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Trends Should you send deadline emails the last day? The day before? Two days before?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

We all use deadlines to drive urgency, but what’s the right timing when it comes to reminding potential guests about those deadlines? The last day? The day before? Two days before? Where’s the balance between last-minute urgency and being too late? Here’s what we found.

The Goods
To find our answer we looked at deadline reminder emails sent by over 50 hotels and resorts to a combined 6,000,000 recipients during the last 18 months. We grouped these emails by their timing and found the average click and open rates for each group.

For this sample emails sent the day of a deadline saw a 13.3% open rate and 7.5% click rate. Emails sent the day before a deadline saw a 16.9% open rate and 8.3% click rate. Emails sent two days before a deadline saw a 13.3% open rate and 6.7% click rate.

What This Means
If you’ve read any of our analyses about the distribution of email opens over time, these results probably come as no surprise. After all, an email sent the day of a deadline won’t be seen by 30% of recipients until that deadline has already passed.

But it’s also interesting to see the stark difference between the day before and two days before. Promotional emails (especially those at the end of a series) are always going to see below-average open rates, but if your plan is to send just one email prior to a deadline (though there’s no reason you can’t send more) and you’re searching for the sweet spot between urgency and visibility, sending those reminders one day before seems to be it.

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