A lot goes into executing a successful email marketing campaign.
The actual copy itself is obviously very important. The same can be said for the offer you’re making. And a lot has been made about the graphics used, especially as they relate to a mobile-friendly experience.
However, one vital factor you can’t afford to overlook is the best time for email marketing.
You can optimize every other element, but if you don’t send your message at the right time, your campaign will never reach its full potential.
Fortunately, you’re not the only one wondering about the best time for email marketing. A lot of research has been conducted over the years, which means we have some pretty clear answers waiting for you.
The best day to send emails may seem obvious enough: any day but Monday and Friday.
On Mondays, the conventional wisdom goes, people already have enough on their plate. They need to prepare for the week ahead and put out any fires that have been building over the weekend. So, unless your email promises to help with one of these priorities, it’s easy to ignore.
On Fridays, people are ready for the weekend. They don’t want to risk opening an email that could complicate things and, thus, rationalize that it’s worth putting off the message until Monday.
However, it may not be that simple.
Data suggests that the best day for email marketing really depends on your audience.
For B2B companies emailing entrepreneurs or other people who are constantly checking their email, weekends actually represent a great opportunity.
For B2B companies with a more conventional audience, Tuesdays and Thursdays are ideal.
For B2C companies, Saturdays will see the highest open rates, closely followed by Tuesdays.
The best time for email marketing actually depends on the outcome you want. These can be broken down into:
Before you send your next email, consider which of the above you want your recipients to do. Using the same data source as the one above, the ideal time for sending your message will be:
For opens, it’s right after people wake up and before they go to bed. There’s an especially large spike between 8 and 10 am.
For clicks, send your emails late – between midnight and 6am. People will read these right after they wake up.
For responses, either send your messages in the early morning or right after work hours end. Again, 10 am seems to be the perfect time.
As you can see, the best time for email marketing depends on a number of factors. So, although you now have a solid foundation from which to work, there’s probably a lot more you can still do to pin down the right day and time for your industry.
First, there’s your own expertise. Use your own knowledge of your industry to inform your decision about when to send emails.
Second, don’t forget about time-tested methods for getting the details you need to make the right decision.
Here are three essentials:
It’s always important to utilize email best practices throughout your entire campaign.
There are plenty of ways to optimize your emails further, though, depending on the aforementioned goals we mentioned above.
However, when it comes to the best time for email marketing, think about the message you’re sending and when it stands the best chance of being viewed.
For example, if your subject line reflects something urgent (e.g. a limited time offer, breaking news, etc.), it might do quite well on a Friday, as it’s clearly not something that can wait an entire weekend.
Similarly, sending an email later in the day shouldn’t impede your success too much as long as you make it clear in the subject line that it must be read ASAP.
No matter what industry you’re in, chances are that it’s made up of numerous segments. In fact, if you think your industry is so niche that it’s made up of just one customer, you’ll probably benefit a number of different ways from investing in segmentation.
This is definitely true for email marketing. Aside from making your messages more relevant, segmentation can also help you decide when to send them.
As we touched on above, if your industry includes entrepreneurs who tend to work every day of the week, weekends definitely aren’t off limits. However, if you also sell to more traditional 9-to-5 workers, you’ll want to send your emails between Monday and Friday.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of when to send emails to your company’s various segments.
Still, we can’t stress enough how important it is to never become complacent with your results. You should always A/B test your email campaigns to see if there isn’t more that can be done.
Again, you might find that there are actually more specific groups within your segments that you could target.
You will most likely also find when your respondents are most likely to open, click, and/or respond to your messages.
By implementing A/B testing, you can email the same message to different groups within one segment at different times or on different days. With just that single change to your campaign, you’ll quickly learn what combination will work best for each segment.
Learning the best time for email marketing will take some work, but it’s worth every bit of investing in optimization, segmentation, and testing.
Even if all you do is send your emails an hour earlier or on a different day, that small change could be enough to create a big impact in the results you see from your campaigns.
Start with the advice we provided above and then get to work customizing it for your unique industry and your email marketing campaigns will soon improve without making any other changes.