Best Times to Send Emails

Written by  November 4, 2009

In continuing with my series on sprucing up your email campaigns, I thought a post on the best time to send emails would be appropriate.

To date I’ve discussed reasons you should consider a third party email service, 4 components present in all emails, and even promoting social media elements in your emails.

What we haven’t touched upon is the timing of the emails. The questions we are looking to answer are:

1) What are the best day(s) to send emails.

2) What is the best time of day to send emails.

Does a “best” day and time really exist?

The answer to this question is it depends and isn’t going to be the same for everyone—what works for one person might not work for another. It depends at the very least on your market, your customers, whether you sell B2C (Business to Consumer) or B2B (Business to Business), and even the time of year (which I won’t get into in this article.)

It goes without saying that if you are targeting B2B type readers you want to hit them during the work week (rather than on the weekend). With B2C you might get away with a weekend send depending on your offer, your target, and your objective. I personally find weekends to be slow no matter the market and try to stay away from them for sending marketing emails.

I am not going to leave you with just that as an answer though.

There have been many studies conducted and data collected on the best times to send emails. We can use these results as a general starting point for our own campaigns. In reality though, the real answer will be found in your own tracking of your sends (you are tracking your emails with some type of analytics right?)

You’ll find any number of answers on the internet to what is the best day / time, but I have complied my research into what seems to be a consistent “baseline” reported from not only third party email services like Aweber, Constant Contact, and iContact, but also based on market research studies conducted by non-email service providers.

Keep in mind while reading this that it is tough to truly nail down a best day and time because each is ever changing.

However, after rooting through all this data I found the following as a reasonable conclusion to start with (I based this on the frequency of mention for various days and times.) After conducting my research, I was somewhat surprised to discover that my personal experience fell within the ranges I found to be the most effective times and days. Again, this may not be the case with everyone, but it did prove to me that the baselines I settled on (and that I mention below in this article) were at the very least a good starting point for most.

The Survey Says…

According to combined surveys it looks like the best days/times on average to send emails are:

Best Days on Average
Tuesday and Weds continually stick out as better days during the week.

Best Times on Average
The results on this seem to be all over depending on who you talk to. In general though the consistent times mentioned were:

  • Morning between 8 AM and 9 AM
  • Mid morning between 10AM and 10:30AM
  • Early Afternoon between 1PM and 1:30PM

My personal experience has found that currently, sending at 8:15 AM on Weds. provides the best overall results across the board for both opens, clicks, and actions taken. I want to hit readers first thing in the morning when they are checking email before they start their day and before their email box gets filled (pushing my email to the back of the pack.)

Having said that, an article I reviewed on email marketing reports had some very interesting images of data tables based on metrics reported. It might be worth reading as well.

Pros and Cons of Each Day Outlined

Jenn Abecassis wrote an nice article that appeared in 60-Second Marketer which listed the positive and negative aspects of sending email on each day of the week. I reiterated her points below and will let you determine which if any sound reasonable for your needs. I personally have not tested her theory but really think she makes some great arguments for each day with looking into.

Monday –
Pros: Office work has not filled inboxes yet.
Cons: People are in “work mode” and won’t be focused on non-work tasks.
Best Practice: Send emails late Monday morning, after people have cleaned the weekend spam from their inboxes.

Tuesday –

Pros: People have organized their week, and can find personal time for emails.
Cons: Emails poised for a weekend response may be too early.
Best Practice: Use Tuesday for emails that request action during the workweek.

Wednesday/Thursday –
Pros: People are planning their weekends and gearing up for personal time.
Cons: Time during the workweek is running short, and requested action may be pushed back to the following week, or even forgotten about.
Best Practice: Focus leisure and weekend notifications during these key weekend planning days.

Friday –
Pros: Studies indicate fewer total emails sent compared to the rest of the week, increasing visibility among the myriad of other messages.
Cons: People hurry to leave the office early, and may not take time to view non-work related emails.
Best Practice: Send emails early in the day to give consumers more time to take action. An unopened email from Friday will sort to the bottom of an inbox on Monday, and is often discarded.

Weekends –
Pros: People check emails on weekends, too, so weekends may have untapped potential.
Cons: A weekend email may seem overly-intrusive to some people.
Best Practice: If possible, try to avoid Sundays and focus on Saturdays, which may have a better response rate. (SK: Actually, if you are B2C, I would test Sundays myself — we used to get great response on Sunday).

Conclusion

What works for one person may not work for another. Email marketing should be tested and tracked as much as any other portion of your business.

Keep these points in mind when determining the best time and day for your own email marketing.

The answer isn’t the same for everyone.

  • The best day for you and your business might not be the best day for the next person.
  • The best day might change from month to month (based on time of year) and from send to send.
  • The best time could be different for subscribers located in different parts of the world.
  • Not all messages necessarily “work” on the same day or at the same time. Understanding your objective and your subscribers will help you focus your efforts and find what works for you.

The BEST way to move forward:

  1. Use the guidelines above in making an initial educated guess
  2. Test to see whether your guess was right or not
  3. Once you’ve got the best day nailed down, try experimenting with what time of day works best
  4. Make sure you maintain accurate reports so you can benchmark your results moving forward.

Remember, it ultimately will come down to testing, testing, and more testing. Don’t neglect the fact that you won’t know for sure until you thoroughly test and measure your own individual results.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Best Times to Send Emails”

  1. Lee Crew on January 27th, 2010 2:56 am

    Thanks for this, I found your article really interesting. I wondered if you’d considered the likelyhood of your targets having Blackberrys? From my experience anything that arrives overnight, or before logging on in the morning has been ineffectively scanned on the device and I then feel no guilt about deleting it as soon as I’m logged on.

  2. janet meredith on October 20th, 2012 7:07 pm

    thanks! in the midst of creating a new marketing campaign and your article was most helpful!

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