WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO SEND AN EMAIL?
A question I get asked all the time. And if you have been following me for awhile you will probably know the answer I’ll tell you.
Shocker, I know.
Here’s the thing. Every audience is different, and they will all have different “best” times of day and days of the week to be reading emails.
In fact, it’s one of the things I love most about email. Unlike social media which depends on algorithms and if someone doesn’t check in within a day or two, your post could disappear down their feed. Not with email. It will sit there either waiting to be opened and read or it could be ignored. But your subscriber has the choice.
With that in mind – anytime is a good time to send an email!
That doesn’t mean we can’t get a bit more scientific with our approach first.
START WITH A BEST GUESS, THEN TEST
Science is all about testing hypotheses and best email send times is one of those experiments.
We can start generic with a few studies.
According to CoSchedule’s comparison of 14 different studies they found that the best day of the week to send an email is Tuesday, then Thursday, then Wednesday.
Times of day are 10am then 8pm, 2pm, and 6am.
As you can see, it is all over the place.
While this is a great starting point, I would challenge this is generic across all industries.
And your industry could be very different.
Stop and think about when the most logical times someone could be checking their emails is.
If you were in the B2B space, I would guess during the workday around typical break times – morning tea (10am) and afternoon tea (2pm).
If, however, mums are your target audience 2.30pm works well (scrolling during school pickup), 8pm (after the kids are in bed) or on Sundays when there is a bit more down time.
If you’ve thought about best posting times on social media – email will be similar. So if you want a place to start looking at these statistics could be a help.
But it’s all just testing.
Choose a time and test it out for a few weeks – using a mix of value-driven and promotional posts. Then compare this to your current sending times.
Repeat for a few months until you have determined the best time. But then keep an eye on trends as things may change.
Note: To get sufficient data you would really need a list size of 500+.
Alternatively, you can split test campaigns by sending to 50% of your list at one time and 50% at another. I would recommend an email list of at least 1000 to get enough data to be informative.
Another important consideration is time zones. It’s all well and good scheduling an email to send at 2.30pm on a Tuesday your time, but what if your audience is international?
2.30pm here in Perth is 2.30am in New York. Big difference.
If you really want to ensure that your email is being sent at the same time for everybody, then you’ll need to have the ability to schedule the send time to drip out based on the subscribers individual timezone.
Unfortunately, this feature is only available with a few email service providers and not on their free plan levels.
THE BEST REAL TIME TO SEND AN EMAIL?
When your subscriber is actively engaging with you. While automations are a topic for a different blog post, the short version is that an automation can almost be setup for any action your subscriber takes.
The most common ones you’ll be aware of are welcome emails and abandoned carts.
But there are so many more, like browse abandonment, visiting certain webpages, immediately after purchase and so on.
Emailing when they are currently engaging with you is a powerful way to continue the interaction.
Email send times can make a big difference to engagement for really large lists. But for most of us, starting with a best guess based on industry data and knowledge of your target audience is sufficient.
Keep an eye on the data but don’t obsess so much that this stops you from doing the most important thing – sending that email!
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