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Rethink Your Email Marketing: Workers Spend 50% Of Their Day Checking Their Inbox

How do we thrive in email marketing while making sure that we’re not robbing people their precious time?

A 2019 survey by Adobe revealed that people spend about five hours per day checking their email. This channel of communication is most popular between the ages of 25 and 34—spending an average of 6.4 hours in their inboxes.

Isn’t that great news for marketers? It proves that you shouldn’t kill your email marketing efforts, especially if you’re targeting millennials.  It’s really a no-brainer. A press release from Litmus shares that brands get a return of 38 times more than the money they invested for email marketing campaigns.

However, a marketer’s desire to aim for open rates and click rates does not excuse us from responsible communication. Emails can be sucking up our time. We’re familiar with how promotional emails are flooding our inbox and distracts us from the work we do.

McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp. named checking and responding to emails as the second-most time-consuming activity, next to “role-specific tasks.”

  • Over-checking email wastes 21 minutes per day. 
  • On average, professionals check their email 15 times per day.
  • 40% of people expect an email reply within an hour, increasing the sense of urgency to respond and lose focus on tasks at hand.

How do we thrive in email marketing while making sure that we’re not robbing people their precious time?

Here are some tips:

Send emails within business hours.

Since 55% of emails are now opened using a mobile device, checking the inbox has been part of daily activities even outside working hours. People have forgotten to separate personal tasks from work.

In our desire to get people to read our emails, we may have sent messages outside of business hours—early morning, late at night, or on weekends. My friend Mike has been guilty of opening emails as soon as he gets up at 6 AM in the morning. He also entertains late-night work messages when he receives a notification on his phone.

Recently, I’ve started to become considerate with the human behind the technology. I would want busy professionals like Mike to enjoy their free time than read a promotional email from his phone.

As a marketer, you may have gotten advice in the past to send email blasts during time slots outside office hours to increase open rates. Is this true?

Opt-in Monster’s 2019 report still says that people are more likely to read emails during regular business hours, from 8 AM-5 PM. WordStream’s data agreed with the same window from 8–9 AM, specifically on Thursdays, having the highest open rate.

So why schedule that promo email at 11 PM?

Use relevant subject lines.

Since the number of people using emails is growing, promotional emails reaching their inbox is also increasing. I’m not against catchy titles to get the reader’s attention. However, don’t say it’s IMPORTANT when it’s not.

Avoid misleading subjects. Make sure your heading matches the email content.

Please ask for permission.

Some marketers send promotional messages to random email addresses without permission. If you’re planning to deliver regular emails to someone’s inbox, make sure you have the consent. 

When I was a newbie and knew little about email marketing etiquette, I admit sending newsletters to my personal contacts. I didn’t ask them to be part of my email list and let them unsubscribe on their own.  But I’ve learned my lesson. Email marketing is not always about quantity. It’s about relationships, and you’d only want to keep those who want to hear from you.

Get Social

Email doesn’t have to be your only means of communication. There are other means of connecting with your customers. Check if a phone call, SMS, face-to-face meeting, or social media suits your message.


AbigailJHess. (2019, September 23). Here’s how many hours American workers spend on email each day. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/22/heres-how-many-hours-american-workers-spend-on-email-each-day.html.

Hou, Z., Teague, L., & Opitz, L. (n.d.). 13 Email Marketing Statistics That Are Shaping 2019 and Beyond. Retrieved from https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/email-marketing-statistics/.

Hackeling, E. (2019, August 1). How much time are you spending on email? – The Front Blog. Retrieved from https://frontapp.com/blog/2018/07/20/how-much-time-are-you-spending-on-email/.Reisinger, D. (2018, August 21). You Spend More Than 5 Hours Each Week Checking Your EMail. Retrieved from https://fortune.com/2018/08/21/email-habits-attention-study-adobe/.

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Written By

Jonah Chipeco helps sales professionals attract and win clients by teaching writing and content marketing principles. She paved her way to becoming a global speaker by starting as a freelance writer and trainer in the Philippines. Jonah eventually launched her workshops and online courses as the Founder and Chief Trainer of Writing Hacks Academy. Follow her on LinkedIn and her blog.

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