How many times have you spent hours on crafting the perfect email, only to have just a fraction of the recipients actually open it? Believe me – we know your frustration. Email marketing is an excellent way to promote content and products, even though sometimes it can be difficult to get people to view your emails. Combating this issue of low open rates, however, is not as difficult as it seems.
Changing the timing of your emails is a great way to increase click-through rates and drive traffic to your web page or blog in order you gain new followers and customer conversions. Today we will be going over the best time to send marketing emails in order to maximize traffic throughout the year.
Tuesday is Your New Favorite Day of the Week!
Okay, so maybe Friday is your actual favorite day of the week.
When it comes to sending marketing emails, however, a study from Hubspot found that business emails sent on Tuesdays had a 20% likelier chance of being opened in comparison to the average clicks for those sent on any other day. Monday and Wednesday weren’t terribly far behind- tying for a close second at 18%. Coming in last for the weekdays, Thursday and Friday came in at 15 and 8 percent, respectively.
You see the trend here - people gradually open their emails less and less as the week goes on, despite the difference not being major, with the three days in the middle of the week all having similar click rates.
We can’t say the same for the weekend, though – by the time Saturday and Sunday roll around the average daily open rate for marketing emails plummets drastically. The weekend is the worst time to send a marketing email: with Saturday and Sunday deviating from the average coming to a wholesome -107% and -82% respectively.
However, the difference between the days of the week, while statistically significant, isn't huge. The difference between sending an email on a Tuesday and sending an email on a Thursday probably won't make or break your campaign - but it can be a marginal difference, and we always want to boost our margins, right? Consider testing to find if different days work better for your specific audience.
So, What is the Best Time to Send Marketing Emails?
A 2019 study from GetResponse, an email marketing solution, found that the rates of opening emails was highest at 10 AM and 1 PM, with another after-work spike at 6 PM. These, in general, correspond to people getting to work and checking their mail in the morning, checking mail over lunch, and checking mail after they get home. Even as increasing numbers of businesses pursue remote work strategies (especially in the post-COVID era), this pattern still holds true.
But this data is for weekdays. What happens if your emails go out on a weekend? Looking back at HubSpot's data, If you choose to send an email on Sunday, it’s best to send it in the evening between 8 and 10 PM. On Sunday, emails sent at 9 PM have a 35% higher open rate than average. People are preparing for the work week. Makes sense, right?
These numbers are, largely, for people who work 9-to-5 jobs. If your audience is different, then you may want to tailor your send times to them as well. For example, say you're an ecommerce company that specializes in marketing to stay-at-home parents. The times of day to reach them might be different than the ideal time to reach someone working a 9-to-5.
By now you may be convinced that sending marketing emails on Tuesday between 10 AM and 12 PM is ideal, but an email’s content and audience are major factors contributing to drive traffic to your website.
So, What About Click-Through Rates?
You may have noticed one thing in the above image: Though there are troughs and spikes in the open rates, the click-through rate remains relatively steady all day. This, overall, is a good thing! It means that you don't need to take timing into account when worrying about who's clicking on links in your email, rather than who's opening it. If the content is good and the offerings relevant, people will click through to it, no matter what time of day or day of the week it is.
Your Audience Is Unique; Your Email Schedule Should Be Too
The problem in saying that there is a single optimized time to send your marketing email campaigns is that everybody can access the data. This means that there are a lot of emails going out between 10 AM and noon on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. An analysis by the Radicati Group indicates that on average, an average consumer gets nearly 120 emails every day.
No wonder people aren’t opening your email - it’s lost in a flood of others!
In an increasingly mobile world, off-hour emails stand out from the others. There may be less competition on the weekends, or late at night. This does not mean that you should all rush to schedule your emails on Saturday or at midnight, either. Your target audience is unique and deserves consideration and testing.
Are you selling computer parts or gaming peripherals? Your target audience might just be awake at 1 AM. If you’re selling protein drinks to health-conscious adults, perhaps not.
Consider a strategy that makes sense for your audience, rigorously A/B testing to decide what works best.
So, What about the Holidays?
When done strategically, the holidays can be the best time to send email blasts for sales and coupons. The drawback is that people receive a lot of them. Not only do you have to be strategic about the subject line and content, but timing is crucial to optimizing click-through rates as well.
The holidays are a bit of a wild card since they don't follow the typical timing rules we've laid out. Instead, the holidays follow their own schedule. Let us take the example of how email marketing is affected by a few of America’s major holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July.
ThanksgivingPeople tend to stop opening marketing emails on Thanksgiving Eve. This decline in open rate continues until the Monday after Thanksgiving Day, where click rates jump back to normal, spiking at 106%of the daily average on Wednesday. With this information in mind, it is best to wait to send marketing emails until the week after the holiday. As “Cyber Monday” grows as a shopping event, this trend will only continue.
ChristmasDuring the Christmas season, open rates drastically dip on December 22, a trend that follows through until after the start of the New Year. Due to the majority of people being preoccupied with their holiday and travel plans, click-through rates are at an all time high, with a decline of 42 percent on Christmas Eve and 72 percent on Christmas Day.
New YearsOpen rates remain low throughout the beginning of the new year. Between January 5 and January 8, engagement jumps by about 12 percent. Since people have a lot of email clutter to sort through once they start checking in again, the best time to send marketing emails is after the holiday craziness has winded down a bit. This way, you’re less likely to be lost at the bottom of the pile.
Memorial DayDuring the Memorial Day weekend, most people are on vacation and are unlikely to pay much attention to their inboxes. On Monday, open rate drops by about 32 percent. However, after the Tuesday immediately following the Memorial Day Weekend, the rest of the week boasts email engagement that is 19 percent above average.
Fourth of JulyPreceding the Fourth of July, open rates are at their highest on Thursday. This is most likely because people are preparing for the celebration and are thus more susceptible to view a marketing email, such as a promotional offer. However, this declines on the actual holiday as well as on in-lieu days (alternative days off if the holiday falls on a weekend).
Other HolidaysWhat about Veteran’s Day, Labor Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Presidents’ Day, et cetera? They don’t really see too much change from the norm. If the day comes with a school closure, there may be a slight dip on the day of as families take vacations, but otherwise, you can conduct business as usual.
Timing Is and Isn’t Everything
While adjusting the time that you send your marketing emails can help to improve open rates and increase engagement, the quality of your emails is most important in regards to driving traffic towards your website.
Remember earlier, when we said that the average consumer gets nearly 120 emails a day? I don’t know about you, but I get a little trigger-happy with the delete button after a while. In order to stand out amongst the crowd of competition, you need to work on the quality of your preview, body content, and subject line.
Try using words and phrases that convey urgency. For example, “Check out this can’t-miss sale” or “Last chance to save!” These types of words and phrases will likely increase the rate of engagement because people don’t want to miss out on an exclusive offer.
The layout of your emails is also an important factor, especially when it comes to mobile optimization. On a weekday around 11 AM, the best time for peak open rates, most people are out of the house. They may be at work or out running errands, but the point is this: They're not sitting at their computer. This means that most of these people will be viewing your emails from a mobile device. In fact, about 91 percent of people check their email from their smartphones at least once per day. If your email is not optimized for mobile viewing, you’re likely going to deter people from viewing it; they may even be inclined to unsubscribe since your emails are too difficult to read.
Changing the day and time that you send your marketing emails may significantly improve your open rates, though you’ll need to change your strategies when it comes to holidays since most people won’t be checking their accounts. Additionally, you still need to pay attention to the quality of your content in order to stand out and give viewers the best possible experience.
While it may take a bit of analysis on your part, finding the best time to send email blasts and marketing emails can help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. For more information on email marketing and other digital marketing practices, check out our blog page.