Best Time to Send Email Marketing: Optimising Engagement for Success

It’s not just what you say that counts, but when you say it. Many small business owners find it challenging to get their target audience to open those well-planned marketing emails, not realising that they’ve put themselves at a disadvantage all because of one easily avoidable issue: they’ve sent the email at the wrong time or on the wrong day.

As you’ll likely know from your own internet usage, there are some times of the week when you’re just more likely to engage with an email that’s freshly landed in your inbox. And there are times when even an email from a long-lost love would struggle to get your attention.

To take full advantage of the awesome potential of email marketing, you’ll need to know the best time to send email marketing. And that’s just the information we’re here to provide. In this post, we’ll take a data-driven deep dive into everything small business owners need to know about email marketing timing, including what times generally work, what times generally don’t, and some handy tips about how you can find the optimal time for your specific marketing emails.

Let’s dive in.

 

Why Figuring Out The Best Time To Send Email Marketing Is Important

If you thought that you could sling out those emails at any time of day and be guaranteed success, think again. Even outstandingly well-constructed, valuable emails will have little to no impact if they arrive in subscriber’s emails at the wrong time.

Ultimately, sending your emails at the right time should form a crucial component of your email marketing campaign. Think of it as the last piece of the puzzle; you’ve already worked to create a compelling headline and copy, attention-grabbing visuals, and a solid call to action. Pitching your case at just the right time will ensure that you’ve done all you can for your campaign.

Some of the primary advantages of figuring out the best time and best day to send email marketing include:

Increased Open Rates

You might be proud of the email subject line that you’ve come up with — but let’s be honest, you’d rather your subscribers see all the content inside your email. Your audience is much more likely to open an email if it lands in their inbox during a time when they’re generally online and ready to engage with marketing materials. 

Remember that your email marketing campaigns can’t be successful if no one opens your emails. While you’ll never achieve a 100% open rate, selecting the right time will ensure that as many people as possible see your email content. 

Increased Click-Throughs

Getting your subscribers to open your emails is one thing. Having them click through is another. People may open emails that are interesting to them regardless of what time they are sent, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll take action. An email that’s sent in the middle of the night may be opened when the receiver wakes up, but they’re unlikely to take action. And in the end, it’s that action step that will really make a difference. 

Finding the right time to send marketing emails can help increase open rates and click-throughs, greatly enhancing your chance of making a sale. 

Maintain Your Email Subscribers List 

It takes a lot of work to build a list of subscribers, and even more work to maintain that list. While you won’t want to have people who have no interest in your brand on your mailing list, anyone who may make a purchase should remain on the list.

But that’s not always up to you. People have the right to hit the unsubscribe button. It’s your mission to ensure they have no reason to do so. Brands who send marketing emails at inconvenient or annoying times will be giving their audience an opportunity to pull the plug. For instance, brands that send emails during stressful periods of the week, such as Monday morning, will be more likely to lose subscribers — after all, unless you’re offering an exceptional deal, your subscribers may find that it’s simply easier to unsubscribe than risk being annoyed in the future. 

Improve Your Marketing ROI 

Email marketing can be highly lucrative — an ROI of some $40 for each dollar spent is just one often-cited study that indicates the possibilities of email marketing.

But it takes work to hit those high figures. If you’re experiencing a much lower ROI from your email marketing campaigns despite having well-thought-out emails, then the issue could be timing. Ultimately, figuring out the best time to send marketing emails allows your campaigns to reach their full potential, and just by making a couple of simple adjustments to the timing of your emails, you may find that you can significantly improve your marketing ROI. 

Peak Email Engagement Times

First thing first: there’s no magic bullet answer when it comes to the best times to send emails. You’ll need to play around and see which sender times seem to work best for your brand.

With that said, there’s definitely plenty of data out there — and just sheer common sense — that can get you moving in the right direction. 

Though it’s not a hard and fast rule, there are generally some differences between optimal sending times for B2B businesses and B2C businesses. As with most things business-related, you’ll need to have a strong sense of who your customers are and what they expect. 

Let’s take a closer look at the two peak email engagement times — morning and evening — in more detail, outlining different scenarios when brands would use each. 

Professionals: Morning Emails

Sending your marketing emails in the morning between 9 am and 12 pm is recommended if you’re targeting businesses or professionals. 

Morning times are usually the quiet part of the day, which means that your recipients are more likely to have the time and space to engage with your emails. As a professional yourself, you’ll be familiar with the routine of a working day. Mornings are periods to slowly get to grips with the day, coffee in hand. It’s not hard to see why a professional would engage with an email around that time. In fact, it might be the only time to engage with an email — afternoons are usually all go, go, go, while only the most committed workers engage with work-related tasks once the evening sets in. 

Consumers: Morning, Afternoon, and Evening

We mentioned how mornings may be the only time to send an email to professionals. If your target audience is general consumers, then you’ll have much more flexibility with your send times. Sending emails mid-morning, around the time of the first break of the day, can be effective, as can sending just before lunchtime.

Late afternoon and evening can also be effective. The theory goes that during these periods of the day, consumers are free from their professional responsibilities and they’re in a better position to engage with emails that speak to their personal lives.

But Remember: There’s No Perfect Time

As we said above, there’s no perfect time. Studies have shown there are some email-sending times better than others, but it’s not an exact science. Even the “best” email open rate times only have a marginally better open rate than other times.

It’s best to start with a generally well-performing time and go from there. A study by Hubspot found that 11 am had the highest rate of email opens, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll work for your brand. Play around. It’s more important to avoid the worst performing times and days than finding the optimal time at the first of asking. We’ll outline those poor-performing send times later in the article. 

Ideal Days for Email Campaigns: What the Data Says 

It’s not just the time at which email campaigns are sent that matters. The day does, too. As you’ll know, days have different tones and rhythms — on some days, people are more than happy to engage with a marketing email that lands in their inbox. On other days, it’s the absolutely last thing they’ll have on their mind.

Let’s take a look at two main camps — weekdays and weekends — and see how they perform. 

Weekdays

Email campaigns perform best on weekdays, there’s no doubt about it. However, performance can vary widely depending on the weekday.

Research shows that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best weekdays to send a campaign, with Wednesday just behind. This is probably explained by the low engagement seen on Mondays and Fridays — people are just trying to make sense of the world on a Monday morning, and they’ve already mentally checked out for the weekend when Friday rolls around. 

Multiple studies found that Thursday was technically the best, but you probably can’t go wrong with Tuesday and Wednesday either. In any case, don’t just take the data as gospel — the only way to find your optimal day is to play around and see which works for you. 

Weekend

OK, so that’s weekdays covered, but what about the weekend? Studies have shown that Saturday and Sunday are by far the worst days to send an email. However, keep in mind that the data applies to all industries and thus all types of emails. It makes sense that a B2B marketing email would be left unopened on a Sunday since workers are not thinking about professional tasks on the weekend.

It’s a little different for B2C emails. While it won’t always work, there are definitely scenarios where it could work, so don’t discount sending your campaigns on these days. If you’re offering something fun or relaxing, then the weekend might make the most sense. Many people spend lazy Saturday or Sunday mornings browsing the internet, and they might just be in the mood to treat themselves after a long week at work.

But as we said, it’s generally not recommended to send emails on a weekend unless you have to. If that’s the case, then opt for Sunday, which is when more people are likely to be at home. 

Email Marketing: Days and Times To Avoid

It’ll take time for you to figure out which days/times work best for your email campaigns. At the start, begin by avoiding the worst days and times. We’ve already outlined how some days and times perform much more poorly than others.

Unless you have a specific reason for selecting them, avoid the following:

  • Monday mornings: People already have a long to-do list. They’re not going to risk making it longer by opening marketing emails.
  • Friday afternoons: People are already thinking about their weekend plans, which will probably involve a financial budget that they’re not going to spend on your products/services!
  • Night-Time Emails: Some people will engage with a midnight email. Most will not. 
  • Saturday and Sunday: People spend less time online on weekends, especially on Saturdays. If you have to send your marketing email on a weekend, do so on Sunday evenings.

Best Time to Send Email Marketing Australia: Tips for Success

The tips we’ve outlined in this article are broadly applicable in any country that follows the Monday – Friday working schedule. But you can also increase your chances of email marketing success by focusing on the specific region of your audience. If you’re an Australian business owner or an international business looking to crack the Australian market, then keep the following tips in mind.

Use Local Knowledge 

We’ve already outlined plenty of advice regarding the best time and days to send marketing emails. However, keep in mind that they’re not absolute rules. As well as understanding when emails generally perform well, you’ll need to bring in some common sense and local knowledge.

For example, sending on a Tuesday at 11 am might be recommended in most cases, but not if that Tuesday is the day after Easter Monday. In that case, you should view Tuesday almost as a hyper-Monday — people have had so many days off work that they’ll be even less likely to engage with a marketing email than they usually would be. In that scenario, it would be better to save sending the campaign until Thursday or the following week.

It’s also recommended to broadly have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on. If there’s a major sporting event that the whole country will be watching, then don’t send your emails. Even if it fell into the sweet spot of open rate times, you’re unlikely to get anyone’s attention.

Be Mindful of Timezones 

You’ve decided to send your emails on Wednesday mornings at 11 am, and that’s great. There’s only one problem: while your email may be delivered at 11 am where you are, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll have an 11 am landing in the inbox of your audience.

Australia, as we know, has multiple time zones, and you’ll need to keep them in mind when you’re planning when to send your emails. Thankfully, the time differences aren’t massive — depending on the time of you, the most it’ll ever be will be three hours (for regions you’re likely to serve, anyway). That means you can still hit the “Wednesday morning” period, to use our example from above, just with a bit of variety in the exact time it arrives.

The difference between an email landing at 10 am and 1 pm isn’t massive, so it shouldn’t have an overly noticeable impact on your open rate. Things become more complicated if you need, for whatever reason, for emails to arrive at 11 am at the latest. That means some of your customers will get their email early in the morning. In that scenario, it’s best to prioritise your main market. If most of your revenue comes from Sydney and Melbourne customers, then make sure it’s those guys who get the email at the right time. 

How to Increase Email Marketing Engagement

As we’ve seen, email marketing can be a highly effective way to engage with your customers and generate further revenue. But it’s not guaranteed. Given how much competition there is for clicks, it’s not possible to simply sling out a couple of emails and wait for the money to roll in. A sophisticated, data-driven approach is necessary. Let’s take a look at some handy ways to select the right send-time for your emails, as well as other tips that can boost engagement. 

Know Your Audience

Sending marketing emails can feel like shouting through a megaphone at strangers in the street, but it’s not — you know the people you’re writing to. Or, at least, you should do. When deciding when to send your emails, think about your customer’s preferences and lifestyles. Are they likely to be busy at the weekend, or may they be relaxing at home with their laptop open? Do they work regular 9 – 5 hours? Understanding your customers will help guide you towards the ideal time and also help you to create content that they find engaging. 

Practice A/B Testing 

You’re unlikely to land upon the perfect send time at the first time of asking. Figuring out which days/times works for you — or, rather, your customers — will be a process. And you’ll get there by using A/B testing.

A/B testing will allow you to test different variables to see which brings the most success. For example, you might send one batch of emails at 11 am and another at 5 pm to see which has better open rates/click-throughs.

You might need to perform a few A/B tests before you find the sweet spot. And don’t forget that consumer habits do change, so don’t get locked into one specific time/day. If performance begins to dip, then mix it up. 

Make it Valuable 

Sending a marketing email at the right time will get your foot in the door, but it won’t do all the work. You’ll need to ensure that your recipients get something of value and interest once they actually open the email. While it’s important to figure out the best time to send your emails, remember that it’s what’s inside the email that will ultimately have the biggest impact. 

Check Out Your Competitors

Not sure where to start when it comes to selecting a time to send your marketing emails? Then consider doing some detective work. Sign up for emails from your competitors, and see when they’ve chosen to send their marketing materials. This approach is particularly recommended for new companies who don’t have the time or resources to conduct extensive research on their own. 

Monitor and Adjust

Work towards finding a sending strategy that gets results, and stick with it. You should aim to have an open rate of around 20 – 35%, so if you’re not hitting those figures, it’ll be time to play around and try a new approach. 

 

Golden Email Marketing Timing Tip: Choose The Right Minute

In this article, we’ve discussed email send times in absolutes — for instance, 11 am — but we’re only talking generally. Studies have shown that it’s better to avoid sending emails at round times (top of the hour, thirty minutes past, etc) because, well, that’s when everyone sends their emails. The influx of sending may cause emails to be delayed. If it makes it through on time, it’ll have to compete directly with other emails that were sent at those common times.

Instead, schedule your marketing emails for just before the hour (11:55 would be better than 12:00) or at random minutes — some marketers claim to have had success by sending their emails at non-logical times such as 11, 21, and 27 minutes past the hour. 

 

Remember: The Best Time to Send Email Marketing Matters

As we’ve seen, it’s not just the content of your marketing emails that’s important, but when it’s sent. In an age that’s more competitive than ever, it’s essential that brands don’t inadvertently hurt their chances of success by sending their emails at times when it’s less likely that the recipient will open them. 

Start with mid-morning or early afternoon emails, and monitor the performance. Eventually, you’ll find the time/day that works best for your business and for your customers. 

Hi, I’m Jena

I’m a website designer & digital strategist who helps small business owners grow their business online.

I absolutely love creating beautiful websites incorporating digital marketing strategy. I am based in Bunbury, Western Australia & work with clients all around the globe.  

Want some additional free resources to help you grow your business? Click the link below to explore: 

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