When to send an email is influenced by the style of email, its recipient and their location. But there are a few key strategies that will greatly improve when an email is opened at a certain time or day.
With 215 billion emails being sent a day we know that emails are still popular. But if you want to get the most out of your email blast, when is the best time to send an email?
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there. It seems like every survey gets a slightly different response.
“I’ve studied a lot of reports over the years, adopted some tactics and fine tuned my delivery to maximize my return” – James Lindfield, Monkey Blast
And really, that makes sense.
No two email campaigns are exactly the same, and every customer base is going to be a little bit different.
Not to mention that if every company picked the same time to send their emails, customers’ inboxes would be flooded and most emails would be deleted.
However, there are at least some common themes that can help you decide the best time for your company. The research is in, the gurus have spoken and this is what you should do.
Improving our results – it’s all in the timing
In a recent survey spanning many different types of industry and a range of company sizes, it was found that the average open rate for emails across all industries is 20.81%. That means that around a fifth of all emails sent will be opened.
The click rate, where customers see something interesting in an email and click it for more information, is even less impressive, at 2.43%.
(Not bad but here at Email Edgar some of our clients average 38% open rates. Discover more by Booking A Call)
While those numbers seem low, remember that this is advertising that is actually in your customers’ hands, and those small percentages do add up quickly (especially when compared to how inexpensive sending the emails will be).
That being said, it’s clear that we need to do as much as possible to increase the email opens and click rate. One proven method of maximizing those statistics is being selective about timing.
The best day to send an email
“There’s just one day that stands out from all the rest. Using countless emails sent over hundreds of days, we know the best day” – Magdalena Pietras, GetResponse
While there are several candidates for second place, it appears that the first place winner for the general best day to send an email is
Monday is back to work for most people, and that means dealing with emails that may have piled up. In the midst of this workload, it’s easy to have an email skipped over.
On Tuesday, workers have cleared that initial pile up and are firmly into their work week, and could be more likely to welcome a short distraction – hopefully in the form of your email.
Tuesday seems to emerge time and again as the best choice of when to send an email, but the second place is not so clear.
The debate around Saturday has mixed results. Certainly, people have more leisure time over the weekend. However, they could be less likely to spend that time reading emails.
Of course, some studies seem to show Saturday returning outstanding results, but the majority seem to prefer the middle of the week.
Friday is another day that tends to lag behind the others, which leaves Wednesday and Thursday as the best second choice for many businesses. If you have two emails to go out per week, Tuesday and Thursday is a good place to start.
You could find the type of email you want to send will influence the best time to send it. Some studies have shown that educational emails do better earlier in the week, while actionable emails are better saved for later in the week.
“Thursday and Wednesday rank 2 & 3 but Tuesday is #1 – Email team, CoSchedule
So you’ve chosen a day for your email to go out – does the time matter?
The best time to send an email
Choosing the time to send an email is just as important as picking the right day – in fact, it could be even more vital.
If an email is received during a time of peak activity, it is extremely unlikely that the customer will leave what they are doing to deal with a non-essential email in their inbox.
However, the opposite is true.
If the customer is not near their email when it is sent, it is more likely to get caught up in a backlog of other unopened emails, meaning it will really need to stand out to have any chance of being opened.
Most likely the customer will resort to a mass delete, and there’s every chance your email could get caught up.
Emails have the best chance of being opened within an hour of reaching the inbox. After that, studies have shown that the open rate drops to less than 5% after only 4 hours, and less than 1% after 24 hours. That means the most effective strategy is to send emails as close to when your customers will open them as possible.
But there are so many time zones. Pacific, eastern, mountain or central – and that’s just the US.
Australia runs different time zones and further adds to the confusion when some of the country adopts daylight saving from October to March each year. It gets very confusing.
Where are most of your customers? Maybe that should be your preferred time zone.
To answer very specifically, the best time of day on average is 10 am, followed by 8 pm. Of course, the real world has a bit more wriggle room.
The reason is that by 10 am, most people have started work (so are not frantically getting ready or busy on their commute), and have cleared that initial backlog for the morning.
“My best opens occur after a workout. 10 am is the winner” – Susan Deluca, FatnessToFitness
The night-time email has customers in a similar position, but at home. They have finished their commute, most likely eaten dinner and are now about to relax. If an email grabs their eye, they have more time to read it without distractions.
While the specific times are a guideline, it might be more helpful to think about what your customers are likely to be doing, and how that impacts the chances your email will be opened.
As a general rule of thumb, however, the late morning and early evening should increase your chances of your email being opened.
Getting in the Zone
Choosing when to send an email has another complication that choosing a day doesn’t have – different time zones. There are a few ways to approach this.
The most obvious is to find out the time zone that the majority of your customers live in, and work with that number.
You also might like to find a range of time zones, and see if you can find a time that will work for most customers while still hitting that peak window.
If you can send an email that some will receive at 9am and some at 12, that should work for most people.
Otherwise, it might help you to split your customers into separate mailing groups that allow for the different time zones, in order to target your whole mailing list effectively.
How to find your own “best” time and day to send an email
Of course, the best approach is one that works for you. That means testing out different parameters and seeing which ones achieve the best results.
The type of email you want to send and the content will also impact whether it is more or less likely to be opened at different times.
It’s far too simplistic to suggest a single time and day that will work for everyone, but there are factors that influence how many customers will take a moment from their day to open and read your email.
“We saw our emails flat line in 2017. Everybody said ’email is dead’ but we knew it was still the best option for our toy business. What we hadn’t noticed was the growth in the west. We adjusted our send times and boom we were back” – Mike Brady, Toys4U
The numbers may not look impressive, but email marketing campaigns have the potential to deliver a massive return on investment.
Delivering a great, eye-catching campaign that lands straight into the hands of customers and is easily actionable is a great way to turn your marketing dollars directly into profits.
But when planning to get those emails opened by customers, it’s important to remember to put some thought into selecting the best day and time.