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.
However, to reap the full benefits of email marketing, you must ensure you’re executing your campaign properly, which includes sending your emails out at the ideal times. 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.
When is the Best Time to Send Marketing Emails?
In order to effectively answer this question, you need to understand the behaviors of your audience — specifically, when you’ll be most likely to catch their attention and motivate them to take your desired action.
Every email list is comprised of a set of individuals with unique habits. Therefore, the time that works best for marketing emails of a clothing store or real estate company won’t necessarily be ideal for yours.
Say, for example, the email list for your baby toy company is 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 9 a.m. 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, an email on a Tuesday at 9 a.m. 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 specific business.
When is the Best Day to Send an Email?
While inspecting 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. Let’s look at a few specific examples:
To understand the success of email marketing campaigns, GetResponse analyzed 4 billion emails sent by their customers — entrepreneurs, online marketers, and medium to large brands — within a five month period in 2019.
This study uncovered some interesting trends. For one, 18% of all email campaigns sent were on Saturdays and Sundays, while 17% 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 sending emails on these days. A higher open rate is not always an indicator of a successful campaign. You’ll want to track metrics such as high click-through rate or conversion rate. If more people are clicking on your email links than signing up for your service, buying your product, 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 that the type of business you’re in could play a role in which day will work best for your email campaign:
- Advertising and Marketing Agencies: Tuesdays
- Education: Sundays
- Healthcare Services: Wednesdays
- Travel, Hospitality, and Leisure: Tuesdays
- Food and Beverage: Wednesdays
These findings provide a good starting point for timing your campaigns. Testing email design and messaging, iterating your campaign, and following 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 in the week.
Although these studies shed some light into the best day to send an email, they still don’t give us one clear answer. While Tuesdays do seem to yield the highest open rates, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll see the most conversion and revenue growth on that day.
While Thursdays tend to be the highest money-making days for emails, 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 and actionable ones later.
And remember: as we’ve noted before, 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 — follow the data.
When is the Best Time to Send an Email?
You can send your emails on the right day but if they 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 an email, 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. Emails sent at 8 a.m. yielded the highest open rate of 20.32% and a high click-through rate of 7.79%. Emails sent at 10 a.m. also had high open rates, yet they yielded a smaller number of orders than other times. Additionally, the Omnisend team found click-through rates were highest at 5 p.m. and order rates were highest around 4 p.m.
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 on in the day.
Sendinblue’s research uncovered two good times to send emails: 10 a.m. and between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. These times may not be surprising. At 10:00 a.m, 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 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., 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 6:00 p.m. and sometimes, even 7:00 p.m. During this time frame, 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: 10:00 a.m.
- Software/Saas: 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
- Marketing Services: 4:00 p.m.
- Hospitality/Online Retail: 8:00 am.- 10:00 a.m.
- Professional Services (B2B): 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.
- Nonprofits: 3:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Intercom thoroughly analyzed its data to uncover ideal times to send emails to its B2B audience, and found email open rates were highest for all types of emails between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Intercom’s data also led them to the following conclusions:
- Unless you have a good reason to do so, don’t send emails outside of business hours.
- If you’d like your email to be read immediately, send it before peak opening hours.
As seen with the studies that focused on the best day to send emails, you should look at these studies as a starting point and use your own data to validate your choices.
While it seems customers open emails the most in the morning, afternoon emails may still help you meet your specific goals. In some cases, it may make sense to send emails in the afternoon and early evening hours when people are finishing up with work, or are at home checking their emails before they relax or go to bed.
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 Determining a 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:
- 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.
- Analyze Open Rates: If you’ve done email marketing in the past, you should review open rates from previous campaigns. While the ideal open rate will vary depending on the industry you’re in, 20.94% is the average. In the event 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 your 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 such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates as well.
- 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 and target audience, and discovered the best times to send emails. Always test, but consider starting with their email schedule as a guide for your own.
- 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.
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.