The Best Time To Send Email Campaigns (That Actually Get Opened)

No matter how much pizzazz you put into your email campaigns, you might find it’s doing little to improve your open rates. Truth is, if you’re not nailing down your subscribers optimal time, expect your results to remain lousy. Using data from today’s go-to email delivery services, we’ve put together some guidelines that’ll help you take control of your email list’s potential.

Content is king.

Let’s take a hot second to talk through the content you’re sending in your emails. More specifically, how you should tackle content that’s meant to educate versus content that’s a call-to-action. Research from Customer.io suggests that your email’s messaging should influence which day to send. If your email is educating—whether that be a new blog post or some type of organizational news—you should schedule the email to go out earlier in the week. If your email is meant to create a call-to-action and you want to increase your click-through rate, you should consider hitting “send” later in the week to drive conversions.

Nailing down a day.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are regarded as the golden days for sending out campaigns, and there’s strong evidence supporting the idea. In 2014, MailChimp collected data that supported the Tuesday/Thursday theory, showing the highest open rates falling on those two days. However, if you look closely at the percentages of the open rates, pay attention to other weekdays like Monday and Wednesday. The daily open rates for all of the weekdays vary by only 1% to 3%. It just goes to show you that typically the most emails get sent and opened on Tuesday/Thursday. If you’ve sent campaigns on other days and gotten a healthy response, you might be onto something. Remember: These are guidelines. No list is going interact the same.

Courtesy of Mailchimp

Courtesy of Mailchimp

60 minutes. That’s all you get.

Although time of day might not seem important, timing can be the difference between your subscribers interacting or ignoring you. Research from GetResponse found that emails have the best results within an hour of delivery. As that email sits in a subscriber’s inbox, the chances of it getting read start to dwindle, with the average open rate falling close to zero 24 hours after the campaign’s delivery. MailChimp’s data notes 10AM as the primo send-off time, while Experian sees 8PM to 12AM as the window for the highest open rate. The takeaway? There isn’t a magic time when people decide to flock to their email inbox, so getting this one right is going to take some more leg work on your part. Best way to find your answers: A/B Testing.

Courtesy of Customer.io

Courtesy of Customer.io

Know your list.

As much as you may dislike the idea, A/B Testing it is the most effective way to get results from your email lists. (If you’re looking for a beginners approach to A/B testing, check out this graphic from CoSchedule with an outline of how to send your next 12 emails.) Use what you know already to get your testing off on the right foot. If your subscribers are in their forties, expect them to engage more in the morning when they’re starting their day. If your subscribers are college students, push out your messages further into the afternoon between noon and 2PM when they’re shuffling between classes.

Courtesy of Mailchimp

Courtesy of Mailchimp

Depending on your business, your subscribers might be centralized in a specific occupation. Knowing the day-to-day of that job (like the example of Bartenders and Neonatal Nurses below) could be the difference between you getting an open or not.

Courtesy of Mailchimp

Courtesy of Mailchimp

Get results.

So, to recap:
1.) Tuesdays and Thursdays are still the most popular.
2.) Time of day is very list specific.
3.) You need to get excited about A/B Testing, using your prior knowledge of who your target audience is to get you started.

With these insights, you’re ready to start making your email list work for you to cultivate more opens, more engagement, and more leads. Love the idea of creating an email marketing campaign but don’t know where to start? Let’s talk.

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