When is The Best Time to Send a Marketing Email?
Learn how to identify the best times to send out an email for more effective marketing campaigns.
Picture this: you spend hours analyzing customer data and fine-tuning your copy to create an email marketing campaign that converts. But you don't put thought into when those emails should go out, and as you measure the results, the numbers fall short of what was projected.
The timing of your marketing emails is vital to the success of your campaign. If you send them at the wrong time, you risk even your best emails getting lost in customers' inboxes or the mire of the Gmail promotions folder.
Don't let all the resources you put into planning your email campaigns go to waste. Use customer data to decipher the best time to send marketing emails to get the highest return on your investment.
What is a marketing email?
A marketing email is an email you send to a list of subscribers your company has built up over the years to promote your products and services. Marketing emails typically contain information about those products or services in the form of images and text. Depending on the campaign objectives, they may also include discounts, announce flash sales, or cross-sell and upsell your products.
These emails feature a call-to-action (CTA) button that encourages the reader to take a specific action, such as visiting a product page on your website or downloading a content asset.
Deciding when to send marketing emails
You can't just send your email at any time and expect a great open rate and high conversions, even if you do have an amazing subject line.
The perfect time you need to send your emails is influenced by a variety of factors, including whether it's the middle of the week or early on a weekday morning. If you cater to an international audience, you need to consider their schedules. Even in the United States alone, you need to factor in different time zones across the country.
Know your audience’s behavior and demographics
It's important to know your audience's behavioral history and demographics, because these variables will influence everything from their daily schedules to the email content they would be most interested in. For example, you might want to personalize email campaigns based on:
The customer’s location
Their job title
The industry they’re in (e.g., B2B, B2C, retail, healthcare, etc.)
Their engagement rates
By segmenting your audience based on these actions or characteristics, you can fine tune your email sends to make sure you’re not only sending relevant content, but that it’s reaching people at the right time. (Let’s get more into the importance of timing below.)
Factor in the time zones of your recipients
The time of the day you send an email isn't everything, but it is important. If you send emails at a time when your audience is asleep, they might miss them. An email that goes out at 10 AM Pacific Standard Time might not reach your audience in California if they're busy working.
Say you want your email to hit your audience's inbox on their lunch break. Segment your audience based on the time zones they're in and automate each batch of emails to be sent once it's 1 PM in each individual segment's state or country.
Be mindful of holidays
It’s important to consider the times that your audience might not be interested in the emails they receive, like a major holiday. An American audience might be busy on the Monday of Memorial Day weekend, while a U.K. audience could be offline on December 26th for Boxing Day.
It's natural to want to send emails around the holidays about Black Friday sales or post-Christmas discounts. Just make sure to schedule send times so that emails arrive before the actual holidays, so you have a better chance of reaching your target audience.
Give readers time to take action
When you're planning an email marketing campaign, decide on a timeframe you'll give people to take action before measuring the results of the campaign. If you immediately set out to measure the results 24 or 12 hours after a campaign goes live, that might not be enough leeway to get accurate results. People are busy and need time to actually open their emails, scroll through, and go to your site to make a purchase—or take whatever action your CTA incites.
Best times to send marketing emails
No matter the demographic, the best time to send a marketing email is when your audience is online and ready to engage with your message. The time you send an email will vary based on the type of customer and their location.
In a recent survey, HubSpot talked to 300 marketers and found their best engagement rates were during 9 AM to 12 PM and 12 PM to 3 PM. HubSpot also asked those marketers what the best days were to send email— 22.6% responded Monday, 24.9% said Tuesday, and 21.3% saw the best results on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a survey from Omnisend found that Tuesday had the highest open rate of 11.36%, while Fridays saw the highest clickthrough rate (CTR) at 13.58% and had the best conversion rate at 5.74%.
This data is a helpful starting point, but you need to look at these survey results as just that—a starting point. Instead of adhering to these benchmarks right off the bat, remember that your best source is ultimately the metrics you get directly from your customer base. Do you get higher open rates midweek during afternoon hours? Or do you see a low conversion rate on Saturday afternoons? Look at your data and perform A/B testing to determine the best day of the week or the best time of day to send messages to your email subscribers.
Worst times to send marketing emails
The worst days and times to schedule emails also depend on your audience and the individual segments within that audience.
Omnisend's survey indicated that Saturdays had the lowest conversion rates and lowest open rates. Holidays are also not a great time to send emails as people are usually away from their computers and spending time with family and friends.
Scheduling follow-up marketing emails
Follow-up marketing emails should be sent based on a customer's activity and can be automated, or triggered when the customer takes a certain action. So if a customer signs up on your website to receive your email newsletter or product updates, that automated email goes out once they submit the form.
There are other types of emails you should send as a follow-up. You'll want to set up a post-purchase follow-up email to go out whenever a customer buys something, usually no later than 24 hours after they click that checkout button. If you want to follow up with customers who've become inactive, send re-engagement emails at a certain point. Some companies wait three months before sending, while others will wait six months. Again, the optimal time to do so comes down to your customer data.
The best timing requires the best data
When you have accurate customer data, you can establish the best timing for your marketing emails. Twilio Engage's platform provides a single customer view based on all past interactions with your brand, so you historically know when they're active, awake, and more likely to engage with you.
Interested in hearing more about how Segment can help you?
Connect with a Segment expert who can share more about what Segment can do for you.