Almost every email marketing service suggests optimal times and days for sending emails. These recommendations are based on what works for their customers.
For example, in its 2014 Send Time Optimzation report, MailChimp established that Thursday, generally, is the “good weekday” to send emails.
As for the time, MailChimp found 10 A.M. to work best. CampaignMonitor, on the other hand, found the highest open rates (about 24%) between 6 P.M. – 11P.M.
At Sendlane, they found the best times to be 8AM-9AM Eastern Standard Time for best OPEN rates or 3pm-4pm Eastern Standard Time for best CLICK rates. Or better yet, we highly recommend using the “Optimized Timing” Feature which will email based on the average time of your subscribers activity.
So here you have three solid researches suggesting two different times. And that’s not all, you can find many other such reports.
So, what does all this data tell you?
More than anything else, this data shows that there is NO perfect day or time to send your email campaign. It tells you that the optimal send time is… subjective.
It’s subjective to your:
And many other factors.
So, if you run an online sports magazine, your time and day of sending your newsletter will be different from a company in the B2B space.
But even though your send time is unique and depends on many factors, you can still make near accurate calculations as to what timings could work well for you. And in this post, we’ll discuss the different ways to do just that.
Finding optimal send times based on past responses
Your past campaigns’ performance is a great indicator of the times and days that get high open and click-through rates from your audience. To find these times, look at all your sent campaigns and compare their open rates. When you do this step, mark out the campaigns that got higher than average responses.
Now look at the subject lines of each of the campaigns you just shortlisted. If you see that these campaigns have “regular” subject lines, then pick those, and note down the times (and days) they were sent at.
If you’re wondering about why we’re looking at the subject lines… well, we’re doing so because subject lines influence open rates. So, for instance, if you send out a subject line like “Limited time offer: 50% all renewals,” you’ll naturally get higher open rates. But the hike in opens will have little to do with when you sent the campaign. You’ll attribute that hike mostly to the subject line.
With this little exercise, you should be able to identify the time that “generally” gets the best response for your campaigns. Now that you have a safe day+time combination of when your subscribers are the most responsive, it’s time to see how you can find some other days and times that you could test.
Sending campaigns based on the target audience’s schedule (and what you want them to do)
Let’s take an example to understand this method better.
Assume that you sell a lead-building solution, and you want to send a newsletter about the latest features you’ve launched.
The results you expect from this email are:
- Queries from existing customers asking if these features are right for them
- Demo requests from potential customers
Your target audience comprises VPs and C-suite marketing professionals.
Let’s get to the question now… so, when do you think you should send this email?
Should you send it on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?
That’s because it’s unlikely that a company’s senior marketing team would pay attention to your email on those days.
How about Monday?
Monday also rules out because it’s a rush day.
So, that leaves us with Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And, you can pick any one of these.
Let’s now work out the time.
So, what time should you send it at?
Well, sending it at 8 AM would be too early, your subscribers wouldn’t have started their work day by then.
If you send it too late after the lunch break, it could be that they’d probably open your email but not get back to you. Maybe they’ll leave the response to a later time and then forget about it.
That leaves us a range between 9 AM to 2 or 3 PM. Any time within it should do.
In case you were only sending a curated and educational newsletter, you could send it on the same days but with more flexible timings, because all you’d expect from your readers would be that they’ll click through and read the content you compiled.
Your turn now: list the responses you expect from your readers and think about the best times to send.
If you’re still clueless…
If you don’t have any historic data or if you’re too confused with all the data, go with the following time and date.
For the time, try 10 AM. 10 AM keeps resurfacing in all the email benchmark studies all the time.
For the day, try Tuesday. Tuesday, again, works for most campaigns.
Before you hit send, be sure you have an email marketing service that can help you start compiling AND understanding your results. We highly recommend Sendlane. With a user-friendly dashboard and easy to understand reporting, you’ll be sending perfectly timed emails in… no time!
You know… we’ve all been there. Struggling with timing and scheduling email campaigns.
But our experience has shown us that beyond a point, you really need to think about your subscribers and how you can pack more value into all your email communication.
And as I said in the beginning, data about the optimal send times can only give you an idea of what could work, but it sure can’t be the foundation of your email campaign schedules.
So, grab a free trial of Sendlane, get testing and find out when your subscribers are the best engaged!
And, while you’re at it, shoot us a comment so we know what timing worked best for you.
Also published on Medium.