Are you curious about the best time to send emails? You aren’t alone.
Whether you’re sending a complex email marketing campaign or just a short message to a colleague, we’re all eager for that magic pill that will not only get our emails read—but inspire people to actually take action.
If you’ve previously done some detective work to figure out exactly when you should be hitting that “send” button, you likely already know this: There’s a ton of conflicting advice about when exactly is the right time to be sending your emails.
Fortunately, we rolled up our sleeves and dug through the research to attempt to get you a more conclusive answer on when you should be sending your messages out into the world. Let’s get started.
Does Your Email Send Time Really Matter?
Here’s the short answer: Yes, timing really does carry some weight.
Let’s back this up with a statistic. 23% of emails are opened within the first hour after delivery. Once your message sits unopened for over 24 hours? Your chances of that email ever being opened dip below a measly one percent.
With that in mind, you can assume that sending emails at a reasonable time increases their chances of being read and then responded to.
What’s the Best Day to Send Emails?
Alright, next question: If timing is so important, how can you know when you should be sending out your emails?
There are quite a few answers to this question—and, unfortunately, they don’t all match up.
According to research conducted by email marketing platform, Mailchimp, Thursday is the best day of the week to send your email. However, it’s important to note that this day isn’t ahead of the pack by a huge margin. In fact, it barely ranks ahead of Tuesday.
HubSpot’s research claims that Tuesday is when you should be sending those messages, and that Thursday is actually not such a hot day—it ranks only ahead of Friday in terms of weekday emails.
So, how can you even know which way is up?
There’s really no definitive right and wrong. In general, you should avoid sending emails over the weekend, when people are a little less attached to their inboxes.
Additionally, it’s wise to avoid Mondays and Fridays.
People are either swamped or already checked out and geared up for the weekend—meaning their emails tend to pile up and go unnoticed and unread.
CoSchedule actually compiled ten different studies to get a clearer direction, and they suggest the following order in terms of the best days to send your emails:
That falls pretty close in line with what a lot of the research is pointing to. So, if you’re really eager for a black and white answer, we recommend sticking with that.
What’s the Best Time to Send Emails?
Alright, so now that you know you should be aiming for the middle of the week to get your messages out the door, let’s turn our attention to the clock. Is there a certain time of day when you’ll get the best open rates?
Again, this is a situation where this isn’t one correct answer.
Mailchimp’s research says 10AM in the recipient’s time zone is an optimal time. CampaignMonitor’s own study supports that assumption by stating between 9AM and 11AM will result in the best performance.
They go in a totally different direction and claim that sending your messages at 2PM will generate the best results. Oddly enough, they gathered that answer from analyzing Mailchimp data—the same data that points to 10AM as the ideal time.
Is your head spinning? I can’t blame you. So, let’s boil this down.
There isn’t one default time that always works. Instead, aim for later morning or early afternoon. That way, people aren’t overwhelmed with the early morning hustle and bustle, but they also aren’t already checked out and packing up for the day.
Experiment and Adjust: There’s No Magic Answer
You’re likely noticing a trend here: There isn’t one perfect date and time to send your emails. It depends on a lot of things, including your content and your audience.
The best thing you can do is to experiment and then diligently monitor your results.
To start, it’s important to define your own version of success.
What are you aiming for?
A higher open rate?
A higher click-through rate?
Figure out exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
With that objective in place, you can set up an A/B test. Send the same email at two different times (to two different groups of subscribers, or course—you don’t want people to receive the same email twice).
Try sending one at 10AM and one at 2PM and then analyze the open rate and/or click-through rate.
Is there one that way outperformed the other?
You can also do the same thing with the days of the week.
Do emails sent on Tuesdays always beat the emails you send on Thursdays?
No studies or statistics take into account your unique audience, so learn what you can by experimenting and then analyzing the different metrics associated with your emails.
Those efforts will reveal a lot, and soon you’ll have a tried and tested schedule in place for when you should be sending your messages for maximum results.
Maximize Your Email Efforts: 3 Key Tips to Keep in Mind
Timing matters. However, there are a few other best practices you should be utilizing to increase the chances that your emails are actually opened.
1. Give some thought to your subject line.
Did you know that your subject line is the single biggest factor that influences your open rates? It’s true—35% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. This means this seemingly insignificant portion of your email deserves some real thought and consideration.
What exactly makes for a strong subject line? For starters, you need to keep things short and concise. The best performing subject lines are only three words long.
Also, be as clear as possible. Since people are opening based on the subject itself, make sure you’re giving a solid idea of what’s included in the email. But, as Mailchimp warns, stay away from any hard sells in the subject line—that’ll only turn people off.
2. Include personalization.
None of us want to feel like just a number, which is why personalization in your email campaigns can make such a huge difference.
According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalization in the subject line are 26% more likely to be opened.
So, even though you only have a few words for your subject, go ahead and include the subscriber’s name in there. It can make all the difference in terms of your email’s success.
3. Leverage a clear call to action.
Have you ever gotten to the end of the email you received and thought to yourself, “OK…now what?” Too often, it’s unclear exactly what the sender of an email wants you to do. Do you need to reply? Sign up for something?
Every single email should include an explicit call to action. If there’s no specific action that you’re requesting?
Well, that probably means you shouldn’t be sending the email at all—if there’s nothing you’re trying to accomplish, that message is unnecessary.
Decide what you want readers to do.
Should they read your recent blog post?
Click through to your website? Enter your contest?
Figure out what one—yes, only one—action you want them to take and then direct them to it. According to WordStream, emails with a single call to action increased clicks by an impressive 371%.
Step Up Your Email Game
It’d be great if there was a blanket answer for when you should be sending your emails for maximum engagement, but unfortunately, that’s not reality.
The good news is, there’s tons of advice out there in regards to days and times when you should be sending your messages.
While those best practices don’t always line up, they do give you plenty of insights you can use to experiment and find the best email timing for your audience.
Remember, there isn’t one right answer for everyone—but, that doesn’t mean you can’t find the right answer for you. It exists, it just might take a little bit of trial and error in order to find it.