Best Time to Send Emails: Your Complete Guide
Email marketing is a cost-effective way for you to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and increase revenue – regardless of the size or scope of your business. To reap the full benefits of email marketing, you need to execute your campaign properly.
This includes sending your emails out at the right times, creating engaging copy and knowing what your target market will be receptive to. In this article, we’ll discuss choosing the best day and time to send marketing emails, as well as designing the ideal schedule for your unique audience.
In this guide about the best time to send emails, you’ll discover:
- When is the best time to send a marketing email?
- When are the best times to send emails during the week?
- When is the best time to send emails during the day?
- Tips for creating an email schedule for your audience
- How to write an engaging email
- Frequently asked questions
When is the best time to send a marketing email?
To answer this question, you need to understand the behaviors of your audience. This includes knowing when you’ll be most likely to catch their attention and motivate them to take your desired action.
Every email list comprises a set of individuals with unique, human habits, and daily routines. These can vary hugely by target market. The best time for a clothing store or real estate company to send marketing emails won’t necessarily be the same.
For example, the email list for your baby toy company is made up of a group of stay-at-home mothers, who care for their children during the day. Many of them might only check their emails during the evenings and weekends, so sending an email on a Tuesday at 9am probably doesn’t make much sense.
Alternatively, if the list for your career coaching company is made up of young professionals who are constantly on their emails during the work week mornings, a 9am email could be ideal.
Once you take a closer look at the personas of your target audience, you’ll find it easier to uncover the perfect day and time to send an email. With trial and error over time, you’ll figure out how to create the best email schedule for your business.
When are the best times to send emails during the week?
Researching your target audience will give you the best information for your marketing campaign. Case studies can also provide you with some good insights to start with.
Here are three email marketing organizations that tracked which day is best for sending emails – try applying these concepts to your business.
To understand the success of email marketing campaigns, GetResponse analyzed four billion emails sent by their customers within a five-month period in 2019. This included:
- Online marketers
- Medium-to-large brands
This study uncovered some interesting trends. Firstly, 18 percent of all email campaigns sent were on Saturdays and Sundays, while 17 percent were sent on Tuesday alone.
Additionally, while GetResponse discovered clicks and open rates were higher on Mondays and Tuesdays, the click-to-open ratios were the best on Saturdays and Sundays. This could possibly be due to significantly less competition on the weekends.
But be careful before you start firing out those weekend emails. A higher open rate is not always an indicator of a successful campaign.
You’ll also want to track metrics such as click-through rates and conversion rates. If people are clicking on your email links, signing up for your service, buying your products, or taking whatever action you’d like them to, you’re definitely on the right track.
In 2019, CampaignMonitor analyzed over 30 billion emails sent by their subscribers, a mix of small to medium-sized companies across 171 countries.
Similar to the GetResponse results, CampaignMonitor found that open rates were highest on Tuesdays. Unfortunately, they also found Tuesdays came with the highest unsubscribe rates.
When CampaignMontior broke down the open rate data by industry, they discovered how different types of businesses had better results on certain days:
- Tuesdays: Advertising/marketing agencies, travel, marketing, and leisure.
- Wednesdays: Healthcare services, food, and beverage.
- Sundays: Education.
These findings can provide a good starting point for timing your campaigns, but they shouldn’t be taken as concrete guidance. That’s because every business is different.
Testing email design and messaging, iterating your campaign, and following email best practice should help you pinpoint the day your audience engages the most.
Klaviyo’s examination of 22,000 campaigns led them to conclude that the highest open rates occurred on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Mondays, respectively.
As part of their analysis, Klaviyo looked at when clients generated the most money from email campaigns. Surprisingly, they found Thursdays produced the highest revenues, even though the open rates were lowest on this day.
This could suggest that while people are willing to look at emails earlier in the week, they may not be ready to take the plunge and buy until later. Perhaps the days in-between have given the customer time to think, or they feel unwilling to make spending decisions earlier in the week.
Whatever the reason, it’s a great example of how open rates aren’t necessarily the ultimate arbiter for success. It’s important to look at the bigger picture too.
Although these studies shed some light into the best day to send an email, they still don’t give us one clear answer. Tuesdays do seem to yield the highest open rates, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see the most conversion and revenue growth on that day.
Thursdays tend to be the highest money-making days for emails. However, this could depend on your industry and the behaviors of your audience. Nevertheless, it may be wise to send:
- educational emails earlier on in the week
- actionable emails later in the week
Remember, you shouldn’t rely solely on these findings to determine the best day to send your emails. Running multiple tests will help you get a good idea of which days tend to deliver optimal results for your audience and particular goals.
Don’t be surprised if you learn that Tuesdays don’t work well for your emails. Your business is unique, so follow the data.
When is the best time to send emails during the day?
You can send your emails on the right day but if your messages don’t get to your customers at the right time, they won’t be effective. To give you some insight on the best time to send email marketing, we’ll discuss several case studies.
In an effort to learn about best practices in various areas, including list building and campaign timing, Omnisend analyzed over 2 billion email marketing campaigns sent using their platform.
Overwhelmingly, the company found that promotional emails did the best when they were sent during the workday.
- 8am emails yielded the highest open rate of 20.32 percent and a high click-through rate of 7.79 percent.
- 10am emails also had high open rates, yet they yielded a smaller number of orders than other times.
- 1pm didn’t come out on top on any particular metrics but performed strongly. It might be a great all-rounder time to send out emails.
- 4pm had the highest order rates.
- 5pm emails had high click-through rates.
This could mean that while people do tend to open emails in the morning, they may not have the time or desire to make purchases until later in the day.
Whatever time you choose, a good rule is to send emails at a time when your customers will have time to read them. This can be either around lunchtime, or before/after work. It may be best to avoid the hours of 7pm to 7am.
Sendinblue’s research uncovered two good times to send emails: 10am and between 3pm and 4pm.
These times may not be surprising. At 10am, most people are already at work and trying to get some things accomplished, eventually checking their email inbox and going through their unread messages.
Between the hours of 3pm and 4pm, these people have likely finished lunch or are gearing up to leave work soon. They decide to check their email once again before they’re done for the day.
Sendinblue also found that click through rates were high through 6pm and sometimes, even 7pm. During this timeframe, people may be commuting home from work via train or bus or are already at home checking their emails.
Sendinblue broke down its findings regarding the best time to send an email by industry:
- Ecommerce: 10am
- Software/SaaS: 2pm-3pm
- Marketing Services: 4pm
- Hospitality/Online Retail: 8am-10am
- Professional Services (B2B): 8am-10am
- Nonprofits: 3pm-4pm
Intercom thoroughly analyzed its data to uncover ideal times to send emails to its B2B audience. They found email open rates were highest for all types of emails between 10am and 11am.
This makes sense. Many of us check and prioritize our inbox first, before finally reading and responding to individual emails by order of importance, as the morning progresses.
Intercom’s data also led them to the following conclusions:
- Don’t send emails outside of business hours unless you have good reason.
- Send it before peak opening hours if you’d like them to be read quickly.
- Timing isn’t as important for in-app messages as traditional emails. You can send these any time during office hours – between 10am and 2pm is considered best.
You should look at these studies as a starting point and use your own data to validate your choices.
While it seems that customers open emails the most in the morning, afternoon emails may still help you meet your specific goals. Sometimes, it may make sense to send emails in the afternoon and early evening when people are finishing work or are at home checking emails before switching off.
It’s all about testing. Try sending emails at different times to figure out when open rates, click through rates, and conversions are the highest for your business.
Tips for creating an email schedule for your audience.
As an email marketer, one of your primary goals should be to determine a schedule that is a good fit for your audience. Here are some tips that can help:
1. Gather data
Fortunately, it’s easy to collect data that will help you better understand the types of people you’re targeting. You can use tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to learn about your audience’s demographics, locations, and interests.
This information will set you up for success because it’ll allow you to make informed assumptions about their lifestyle and when they’re most likely to engage with your emails.
2. Analyze open rates
If you’ve done email marketing in the past, you should review open rates from previous campaigns. The ideal open rate will vary depending on the industry you’re in, but 20.94 percent is the average.
If you’ve been able to achieve an open rate you’re satisfied with, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Look at the times those emails were sent and send yo
ur upcoming emails then.
If your open rate was on the low side, you’ll need to change when you send your emails. Don’t forget that it’s not all about open rates. You should consider other metrics too, such as:
- Click-through rates
- Conversion rates
- Bounce rates
3. Check out competitors
It’s a good idea to find out what your competitors are doing with their email marketing strategies. You can accomplish this detective work by simply going to their websites and subscribing to their emails.
If you realize that most competitors are sending their emails at a specific time or within the same time range, there is probably a reason they’re doing so. They may have done some research on your industry, audience and their own digital experiences.
Always test but consider starting with their email schedule as a guide for your own.
4. A/B test your email send times
Once you come up with a schedule, know that it’s not set in stone. It’s essential to A/B test your email send times to constantly determine the sweet spot for your audience.
You can send one email at one time and another at a different time. Then, compare open rates, conversions, and other metrics to see which time was most successful.
Do this often as the ideal time may change and it’s important to keep on adapting and learning what works and what doesn’t.
How to write an engaging email.
Working out the best time to send marketing emails is essential to the success of your campaign. But what about the content itself? Here are a few tips on writing emails that your customers will want to open:
1. Nail your subject line.
Like a good newspaper headline, these are designed to capture the reader’s imagination and get them to read on. Keep them short, punchy and put the key details to the front of the sentence.
This will ensure your audience can read your subject lines on different devices. Mailchimp recommend no more than nine words, or 60 characters.
Your subject lines should be relevant, specific and gimmick-free. Use keywords and phrases that are of particular interest to your target audience. Be honest about the contents of the email and avoid clickbait techniques. The subject line is often all it takes for a potential lead to discard your email as spam before opening.
Personalizing each subject line is another useful technique to help your audience feel you’re talking to them directly.
2. Use clear, engaging language.
Throughout your email, subject line and calls to action (CTAs), make sure to use actionable language and active voice. Motivate your audience to act, not be acted upon.
Write in the second person voice (referring to the reader as ‘You’) and discuss benefits, not features.
Perhaps most importantly, make sure your writing is clear.
3. Get the tone right.
If you’re sending out regular emails, you should have a pretty good idea of your brand tone of voice. But you need to tailor this voice to each specific email.
For example, you should be wary of sending out bad news with a light tone. This could make it seem as though you’re not reading the room with your comms and may alienate some of your audience.
4. Tell a great story
A great story has a beginning, middle and end. Your emails should be no different.
You don’t need to write a 1,000-page epic – just try to incorporate storytelling techniques into your messages:
- Set the scene
- Pose a problem
- Provide a solution
This can help your audience engage with your products or services. This basic structure is a great way to lead your audience towards your CTAs.
5. Hone your CTAs.
Your CTAs are essential to your email. It’s important to have them clear from the very beginning, so make sure you have a good idea of what you want to achieve with your message before you start.
When it comes to writing the CTAs, action, benefits and brevity are essential. Your audience should be compelled to ‘View deal’, ‘Sign up’ or ‘Visit sale’, in as few words as possible.
If you’re writing your email in HTML, you can make your CTAs stand out with a button or box. According to research by Campaign Monitor, these have far higher click through rates than non-button alternatives.
The same research also uncovered a 371 percent improvement from single CTAs to multiple calls to action. Try and choose just one per email.
6. Format in HTML.
Creating a HTML email is a great way to bring graphic design into even the most workaday email comms. You can incorporate graphics, GIFs and video into your email template to bring them to life.
However, proceed with caution. An email fully loaded with video and animation may look great, but you might encounter problems with loading and delivering your message.
What’s more, too much content can negate from the message itself. For simplicity and accessibility, it’s always good to include a plain text version too.
Frequently asked questions about the best time to send marketing emails.
What time of day is the best time to send emails?
The morning may be the best time of day to send marketing emails: 10am ranks highly for open rates in a number of sectors. However, the afternoon can also yield good results.
The best solution is to test out a range of email times and see how your audience responds.
Should you send emails late at night?
It’s better to send emails around office hours, between 7am and 7pm. This will ensure that your audience has time to take your message on board. It may also seem inappropriate, unprofessional or antisocial to send marketing emails late at night.
Is 4pm a good time to send an email?
4pm can be a very effective time to send an email. For example, research from SendinBlue showed good email campaign results between 3pm and 4pm.
This is often the point where people check their inbox as they’re gearing up to finish for the day.
Send email campaigns with confidence.
There is no one-size-fits all solution to maximize email open rates. As an email marketer, it is your responsibility to do your research, test out various dates and times, and come to your own conclusions about what works and what doesn’t.
Marketo Engage makes it easy to optimize all your email marketing campaigns and measure success. Interested in learning more? Take an interactive tour of Marketo Engage today.