Smart postal mailers carefully time their campaigns, taking both season and day of week into account. So should e-mailers, according to executives from UAL Loyalty Services.

“The best days to reach businesspeople are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m through 3 p.m.,” Ira Dolin, e-mail strategist for UAL Loyalty Services, said at a session at Chicago Direct Marketing Days & Expo last week. “For consumers, aim for Friday through Sunday, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.”

Dolin added: “A b-to-b message should be considered for a 1 p.m. [Eastern”> launch. You miss the chaos out West but get people returning from lunch on the East Coast. Watch the time zones and delivery process, and make sure that the ISPs and firewalls aren’t holding things up. If you send it at 1 and your mail ends up there at 5 p.m., you need to accommodate.”

And don’t start sending in the evening or at 3 p.m. the day before. Everyone will be sending it at that time. “The routers get jammed, images break, and customers get ticked off,” Dolin said.

DIRECT April 21, 2004