Perfect Timing: The Very Best Time to Send Email Newsletters
By Megan Marrs September 04, 2014 Posted In: Marketing Strategy
Timing is everything – right? It may not be everything, but it certainly matters, especially when it comes to getting subscribers to notice and open your emails.
So when is the best time to send newsletter emails? We have some advice and we’re eager to share.
Best Email Send Time: General Advice
These general email send time tips are widely accepted by the email marketing community. They are great when you’re starting off, but be sure to read on and see why they won’t always work.
- Daytime vs. Nighttime. While this one may be obvious, it’s usually better to send out your email campaigns during the daytime. You know, when people are awake. Not asleep.
- Mad Mondays. The general consensus is that should avoid sending out email blasts on Mondays. Why? People are already bummed out about the end of the weekend. They march into the office and are flooded with emails they’ve collected over the past few days. What’s the first thing they do? Delete those emails of course!
- Weekends. Historically, weekends are the days when folks are out running errands and going on adventures. Weekends tend to have low open rates, so most marketers avoid them like the plague.
- Give Heads Up for An Event. While 23% of emails are opened within 60 minutes after being sent, there are some lingerers who may not check out your email until a day or two later. To be safe, send out event-oriented emails 3-5 days prior to an event.
- Fan Favorites: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday have traditionally been favorite days to send email campaigns, as email marketers seek to avoid the Monday angst and Friday’s itchy-feet. MailChimp confirms that Tuesday and Thursday are the two most popular days to send email newsletters.
- Mid-Week, Mid-day: The tried-and-true traditional approach of sending out email campaigns in the middle of the week and in the middle of the day tends to do pretty well. General know-how suggests sending emails between 1-3pm (9-11am is recommended as well). It’s safe. It’s reliable. It’s not a bad choice. Just remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
MailChimp suggests 2 pm as the optimal send time based on their data.
That’s the Advice. Now Ignore it.
The tips above are considered general best practice advice for email marketing. However, there are many, many, situations which quickly challenge the classical suggestions above.
Best Time to Send Emails: Thursday 8 – 9 am
Most email marketing articles would claim that 8am is too early to send an email newsletter, but it works great for WordStream blasts – we get over 25% open rates with this time!
Worst Time to Send Emails: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 – 10 am
Many would claim that Tuesday and Wednesday mornings should be great times to send emails, but we’ve found that Tuesday mornings result in under 5% open rates, while Wednesday mornings have below 5% click to open ratios.
Our WordStream data shows that the status just ain’t always quo.
There are several reasons why these old classic tips don’t mean squat in the end.
Beating the Rush.
So everyone agrees that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days to send out an email campaign. Unless your competitors live north of Winterfell, they probably have heard this sage advice as well. This means that you’re facing a ton of competition by sending out emails on the “recommended” days and times.
If you don’t want your email newsletter to get lost in the hustle, swimming upstream may be your best bet. Although Mondays and Fridays are generally not recommended, who is to say they won’t work for you?
It Depends on the Device.
Traditional “best time to send an email” numbers are being thrown to the wind as user habits change across devices. The standard mid-week, mid-day makes perfect sense for desktop users who are opening emails at work. Mobile users, on the other hand, tend to be pretty active even late in the evening.
It’s worth noting that although activity on mobile devices is plentiful on nights and weekends, a Brafton study shows that 55% of consumers open emails on desktops, while only 25% open emails on mobile devices. However, this study was done in 2013, and with users growing more reliant on mobile devices each day, these number could easily change. I also suspect that as businesses learn to craft more mobile-friendly emails, we’ll see greater email open rates on mobile devices.
Demographics: Know Your Peeps.
Understanding your demographics is the single most important thing you can do for email marketing success. They’re your audience - you should know their habits and cater to them.
Some examples of how demographics override the safe “best time to send” general advice:
- If you’re targeting the young, tech-obsessed crowd, you would probably ignore the general tip about not sending emails at night. Evening emails could work just fine for younger audiences.
- The much-maligned Friday could be a great choice if you’re in the entertainment industry, with folks looking for fun things to do over the weekend.
- Weekends don’t have to be off-bounds either. What if you’re interested in reaching tech-savvy audiences in cold-weather climates? I bet they spend plenty of time checking emails on Saturday and Sunday.
Don’t forget to consider your target demographics’ time zone – you definitely want to customize email send times depending on where your recipients live.
The Ultimate Answer to the “When to Send an Email” Question
The answer to “what is the best time to send an email campaign?” is that there is no single “best time” to send an email – it depends on your audience.
I know, what a cop-out answer! It’s true though. While there are certain days of the week and times that are generally recommended by the larger email marketing community, we’ve shown today how easy it is to refute those claims.
Maybe you’re thinking – come on Megan, I came here for an answer, not some Nietzsche-esque statement about subjective truth. To which I’d say fine; the mid-day, mid-week motto is a great place to start and should perform decently enough.
However, if you really want to rock email marketing and send out your email newsletters at the very best time for optimal opens and clicks, you need to TEST!
A/B test your send times like crazy. This is really the best way to find the perfect send time for your particular audience.
Not Getting the Open Rates You Want? Don’t Blame the Hour.
Bad open rates aren’t just about your send times. If your open rates aren’t looking so good, consider these factors as well:
- Do You Have a Standout Subject Line? Subject lines are HUGE when it comes to email marketing. You could argue that subject lines are even more important the email copy, since it’s the subject lines’ job to get people opening your message to begin with. Make sure you have a saucy, enticing subject line. Try checking out our post on the best email subject lines to increase open rates.
- Are You Sending Too Many Emails? No one likes a blabbermouth. Could your low open rates be the result of sending out too many emails? Maybe you’re bugging the heck out of your email subscribers.
- Is Your Message Mobile-Friendly? Your emails absolutely need
to be mobile-friendly, end of story. ============================================
In addition to this blog, I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, "Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:
If you would like to listen to experts in all aspects of Netiquette and communication, try my radio show on BlogtalkRadio online newsletter via paper.li.I have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and Yahooa member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ Rider University and PSG of Mercer County New Jersey.