How do you get your company's emails to stand out in a crowded inbox? Knowing the best time to send a marketing email is one factor that can make a big difference in your open rates.
There’s no single approach that works perfectly for every email marketing campaign. But there are some research-backed best practices that can help you boost your open and read rates.
The time that you send your emails can have a huge impact on whether or not your subscribers will actually read them. Sending them at the right time is more important than you might think.
Now it’s time to fine-tune your email schedule to get the best possible results.
The best time to send an email
Is there a solid answer to the question, “When is the best time to send a marketing email?”
Yes and no. Studies support certain timing strategies, and these are a great place to start.
Best time of day to send emails
According to Hubspot, the highest click-through rates occur around 11:00 am.
In general, sending your emails on weekdays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm ensures you’ll catch people during their most active emailing window.
Best day of the week to send an email blast
Within that window, Mondays tend to be less successful. Your customers already have overloaded inboxes from everything they received over the weekend. Your email will probably fly under their radar.
Emails don't usually perform well on Fridays, either. By this point, people are distracted and eager for the weekend. Most likely, they won't pay attention to marketing emails.
Create an email schedule that fits your audience
The tips and results above are based on general, economy-wide research. The simple fact is that there is no one timing rule that works well for every business.
Many variables affect your email marketing success. Your target audience, your call-to-action, and more should be on your mind when planning your email marketing schedule.
How to find the best email marketing schedule for your business
Knowing how varied email marketing best practices are, how do you even start finding the best time to send your emails? Follow these tips to make an informed, fact-based schedule.
Consider your target audience
The first and perhaps most important factor that affects your email marketing success is the audience who will receive the emails.
Make a profile of your target audience. Who are they? What are they doing and thinking about at certain times of the day?
For example, let's say you have a B2B service. Your best bet is to send emails during the workday when the executives on your mailing list are focused on work. When they leave work for the evening, chances are your emails will fall on deaf ears.
Your audience's schedule could vary during different times of the year too.
For example, perhaps parents are your primary audience. During the school year, send your emails during the day when stay-at-home parents have fewer demands on their schedules.
During the summer, these parents will be busy caring for their children who are at home during the day. They may pay more attention to emails in the evening when they're likely to have a spouse at home to help with the kids.
Think about your CTA
When you're thinking about how to get your email to make an impact, your open rate isn't your only metric for success. Your real revenue-driving goal is for recipients to take specific action as a result of the email.
The action you want them to take will affect your ideal sending schedule.
Let's say your business is an online retailer. Your email newsletter is aimed at inspiring customers to click through to your site and spend time shopping.
This is something customers are more likely to do while they're relaxing at home. Someone checking personal emails briefly at work won't take time to shop. By the time they leave for the evening, they've forgotten about you.
In that case, it may be better to send your emails in the evenings or on weekends.
This next scenario seems obvious, but it's easy to overlook. If you want customers to call your business as a result of your email, send the email during your business hours.
Email marketing is all about quick turnarounds and impulse clicks, so you need to make that possible.
Use segments to their full potential
Segmentation is one of the most beneficial yet underused strategies in email marketing – and a necessary feature to look at when choosing email marketing software.
You have one massive list of subscribers who have signed up for your emails. Within that list, you can group individuals into different segmented lists based on any category you want.
When businesses use segments in their email marketing, most use it to customize their content. For instance, they may send an email about a certain product to people who have bought similar items in the past.
Fewer businesses use their segments to customize their sending schedules. That's why you should.
If you have different target audiences for the various products you sell, break out segments based on who is more likely to buy specific products. Schedule those emails to go out at a specific time based on those customers' lifestyles — or when that product is most needed.
Examine your email analytics
In addition to missing out on segments, too many businesses don't take advantage of their email marketing metrics.
For example, your emailing service likely tracks what percentage of your customers open your emails on mobile devices. Compare that to those who open them on desktop browsers.
For the most part, you can assume desktop users are at work. If a large percentage of your email opens come from desktop users, sending emails during the workday is your best bet.
If most of your interested customers seem to be on mobile devices, though, you have more flexibility. Mobile activity doesn't drop off at 5:00 pm the way desktop activity does.
Consider what you're advertising
People are interested in different types of content at different times of the day. Your emailing schedule should account for these shifts of interest.
For example, perhaps your emails are advertising local concerts. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, people are thinking about what they want to do over the weekend. When they see your email land in their inbox, they'll be thrilled to click through.
In that case, ignore that rule above about sending emails during the week. The same goes for anything else entertainment-related.
Another specialized case is the food industry. You've invested money in mouthwatering photos of your food, so take advantage of it. Land in customers' inboxes when they're hungry: around mealtimes.
Factor in the weather
Sometimes, when your emails perform poorly, you actually can blame it on the rain.
The weather affects your customers' mindsets and how they spend their time. That means it affects whether or not they'll open your emails.
You may get higher open rates on rainy, cold days. Your customers are more likely to be relaxing on their couches and out of the elements during these days. When the weather is sunny, they may be out and about, not watching their inboxes.
For an even greater impact, customize your content based on the weather. What's more appealing on a cold, rainy day than images of sweaters, blankets, and hot coffee?
Above all else, experiment to create an ideal email schedule
This may sound discouraging, but it's the reality: no amount of external research can tell you the exact best time to send an email.
Your audience is your audience. You can use the tips and rules above to make predictions about their behavior, but there's always a chance that you're wrong.
The only way to know for sure is through trial and error.
For every email marketing campaign, pay close attention to your metrics. Which days of the week get better open rates? What times of the day work best?
Chances are that there won't be one unified correct answer here, either. It could depend on the type of content in your emails and your calls-to-action. Work time into your schedule after every campaign to examine your stats and see what you can learn.
Get your timing right
You've heard the phrase, “timing is everything.” The day and time you choose to send an email might not be the only thing that determines your success, but it's a significant factor.
The tips above will give you a strong start as you design your sending schedule. No matter what, though, keep in mind that this is a work in progress. Every campaign gives you new insights for the best times to send emails in the future.
Ready for even more ways to improve your business? Sign up for one of our online courses or check out our other resources to enable you to build and grow your business.