The Best Time To Send an Email (Plus Tips for Marketers)
Updated May 23, 2023
Many organizations use email to send newsletters, educate customers and encourage purchases. While various factors contribute to the success of these marketing campaigns, one of the most important is timing. Optimizing the timing of an email campaign can help improve open and click-through rates to enhance customer relationships and increase sales.
In this article, we discuss the best time to send an email and tips to help you optimize your campaigns.
Why does email timing matter?
When an organization optimizes the timing of its email campaigns, it can experience benefits such as:
Improved open rates
Depending on the time you send your email, your recipients may open or automatically delete it. Sending an email at the optimal time can improve the likelihood of the recipient opening it and reading the information.
Maximized click-through rates
Sales and marketing emails typically include hyperlinks to the company's website. If your recipient receives an email at an opportune time, they're more likely to click links to learn more about your product or service or make a purchase.
Heightened competitive standing
Other organizations in your industry may have competing email campaigns. By optimizing your email timing, you can improve the chances of your emails appearing near the top of your customers' inboxes.
Increased audience reach
If you're running a promotion or campaign, you can time your emails alongside the release of other materials that audiences may already be interacting with. This can help you reach audiences when they may be interested in purchasing a product or service.
When is the best time to send an email?
The best time to send an email depends on the organization's industry, target customers and goals for its email campaigns. For example, for people who work in media, the right time to send an email is often Monday or Tuesday at 10 a.m. The optimal time to send an email can also depend on whether it's a weekday or weekend.
For many industries, the opportune time to send emails is 10 a.m. on Thursdays. Thursday is still the middle of the week, meaning people may be in the routine of regularly checking their emails. Emailing mid-morning is a good opportunity to connect with employees who are ready to take breaks. Here's more information about choosing when to send an email:
Best time to send emails on weekdays
While Thursday at 10 a.m. is often the best time to send emails, you can capitalize on other opportunities throughout the week. Many organizations find that Tuesday at 9 a.m. and Wednesday at 8 a.m. can yield high open rates. These days and times can be ideal because they're during the middle of the workweek and early enough to reach people near the start of their shifts.
Consider your organization's industry when determining which weekday to send an email. Companies specializing in advertising, travel or leisure may have better results on Tuesdays. Health care and food and beverage companies may find more success on Wednesdays. Users may also be more receptive to educational emails earlier in the week and actionable emails later in the week.
Best time to send emails on weekends
While weekdays are the ideal time to send emails, you can optimize weekend campaigns. Consider scheduling an email campaign for Sunday evening to improve the chances of people opening it on Monday morning. If you send an email during the middle of the day, Saturday might yield better results than Sunday.
How time zones impact email delivery
Another factor to consider when timing your emails is your customers' time zones. If you manage email campaigns for a business that targets local customers, you can send emails according to your time zone. An organization that targets customers in other time zones can use email scheduling software to coordinate the appropriate timing. If your organization serves customers across the country, consider adhering to the country's official and most populous Eastern Time.
When is the worst time to send an email?
The worst time to send an email can vary. Typically, campaigns perform poorly on the weekends. While the open and click-through rates might be higher, the total number of emails that customers open is significantly lower. If it's necessary for an organization to send an email on the weekend, it may experience better results on Saturdays or Sunday evenings.
Tips for the best time to send an email
Here are some tips for sending an email at the best time:
Send during daytime hours
In most cases, sending your email during the day warrants higher chances of the recipient opening and reading your email. This pattern is especially true if the recipient works during standard business hours. They might be more likely to see and open your email as they regularly check their inbox.
Be strategic about Monday campaigns
When people return to their workplace on Monday morning and log into their email, they will likely have several messages from after-hours Friday and the weekend. Many people spend Mondays responding to pressing emails and catching up on last week's unfinished tasks, leaving little time to open and read your message.
If you want people to open your email on Monday, consider sending it late on Sunday or early on Monday morning. This strategy may improve the chances of your email appearing above others in someone's inbox.
Give advance notice for events
If you're emailing about an event, consider giving the recipient substantial time to respond. Some people only open their non-personal contact emails every few days, so if you send an invitation the day before the event, the recipient may not open it in time to attend. You can plan to send this type of message about a week in advance.
Consider the middle of the week
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday traditionally have the highest open rates. Mondays are often too busy for employees to open and respond to less urgent emails. On Fridays, people may become less responsive as they anticipate the weekend.
Think about your competition
Since practices like sending emails during business hours midweek are relatively common knowledge, your competitors may send their messages around the same times as you do. Consider subscribing to your competitors' email lists to identify when they send their messages. With this information, you can better strategize the timing of your organization's campaigns.
Know your audience
You can also optimize email campaigns by studying your audience. For instance, if you're targeting B2B representatives who constantly check their emails, a campaign might yield success on the weekends. An organization that targets customers outside of normal business hours might stray from the traditional midweek and midday email delivery model.
Building relationships with subscribers who are already part of your audience also helps open rates. They may be more likely to open an email if they've bought something from you and know you're offering good content. Having a set time when you send emails can also create a habit in the recipient's mind, as they can know when to expect your email.
Review past email campaigns
By looking at email campaigns you've sent in the past, you can gauge which days and times have rendered the best open rates and responses. When doing this review, you can also analyze whether emails with the most responses were text or image-based or whether they were concise or long.
How to test ideal email timings
While you can implement industry recommendations when timing emails, testing the results yourself is ideal. Here's how to test ideal email timings:
1. Choose an email automation platform
Consider choosing an email automation platform to help you schedule and track your campaigns. While these platforms usually require a monthly fee, they allow organizations to significantly improve open and click-through rates.
2. Pick times
The next step is to pick the times you want to send email. While you can use standard industry recommendations, you can also determine days and times you believe might be effective based on your audience. For instance, you might choose the standard time of 10 a.m. on Thursday and the less popular time of 10 a.m. on Saturday.
3. Split your audience
Consider randomly splitting your audience and sending each segment the same email at the times you selected. You can use your email automation software to track each campaign's open and click-through rates to determine which time yields the best results. This method of splitting your audience and measuring the effect of timing is A/B testing.
4. Adjust your campaign
By analyzing your campaign results, you can choose the opportune time to send future emails. Try to continue testing so you can determine the ideal times for different types of emails. For instance, your audience might respond better to informational emails if they receive them in the morning instead of in the afternoon.
5. Study the times when people unsubscribe
Paying attention to when people unsubscribe from your email campaigns can help indicate times when sending an email may not be optimal. You can also send a form to people who unsubscribe to learn about why they did so.
Professional email ideal practices
While timing can vastly improve the chances of a recipient opening your email, additional practices such as the following can help you optimize a campaign's success:
Introduce your organization
An informative, concise and compelling subject line that introduces your organization can increase the chances of a recipient opening your email. If you haven't corresponded with the recipient before, consider discussing your reason for contacting the recipient at the start of the email. This may increase your chances of receiving a response, as they can ask for more information.
Consider your tone
Try to maintain a positive and lighthearted tone that aligns with your organization's brand. Recipients might be more receptive if you use welcoming, friendly language.
Add a call to action
In most cases, an email campaign strives to have the recipient provide information or make a purchase. Try including a clear call to action so the reader knows what to do once they've finished reading.
Proofread and edit
Before hitting the send button, consider proofreading and editing your email for accuracy and clarity. You can make any necessary edits to your message before sending it.
When subscribers or colleagues get used to receiving your emails, they may start to expect them. You can meet and exceed their expectations by setting a consistent schedule to email them with quality content or important updates.
Frequently asked questions
Is it better to send an email in the evening or morning?
While email timing depends on several factors, it's usually better to send emails in the morning rather than in the evening. Many people don't check their inboxes in the evening, and by the time they get to the message in the morning, there might be several other emails at the top of their inbox.
Can you send an email after 7 p.m.?
While it might not be ideal timing based on your industry and target audience, it's appropriate to send an email after 7 p.m. Most recipients understand that they can read and respond to your email at a time that's convenient for them.
Is 4 p.m. a good time to send an email?
4 p.m. can be a strategic time to send an email, as many people check their inboxes as they conclude the workday. This time also tends to be a period in which employees have time to perform an email's call to action.
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