It’s no secret that timing is everything when it comes to email marketing. But what many people don’t realize is that there are specific times of the day when your email will have the best chance of being seen and acted on.
According to recent studies, the optimal time to send an email is around 10 am in the recipient’s local time zone. At this time, email inboxes are typically less cluttered and people are more likely to be paying attention to their emails.
So, does that answer the question: when is the best time to send an email?
Well, there’s no one magic answer, that’s for sure.
There are several days and times when audiences are most receptive to emails. You’ve got to follow a little trial-and-error path to get there.
That’s why we’ve discussed the topic at length in this blog. Here’s the breakdown:
- Best days to send emails
- Best time to send an email
- Best day of the month to send emails
- What happens when you send emails against the mainstream timings
What are the Best Days to Send Emails?
Before you go sending out that great content email you’ve been sitting on, make sure you check which day it is.
Marketers generally agree that there are two great days to send emails: Tuesday and Thursday. These days have the best level of email engagement and may lead to higher open rates. Wednesday is another good option.
In the image above, you can see the best (and worst) days of the week to send emails.
Let’s now delve into how your email receptiveness might be for each day of the week.
Beginning on Sunday, email receptivity is at its lowest.
The open rate is only a little over 5%.
This is because most people are trying to milk the most out of their weekends at this point. They’re probably already dealing with the phenomenon known as the “Sunday scaries,” where the dread of Monday looms overhead.
Of course, they’re not going to want to look at their inboxes and be reminded that Monday is coming ever closer.
Monday isn’t a great day to send that all-important sales email, either.
On Monday morning, most people are walking into the office wishing it was the weekend again. They’ll go through their emails mechanically but may not be as receptive to product or service offers.
Just think about how you feel on a Monday.
Not so good, right?
Here’s a video that explains how you can send your email campaigns at the right time:
Then we get to Tuesday.
Most people have accepted they’re stuck at work for the week by this point. Their productivity might be higher, which means they’re checking their inboxes more.
They’re not quite at that mid-week hump yet, so maybe they’re not exhausted by several days of working in a row. They’re going to be much more receptive to your digital marketing emails on a Tuesday compared to a Monday.
According to Wordstream, you could see an open rate of well over 15% — meaning Tuesday is an excellent day to send out emails.
Open rates are also good on Wednesday, about 17%. By now, the week is half over.
That’s enough to energize some people and keep them on the ball, checking their inboxes.
This is a great day to send emails — make the most out of Wednesdays!
The last good day of the week you have for better email open rates is Thursday.
Some marketers and websites say this is an even better day to send emails than Tuesday; WordStream is one of them.
After all, you could see an open rate of almost 20%.
If you were too busy for that marketing email blast on Tuesday, then don’t miss your chance on this day.
However, according to Venngage, Thursday is probably the worst day to send emails. Why? That’s because most marketers, realizing that Thursday is the best day to send emails, blast out emails on this particular day.
The result? Too many emails in your customers’ inboxes. This’ll overwhelm them, and they might end up glossing over yours.
In a bit of a pickle, aren’t we?
That’s why Venngage suggests sending out emails on a low competition day, such as Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Friday & Saturday
By Friday, everyone’s focus is on the weekend.
The open rate doesn’t drop drastically, but it has been the lowest since Tuesday. You’re at a little over 15% at this point.
Once the weekend does arrive, few people want to look at their inbox since it reminds them of work. While your target audience might be more receptive to these emails on Saturday than Sunday, the email open rate is around 7%.
In a nutshell: Try sending out emails on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
What is the Best Time to Send an Email?
Okay, now you know the best days to send emails are Tuesday through Thursday.
What is the best time to send marketing emails on those days?
There are four times marketers agree on: 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, and 8 pm.
Here’s a CoSchedule infographic that corroborates this:
Why 6 am?
Doesn’t that seem a bit early? It is, but according to CoSchedule, it’s when most people are awake. About half of all professionals will begin their workday by grabbing their phones and checking their emails.
They’ll still be in bed when they do it.
That makes 6 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday a good time to send cold emails.
If you want your message to sit at the top of the pile, so to speak, then send it out as early as possible.
It’ll be one of the first emails your audience sees when they open their sleepy eyes and refresh their inboxes.
The next best time to send an email is a little later in the morning, at 10 am.
By this point, everyone who commutes will have arrived at their office and started their workdays.
Many people are productive at this hour but maybe thinking of a distraction like a coffee, a cup of water, or a short break.
Your email could arrive at just the right time.
Try to limit sending emails between 11 am and 1 pm.
The hour before lunch is pretty much a lost cause. Many people are hungry and waiting until they can take their lunch break. For some employees, that’s noon to 1 pm, and for others, it’s 1 pm to 2 pm.
That’s why the next recommended time to send your emails is on Tuesdays through Thursdays at 2 pm.
Lunch break is over, and it’s now time to focus for the next few hours of the afternoon. Most people’s tummies are full, so they’re not thinking of that midafternoon snack yet.
This makes 2 pm one of the best times to send emails, according to Mailchimp.
If you missed the 2 pm slot to send an email, you should wait a few hours.
As mentioned, many people succumb to the mid-afternoon slump at about 3 pm. By 4 pm, they could be mentally tuned out, especially as the week progresses (it’s that weekend mentality).
Most workers are out the door by 5 pm and on their way home.
Commutes can take several hours for some, and then there’s dinnertime.
That’s why 8 pm is your next recommended timeslot for sending your emails. People are home, they’re fed, and they’re relaxing.
An email from you, especially if it’s a tailored one, has a higher chance of being opened at this hour.
Don’t go any later than 8 pm.
Sending emails at 10 pm or later is invasive. Plus, most people are sleeping by then, so they can wake up the following day and do the same thing all over again.
What is the Best Day of the Month to Send Emails?
Perhaps you only send emails monthly, such as a newsletter.
If you want to make an impact with your emails, and you only get one shot a month to do it, when should you hit the send button?
According to Omnisend, there are several days for monthly emails: the first of the month, the sixth, and the 24th.
In their own studies, when Omnisend sent out an email newsletter on the first of the month, they had a 16.4% open rate. The rate dropped slightly to 16.1% on those emails sent on the sixth of the month.
Another chart from Omnisend uncovered that click-through rates were still good for the first of the month, hovering at 3.4%.
Surprisingly, the 24th of the month is another popular day, as the open rate is 3.4%.
This is just one marketing company’s example. What you can bank on is that the first of the month is bound to get you a decently high open and click-through rate.
If you have but a single day to send an email, make sure you do it at the beginning of the month.
There are certain caveats, though.
For example, some months begin with a Saturday or Sunday. Should you still send your email newsletter then knowing that weekend open rates aren’t spectacular?
That’s up to you, but data shows it’s not the best decision.
Also, some holidays fall on the first of the month. If it’s a seriously observed holiday, you might want to hold off until the second day of the month to send that monthly newsletter.
Can You Ever Go Against the Grain?
The data we presented in this article is backed by many marketers.
But, what if you felt like going against the grain and sending an email on a Friday morning, a Monday evening, or even (gasp) Thursday midafternoon?
You don’t always have to follow these guidelines to the letter.
For example, Omnisend sent out emails at 2 am, 4 am, and 1 pm too.
Here’s a chart showing their open and click-through rates:
So, what happened? Their open and click-through rates were in flux. When Omnisend emailed their audience at two in the morning, they had a click-through rate of 0.78%. That was their lowest recorded click-through rate.
Emailing two hours after that at four o’clock in the morning netted Omnisend a much lower open rate than usual. They had better success emailing at more conventional hours.
For example, when they sent out an email at 8 am, they had a 21.66% open rate. They also enjoyed a 4.52% click-through rate, which is not bad.
Reaching out later in the day, such as at 1 pm, also netted good results. Again, there was a high open rate of 21.68%. The click-through rate also went up ever so slightly to 4.52%.
What these numbers prove is there is some wiggle room.
If you miss that 8 am or 10 am email blast, you don’t necessarily have to wait until 2 pm to hit send.
But will it work for you the way it did for Omnisend? That’s up to you to find out.
We suggest A/B testing your email marketing campaign before sending it at weird hours of the night (or day).
See which hours your audience is most receptive to. Then send emails at those times.
Will the days be midweek? More than likely.
Will the times be earlier in the day or later in the evening? Probably, but you never know.
It all depends on what kind of business you run and your audience’s needs. Maybe you try to market to the weekend warrior crowd because there’s less competition.
A Quick Note on Content…
You could send your emails at the exact days and times we listed in this article down to the minute.
However, you won’t see the kinds of open and click-through rates you want if your emails aren’t worth reading.
Just because you figured out the formula of when to send emails doesn’t mean you can get lax on content. You still need to brainstorm and write awesome, compelling newsletters and email copy.
More importantly, you need to nail the first impression using an eye-catching and engaging email subject line.
That’s why the phrase “Content is king” exists!
Are your open and click-through rates lower than you wish they were?
If you’re already writing excellent email content, it could be that you’re sending it out on the wrong days or times.
The most popular times for great email open rates are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, and 8 pm.
But the optimal times may differ from place to place, company to company.
That’s why it’s important to A/B test your email campaign so that you can find out what works the best for your own business.
EngageBay is an excellent marketing automation software with tools to design visually appealing email newsletters, personalize them through segmentation and predictive scoring, and test them out through A/B testing for send-time optimization.
The best part?
EngageBay is one of the most affordable marketing automation software in the market, making it an ideal platform for small businesses, startups, and solopreneurs.
Sign up now for free and find out your audience’s optimal times!