Top 5 myths about the best time to send emails

You could spend every waking hour of your day crafting the best email campaign the world has ever seen, and it wouldn’t mean anything if no one was around to read it.

This is why timing is so crucial in email marketing. It’s important to make sure you’re sending emails at a time when your audience is most likely to be checking their inbox.

When you’re looking for advice and best practices about the best time to send—whether it’s a campaign or a single email—a lot has been written, and a lot has been wrong.

It turns out that not everything you read on the internet is 100% factual. Who knew?

Whether it comes from the internet or a crusty relic of tradition, there are many myths surrounding the business of email marketing.

Trying to make sense of these various truths and falsities can be exhausting and confusing, not to mention, needlessly overwhelming.  

In order to make life, and email marketing, just a little easier, here are some of the biggest myths surrounding the best time to send emails.

1. Monday and Tuesday are the best days of the week to send.

While Monday and Tuesday may be the best days of the week to send out some emails, they’re not the best days of the week to send out emails.

In other words, it’s far more complicated than this.

The best day of the week to send out emails is going to depend entirely on your specific industry. While there are numbers out there for averages across all industries, you want to make sure you’re working off the most specific sample size.

For example, if you’re in the animal services industry, the best time of the week is most commonly Monday. If you’re in education, the best day of the week is Wednesday.

You can find the best day for your industry (along with some other super valuable insights) here.

2. Morning is the best time of the day to send.

This one is especially not true for every brand, audience, and industry. In fact, the opposite is true for some.  

The best time of day to send out emails, generally, is in the afternoon, especially around 3 p.m. This is when the workday is winding down, there might be some time to kill, yet people are still active in front of a computer.

While the afternoon offers a far better likelihood of seeing high open rates than morning, you should still check to see what the numbers are for your industry. Just like the day of the week, some industries have higher open rates at different times.

When it comes to the social services industry for example, the best time to send your email campaign is 4 p.m. On the other hand, people in real estate are more likely to check their email at 9 p.m.

3. Not waiting long enough between emails will result in fewer engagements.

At first, it sounds like common sense. If you send too many emails in too short a period, it will seem like spam, and you’ll get fewer open rates.

However, that’s not the whole truth.

It’s been found that sending around four emails every month can get you double the open rates that sending just one email would.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should send an email every day. In fact, 69% of people have reported unsubscribing from a mailing list due to getting too many emails.

As with most things, the answer to email frequency lies somewhere in the middle. To find the perfect email frequency for you, it’s probably best to experiment with your own timing and see how your audience reacts.

Based on the data above, you should probably start out sending four emails per month, then experiment from there depending on the results you get.

4. Stop sending to inactive users after six months.

Common email marketing wisdom tells you to stop sending emails to users who haven’t interacted with your emails for more than six months. As with many of these myths, this makes sense on the surface, but there’s more to it.

Some research has found that a fifth of all open-rates come from users who haven’t interacted with your emails in more than six months. This means that if you send enough emails, eventually one of them is going to pique someone’s interest.

The key here, though, is email segmentation. Once users have been inactive for six months or longer, you should be segmenting those users to tailor your content specifically to them, with the goal of re-engaging. This allows you to set those low-engagement individuals apart from your more active users, so you can separate behavior and customize your emails accordingly.

set those low-engagement individuals apart from your more active users, so you can separate behavior and customize your emails accordingly.

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Don’t send on holidays.

Some people will try to tell you not to waste any effort sending emails on holidays. Everyone is on vacation or spending time with family. Work is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Nobody is checking their inbox.

It’s quite the opposite.

It’s been found that one-fifth of all purchases made during the holiday season occurred after opening an email. What’s more, 70% of people learn about holiday promotions from emails.

With those kinds of numbers, it’s hard to argue against email being a positive force in the digital marketing arena during the holidays.

When it comes to Black Friday, emails are even more influential on a company’s sales. In recent years, email marketing generated the most sales of any other marketing arm, coming in with a little more than 25% of the credit.

Email marketing is also a massive hit during birthdays, primarily because of the opportunity found in personalization. In fact, birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than regular emails.

Email marketing is also a massive hit during birthdays, primarily because of the opportunity found in personalization.

Source: Really Good Emails

5. The weekend is a dead zone.

Most email marketers will tell you to avoid sending emails on the weekend, due to the fact that no one is checking their inbox regularly. This is similar to the thought process around not wanting to send on holidays.

While weekends may not be the most lucrative time of the week to send emails for all, they’re no dead zone. If anything, the very fact that everyone else avoids the weekend means that it’s open for anyone who’s willing to move in.

As a matter of fact, people who do check their emails on weekends are actually more likely to yield click-through rates due to the more ample free time we have at that time.

It’s also been shown that sending emails on the weekends can be more lucrative than weekdays for B2C companies, with Saturday coming out with the highest open rates.

With B2B companies, the highest open rates are still coming from the weekdays.

Wrap up

Figuring out the right timing to send out your email campaign can be tricky.

While the internet claims to have many answers, it’s never as simple as finding that magic number.

In fact, much of what you read are myths that spread because they sound plausible or are catchy.

Hopefully we’ve cleared the fog from the email marketing landscape and can now see clearly the truth of the best time to send, email campaign or otherwise.

Here are some takeaways to remember:

  • The best day to send is not always specific, and depends entirely on your industry’s audience.

  • Despite traditional wisdom, the afternoon is a far more fruitful time of day to send out emails (for most industries).

  • Waiting a long time between emails doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to boost engagement.

  • List segmentation and content tailoring can help re-engage dormant customers.

  • Holidays are a great time to send an email campaign, especially Black Friday and birthdays.

  • While the weekend isn’t the most lucrative time to send out emails—except for B2C marketing—it’s hardly a dead zone and could be worth your time.

With these simple clarifications to guide your timing, your great email content can finally find the eyes it deserves.

After you’ve uncovered the myths surrounding the best time to send emails, you may want to learn some truths. Here’s the latest data for how to nail the timing on event invitation emails.

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