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The effects on both engagement and revenue of controlling exactly when marketing emails reach the consumer's inbox has been highlighted by research from email service provider StrongMail, which has surveyed the email delivery performance capabilities and objectives of over 700 businesses. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The 'Email Delivery Performance Survey 2012' study found that 80% of business leaders reported performance increases from emails delivered during a particular time of day, and 60% reported a decrease in performance when emails did not arrive at a scheduled time.

Despite the fact that most business (74%) said they would like more control over the arrival of their email campaigns, the study found that 53% were not actually testing for an optimal delivery window, and 61% were not doing any segmentation of email campaigns based on time of day.

"The time when an email arrives in a recipient's inbox can play a significant factor on whether it's read or acted upon; however, it's clear from this survey that not enough marketers are testing for optimal delivery windows nor have the control they need to get messages delivered when they can be most effective," said David Atlas, senior vice president of marketing for StrongMail.

For example, according to Jessica Shapiro of flash sale site Zulily, many mothers have made the site's 6.00am boutique-brand offer email part of their daily routines. These emails, delivered by StrongMail, help to ensure that Zulily meets its members expectations and provide them with a valuable service that builds engagement and loyalty, and maximises email views and open rates.

With 80% of the survey's respondents reporting that they have seen spikes in performance based on when emails are delivered, it is perhaps surprising that more than half (53%) aren't actively testing for optimal email delivery windows. It is interesting, however, that 87% of marketers report that there are tangible benefits to being able to control when emails arrive. Two of the top three benefits are linked directly to the primary goals of nearly all email campaigns: increased engagement (65%) and increased revenue (34%). The ability to run time-sensitive promotions (54%) was the second most important benefit, which emphasizes the importance that email timing plays in limited inventory promotions (e.g. flash sales) or any communication where success is linked to the start of an event (e.g. flight status updates).

While the survey results confirm that most marketers do understand the value of getting emails delivered when they are most relevant, nearly three-quarters (74%) said they would still like more control over the arrival time of their campaigns. But there are several factors that can limit a marketer's ability get their messages delivered during a set delivery window: With the top inhibitors being identified as internal resources (50%) and email service provider (ESP) limitations (22%), it is important for marketers to partner with a provider that has the resources and technology required to guarantee delivery of email campaigns within a set delivery window.

The full results of the survey have been made available for free download from StrongMail's web site - click here (PDF document; no registration needed).