I see many folk talking about when to send emails. Do you send them early in the morning, so they're at the top of the inbox?

Or at lunch time, so you catch them on their break?

How about 5pm, on their way home from the office?

You can (and should) try all these. Experiment with it and see what works.

I'll say a few things on this, though:

First, there's no perfect time. It's kind of like asking when the perfect time of the day to sell shares is. If there were such a time, everyone would do it, making it the worst time.

Email's the same way. Do you want to get lost in a flood of other messages?

But there's a bigger question to answer about this:

What on earth do you mean by “morning” or “5pm”?

Maybe you have a clinic somewhere, so all the folk on your list are in the same city. But I bet that's the exception, not the rule. If your readers are scattered around the world, there is no “morning” or “afternoon”.

Case in point:

I live in Australia. This puts me 14-16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the US. And I sleep a normal amount – call it eight hours, give or take.

And so while sleeping is about a third of my day, I reckon that's when I receive two-thirds of my daily emails.

This means I can clear my inbox when I go to sleep, and wake up to find it full.

The result?

I delete a lot of those messages without reading them. Meanwhile, the emails that arrive during the day (that is, during my day) catch my attention. I'm much more likely to read them.

Now, you might think you know what my point is.

“Figure out what timezone they're in and send emails during the day!”

Well, no.

If you want to do that, give it a shot. That sounds harder and less useful than my actual point:

Assume your email arrives when they're sleeping.

Assume 20 (or 50) other emails do the same.

(Even if you know it's not the case.)

Why?

Because it forces you to get good.

How do you stand out, grab the reader's attention and inspire them to act (or at least open your email)?

Why, with an effective subject line, of course.

You might be tempted to dial up the hype. But if your subject is unbelievable, folk won't read it.

You might be tempted to infuse as much urgency in as possible. But your readers receive boring “LAST CHANCE !!!” emails literally every day.

Do bold claims with tight deadlines work?

They can – of course they can.

But, at the risk of being redundant, I don't care about missing opportunities I don't care about. I have no interest in learning medieval Mongolian cooking, no matter if it's my last chance or not.

The fact that time is running out isn't what inspires action – it's what it's running out on.

What emails do I read in the morning?

Emails that promise value, intrigue me or are from someone I have a strong relationship with.

Simple, right?

Except most don't make the cut …

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