Timing is Everything: When is the best time to send emails?
As edited and modified by David WB Parker, President and Founder of PTC Computer Solutions
If you’ve implemented an email marketing campaign and want to optimize how many people open and click-through your email, knowing what day of the week and at what time of day is the best time to send an email blast is a key element to ensure email success. Sending on the wrong day or time can impact your email performance negatively. In this article PTC Computer Solutions will explain what the best day to send email is and what the best time of day to send email is.
Is Timing Really Important?
If only sending a successful email marketing campaign were as simple as putting together a compelling offer, a great creative, an enticing subject line and sending your message. But it’s not! In the quest to get your users to open an email, the day and time that you send an email is also incredibly important. Continue reading to find out what is the best day to send email and what is the best time of day to send email.
What is the Best Day to Send Emails for Events?
The first thing that you need to know is that, while a large portion of your recipients are going to open your email the day that they receive it, not all of them will. As people visit their inboxes less frequently during the day and instead hit social network, the number of days it takes between sending an email and a user reading it has grown. It used to be a commonly accepted metric that a marketing email or newsletters had a three day “open tail”. These days, most people allow up to five days for stragglers to open emails.
So, this is important to you if you send emails that relate to specific events. For example, an email about a prediction on a sports event or last minute tickets to a concert. Sending the email the day of the event means that, by the time a significant portion of your audience reads the email, the event will be over. a minimum, send your email three days before the target event. If you want to be extra safe, increase that to five days.
What is the Best Time of a Day to Send Emails?
It’s not between 8:00am and 9:00am EST if you’re an email marketer! According to a Pivotal Veracity study, early morning email delivery has the lowest open rates. This makes sense since the first time most people check their email is when they arrive at work, and the common habit is to delete anything unimportant in order to reduce clutter before the day starts.
If you’re emailing in North America, the vast majority of the population lives in the Eastern Standard time zone. Subsequently, it’s best to focus your email send time on hitting that particular time zone (unless you have the capability to segment your list by geographic location and send in staggered sends).
While metrics are different for everybody, as a general rule, the best open rates tend to be seen in emails that are sent around lunch time (noon or 1:00pm) EST. This also makes logical sense as people tend to relax a bit with their inboxes at lunch.
The Day Dilemma
There are a few fast and easy rules about what is the best day to send email. But as PTC Computer Solutions will discuss at the conclusion of this article, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t test to find out if they hold true for you.
Monday Blues: Monday’s are considered the worst day to send mass emails if open rate is important to you (and, of course, open rate is important to you). The logic, again, involves the theory that most people spend most of their inbox time at work. When you come into work on a Monday, you instantly start deleting anything that seems like junk or unimportant emails so that your inbox isn’t as overwhelming to you. This theory has been backed up by numbers in many email marketing studies. Unless your users have proven to exhibit a different pattern or you have a compelling reason to send on Monday, avoid Monday sends!
Weekend Warriors: It’s also a fact that internet activity in general reduces on weekends. This may be because people spend more time with their families, get outdoors more or are just burnt out from all their enforced online time during the week. Almost every online metric category slips on the weekends, and that includes email opens. Avoid big weekend blasts.
Midweek Days are the Best Days of a Week: Most studies support that sending emails on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday will yield the best results. So, if you boil it down, you want to send your email campaign on a midweek day in the afternoon.
Rules Are Meant to Be Broken: Make Sure These Hold True for You
Despite all of the rules above, the No. 1 rule of email marketing is “Test. Then test again.” Your particular user base may respond very well to Monday or weekend emails. Maybe you have a lot of mothers who are up early and online, opening emails. The only way to know for sure is to hold various email testing to test various send times and select the best time of a day and the best day to send emails for your own sending list . Even within your list, different list segments may respond in different ways.
If you follow the “Midweek, Midday” rule, you will certainly get decent response rates. Then you can build on that by running some tests to figure out if there may be a more optimized time to send to your email list! Just be sure you remember to keep track of what you sent when!
So what if I’m not sending to Spanish College Aged Neonatal Nurses?
There are different times of the day and days of the week that are optimal for everyone. From a Mailchimp (https://blog.mailchimp.com/insights-from-mailchimps-send-time-optimization-system) article analyzing optimal times and days for sending, there are many things that can be seen and many subcategories that can be spliced and diced.
The graphs above illustrate the nuance in determining the optimal time to send to a list. There may be one high-level easy answer, but it falls apart a bit for certain audiences. Luckily, MailChimp’s STO (Send Time Optimization) system captures all that nuance, so feel free to try out its suggestion for your list.
Furthermore, none of these above results are surprising. The fact that bartenders don’t want to engage with email at 8am is pretty obvious, if you think about it. And that’s a good thing! It means that STO, while backed by insane amounts of data and math, isn’t magic. You can formulate your own hypotheses based on what you know about your audience and then A/B test (variable content emails) those send time hypotheses. (Remember, A/B tests on send time average a 22% improvement in engagement.)
So I hope this post helps put the age old “When do I send?” question to bed. Just remember:
- Send midmorning during the work week…
- …unless you know something about your audience, which you really should. In which case, the previous point is probably wrong.
- Use STO or A/B testing to get a better answer.
Are you working on email campaigns? Are you aware of the best times of day and day to send? Do you understand who you are sending to and interacted with them to know who they are?
PTC Computer Solutions works extensively on building relationships, not emailing or posting things for the sake of it. Spend time understanding who you are sending to and what they may be interested in reading. Give them more of what they want.
If all of this befuddles you belittling your being begging your brain to be foddered belying your intellect…not to worry, PTC Computer Solutions has a team of experts on this stuff and we’re here to help. It’s what we do.
Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with a tremendous number of moving parts. It is a constantly changing world. You do what you do best. Let us do what we do best. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions.
If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan and budget. Among everything else we do, PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any marketing efforts, web or otherwise, you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions