It’s probably the most frequently asked question on email marketing – “What time should I send out my newsletters?”
Sadly, there is no single right answer – every business is different. So the only way to find what works best for you is to test sending emails at different times and compare the open, click and response rates.
However when you are starting out, you can use common sense to make some best guesses.
First, consider your audience, who are they and when are they most likely to be receptive to your emails.
For business subscribers:
Send your emails during working hours.
Avoid first thing in the morning, especially Monday. Inboxes will be full and it’s easy for your email to get lost in the crowd.
Late afternoon is probably best avoided too – if it gets missed that day, it will be bottom of the pile in the morning.
Friday afternoon is usually ineffective – people are either rushing to get done before the weekend or have already left to beat the rush hour traffic/go down the pub.
This is where it gets trickier as some people use work email addresses, others will be able to check personal emails during the day and there will be some who only check in the evenings.
If you send during the working day, try late morning – many will use their lunch break to check emails and do a bit of web surfing.
Late afternoon can also work.
My recommendation would be to start by sending Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday late morning (for both business and consumer). Once you have some results and have built up a significant number of subscribers, you can move on to testing.
Ideally, your email marketing software will allow you to easily set up a split test (sometimes called an A/B test) on delivery date/time. You just tell it the dates/times you want to compare and it randomly splits your list.
When testing, it’s important not to introduce too many variables. So don’t test your subject lines at the same time as your timings, and use separate tests for day of week and time of day.
Decide which factor you want to use to determine the winner – is it open rate, click rate or sales? You may find that one time works well for casual browsers but a different time is best for actual purchases.
If you have a large subscriber list with several thousand emails, then it’s worthwhile carrying out more sophisticated tests. But for the small business with a few hundred or thousand subscribers, results may not be statistically significant, so stick to the basics.