagues many marketers: What is the best time of the week to send out direct mail?
Send Time vs Time Received
Before getting started, it’s a good idea to clarify the difference between the send time and the time received when thinking about the best time of the week to send out direct mail. This is because the day you send out your mailers is unlikely to be the day your audience receives them. Depending on which postage option you choose, it could be a couple of days after the send date that they receive your mailer. Therefore, taking into account the delivery time is important.
When businesses and mailing companies talk about send-out dates, make sure you understand whether they are referring to the delivery date or the actual postal system send-out date, as businesses may differ in terms of their terminology.
Determining the Best Time to Send Out Direct Mail
When determining the best time of week to send your direct mail campaign, it’s important to take into account your target audience, especially when it comes to different international markets and demographic groups, as they may respond differently to receiving mail at various times. However, there are some common best practices when it comes to sending out direct mail and the time of week for optimal campaign success.
Why is the Send Out Time of Direct Mail Important?
Send out time is important as it can have a significant influence on the engagement and overall success of the direct mail campaign. Like all forms of marketing, whether that be email or a television campaign, delivering your message at the optimal time is key.
When it comes to direct mail, identifying days that will provide a better return on investment (ROI) is essential. Direct mail requires design work, printing, production and distribution, all of which add up, so giving your campaign the best chance of success is a no-brainer.
The Best Time of Week to Send Out Direct Mail
Much like there are optimal times to send emails and post on social media, direct mail has peak days too.
Tuesday to Thursday (Midweek)
Aiming for your direct mail to arrive through your target audience’s letter box midweek is thought to be a prime send time by many marketers. Mail received on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday is thought to receive higher attention and engagement compared to mail arriving on Mondays or weekends. This is because it avoids the Monday rush, whereby the majority of a household’s mail arrives, meaning your campaign may be lost within all the other mail, and before people start gearing up for the weekend.
Research conducted by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) found that the total volume of mail received peaks on a Wednesday (18.8%), followed by Thursday (16.5%), Monday (16%), Friday (15.5%), Tuesday (15.2%), Saturday (13.2%) and finally Sunday (4.8%), with unaddressed mail volumes declining after Wednesday. This shows the general trend of mail received within the UK, highlighting the best practices for sending midweek, but could also highlight opportunities for targeting recipients on lower volume days such as a Tuesday.
With the average attention span for direct mail being 108 seconds, it’s important to maximise the time that is in front of your audience, so sending midweek allows your recipients to focus on your message without the distractions that often accompany the beginning and end of the workweek.
As mentioned above, avoiding your direct mail campaign arriving on a weekend is thought to be a good idea. Although you may think that a Saturday or Sunday provides the recipient more leisure time to go through their mail, the reality is that many are preoccupied with weekend plans, are away from home or delay looking at their mail until the next week. Some may also return home from a weekend away and immediately throw out any direct mail they’ve received to start the week afresh.
In addition, if you are sending to a business or company address, the premises are likely to be closed over the weekend, meaning it’s less likely your mail will reach the hands of the right decision-makers and get lost in the delivery of more mail come Monday morning.
Things to Consider When Deciding on Sent Out Times
Take a look at the factors we consider when sending out a direct mail campaign to help you decide what is the best time of the week to send it and your audience to receive it. It’s also important to remember that every direct mail campaign is different and ideal send out days may vary depending on the audience or type of message.
Consider Your Industry & Messaging
Although there are many thought processes and theories as to when to send out a direct mail campaign, it is also important to consider your industry and the type of message you’re sending to your audience, as this can influence the best time of the week to send direct mail. For instance, a restaurant sending out a promotional offer may want to send it earlier in the week to give recipients time to make a booking for the weekend. In addition, if a company is sending time-sensitive discounts or invitations, these obviously need to be in line with the dates of the promotion or event, giving recipients enough time to take the required actions.
Testing & Analytics
Every business and audience is different, so if you really want to find out the best time of week to send your direct mail you will need to do some A/B testing of different send days and track your key KPIs and response rates accordingly.
Is Personalisation More Important Than the Send Day?
When it comes to direct mail, personalisation and its ability to engage recipients is arguably just as important as sending on an optimal day. For example, you may send your direct mail at the very best and most optimal time for your audience, but if your mailer lacks eye-catching design and has no call to action then it’s not likely to receive high engagement, despite arriving on your recipients’ doorsteps at prime time.
In contrast, a direct mailer that is expertly designed, unique and stands out, has a strong call to action and is personalised to the recipient (whether that be their name or last purchase information) will fight through all other mail received. A study conducted by the Royal Mail found that personalised mail is 35% more likely to drive an actual purchase than unaddressed mail!
Therefore design and personalisation are just as important as the send time of direct mail when wanting to achieve results and ROI.
The Send Out Day Isn’t Everything
Although there are clearly better days to be sending and receiving direct mail, it’s important to understand that the day isn’t everything. Direct mail has a much longer life cycle than other marketing materials, especially emails. With an email, many delete them from their inbox almost instantly, sometimes without even reading them. With direct mail, Royal Mail found that 45% of mail stays in the home for over 4 weeks, an incredible statistic which increases the chance of a direct mailer being seen or read, even if it is not on the desired day.
Therefore, although there are optimal times to send direct mail, it isn’t the be all and end all, with many other factors coming into play that can impact the success of a direct marketing campaign.
Sending Direct Mail with DMS
Whether you’re a business, charity, individual or political party looking to send out a direct mail campaign, we are the direct mailing house to do it. We specialise in direct mail and have a team of experts ready to help you with all aspects of your campaign, from printing and production to postage and delivery. Get in touch for a free quote or to find out more.