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When it comes to email marketing and the question of what day and time are the best for sending out marketing emails to newsletter and other email subscribers, the answer is “it depends.” Some marketers will tell you one specific day and time is better. Others will insist that a different day and time is what works best.
What is the best day to send marketing emails?
Who to believe? Should you avoid sending emails on weekends? Only send emails before 6pm? Never send an email on a Monday morning?
The truth is, there is an art to selecting email send times that’s dependent on several factors, including your level of experience with email marketing, your industry, and your customers’ habits and preferences. This article will examine a few approaches for choosing the day and best time to send emails to prospects and subscribers, including the best approaches for those who are new to email marketing through to advanced practices for experienced email marketers.
Follow general marketing email “best practice”
There have been countless articles full of advice and opinions, with many general studies on the best day and time to send marketing emails. Over time, a consensus developed that Tuesdays and Thursdays at key transition times when people tend to be online are the best practice for sending emails. However, many email marketers also agreed that Wednesdays were also good days to send emails. Most marketing bloggers concur that you should avoid sending out email blasts on the weekends or Mondays.
It’s become common sense to send emails during the day, but what time or times? We’ve already mentioned transition times. So, what does that mean? Again, there really isn’t a definitive answer, but many email marketing experts list the following seven time periods:
- 6 am because at least half of people start their day by checking their emails before they get out of bed.
- 8 am because that is the average time most office workers start work and usually begin their days by checking their emails.
- 10 am because some email marketers decided 8 am was too early and discovered that 10 am seemed to have a higher open rate than earlier in the day.
- 1 pm because some people check their email during or after their lunch break.
- 4 pm because some people might check their email as a break during the last hour of their workday.
- 6 pm because it falls during or right after the evening commute.
As you can see, there are several days and times from which to choose. When you’re new to email marketing, it’s good to start by sending emails on Tuesday and/or Thursday at 10 am until you can determine the best days and times for your target audience. If these days and times don’t work, try another time or another day. However, the success of your email campaigns depends on other factors besides the time they were sent. If too few people open your emails, it might be your subject line.
Furthermore, if having too many choices and combinations of days and times is too daunting, try the following tip.
Follow one email marketing thought leader’s advice
With no definitive answer on day and time to send your emails based on best practices, it can feel intimidating when you’re new to email as a content marketing tactic. Rather than trying to follow all the advice, choose one email marketing thought leader’s tips and go from there.
For example, a popular content calendar and marketing tool subscription service, CoSchedule, crunched data from 14 email marketing studies to come up with the top days and times for sending marketing emails. Their findings were similar to the best practices listed above, but they include more actionable advice for you to try. They found that Tuesday at 10 am was the best day and time to send emails, followed by Thursdays at 8 pm.
Further research shows that while Tuesdays and Thursdays still had high open rates, the highest open rates were on Fridays. Furthermore, Fridays also had the highest click-through rates, meaning instances where people clicked on a link in the email to a landing page or other target webpage outside of the email.
Again, if you’re just starting to experiment with adding email to your arsenal of marketing tools, pick an expert you like and test their email marketing tips first to establish a benchmark. Once you’re comfortable, move on to the next tip and the next more intermediate email time selection tactic.
Perform audience research to determine email send times
The problem with best practices and general research is the statistics they reveal might not be relevant to your company’s industry or to your customers. They also don’t take into consideration whether your business provides products and services for other businesses (B2B) or whether you specialize in consumer goods and services (B2C).
In the same HubSpot study mentioned above, B2B emails sent to the typical office worker, working 8 am to 5 pm performed the best when sent at 10 am, mid-week. However, if your target B2B customers are executives or entrepreneurs, then the best time to send your marketing emails is Saturdays at 10 am. If you’re a B2C business, there may not be an ideal day and time, but HubSpot found that Saturdays at midnight had the top open rates.
Again, these tips are based on general statistics and not industry or job-specific data. Instead of relying on them, perform detailed research on your target audience and compile customer profiles or customer personas that include details about their industry, company, job, why they subscribed to your email list, and the best times to reach them via email.
After your research is complete, segment your email list by persona or by industry and job function. Next schedule your emails to each list based on that segment’s ideal days and times.
Follow your own email tests and research
Once you’ve advanced from using “best practice” advice to your own audience research for determining when you need to send emails, you can start testing the best time to send marketing emails to each of your audience segments. Doing this work will help ensure you’re sending your customers and prospects the right messaging at the right times based on data that’s relevant to your customers and your business.
To get started, you need to understand and determine which metrics to track and measure. For email marketing, those are:
- Email open rate (OR) – OR is the percentage rate at which an email is opened. It’s good for measuring email subject line effectiveness. However, it’s not the best metric to use to determine send times because it merely tells you how many people read an email and not how many people advance through your sales funnel to become paying customers as a result of opening and clicking on a link in the email.
- Email click-through rate (CTR) – CTR measures the number of readers who clicked on any link within an email you sent them. You may or may not need to measure CTR for every email campaign because not every email you send will have a link as a desired action.
- Email click-to-open rate (CTOR) – CTOR allows you to compare the number of people who open an email you sent with the number of readers who clicked on any links. This metric helps you determine which information is relevant and engaging to your target customers. The formula for finding CTOR is (CTR/OR) X 100 = CTOR. For example, if you send an email about a new promotion that’s opened 350 times and receives 200 clicks, your CTOR is 57%.
Conclusion about best day time to send emails
Now that you have a basic understanding of email marketing metrics, you can combine your customer research with your email metrics to experiment with different email send times and determine the best days and times to send your emails to each segment of your subscriber list. You will want to update your customer profiles and retest your ideal email sent days and times as customer wants and needs change over time. What was effective last year might not work today or next month.
Bottom line, if your email send times are based on data and your customer personas, you’ll be able to send your emails at the right time every time.