David Kirkpatrick

Email Marketing: What is the best day to send an email?

For this MarketingSherpa Blog post, I thought I would examine some email research. This chart from the MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report focuses on the effectiveness of sending emails on different days of the week:

 

 

Looking at the results of this survey, you can see a wide range of effectiveness, along with a few clear patterns. Tuesday and Wednesday look pretty good, but Sunday looks to be the least effective.

What’s left off of this highly aggregated data is the fact there is no “best” day – or time of day – to send emails that works across the board for all email marketers.

The reality? Testing your email sends is paramount to effective email marketing. What might work for one industry, or business category, or maybe even your direct competitor might not – no, make that probably won’t – work for you.

Your email list is unique to your business (unless you’ve bought the entire list, and if so, shame on you). Only by testing your sends and tracking open rates, clickthroughs and other engagement metrics will you learn what works best for your list.

For example, when I was interviewing for a MarketingSherpa case study, I spoke with a marketing team leader about a campaign that targeted very high level IT people at the target companies – think C-suite, vice president and or executive vice president levels.

To reach this audience, the team extensively tested its email sends before launching the campaign, segmenting to various job titles in the company’s database.

The team found that the highest level job title segment had the highest open rate, by a pretty wide margin, at Sunday morning between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? If this team took our chart as their only guideline instead of testing their list and learning what really worked, those executives would have probably never seen those email sends. The team would have completely missed what turned out to be a golden two-hour window into the campaign’s target audience.

The lesson here is it never hurts to check out research on email timing. Those results can provide a great starting point when you begin a testing and optimization cycle on your email program. But nothing beats testing your list, learning something and then testing your list again – and again.

Your email subscriber list really is a unique snowflake and ought to be treated as such with email send times, content and calls-to-action tailored specifically to your audience.

 

You might also like

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015

Infographic: Email open rates by time of day [More from the blogs]

Email Relevance: 8 tactics for leveraging timing, segmentation and content [How-to article]

Marketing Research Chart: Which day is best to send emails? [Marketing Research Chart of the Week]

Email Marketing: Learn from 3 A/B test results to set a firm foundation for your next campaign [More from the blogs]

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Email Marketing



  1. August 12th, 2014 at 18:44 | #1

    Your email list is unique to your business (unless you’ve bought the entire list, and if so, shame on you). :)

    Keyword here: Research. Do the hard stuff and learn to like it. It’s about the readers and learning how they tick. It’s what separates the little boys from the men. Extensive research.

    My experience: The weekdays do better at 10am or 3 pm.

    Good post.

  2. August 13th, 2014 at 09:12 | #2

    A must-share – thanks, David!

  3. August 14th, 2014 at 06:35 | #3

    Interesting post David and couldn’t agree more about testing. Benchmarks give those without data a starting point, but list and segments within those list must be tested for day and time of day responses.

    I am sure that “Effectiveness” is defined in the MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report , but for context for this post, is effectiveness defined as delivered, opened, clicks, conversions or some combination of these?

    Thanks!

  4. August 14th, 2014 at 12:17 | #4

    Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Rick, in this survey the definition of “effectiveness” was left up to the survey respondent. Essentially it was whatever metric, or group of metrics, their team used to determine email effectiveness.

    And, as you listed in your comment, a few those metrics run from deliverability through open rate, clickthrough and conversion; and possibly even proprietary metrics based on combined scores across the basic email data points.

  5. Jill
    August 18th, 2014 at 10:18 | #5

    Is this specific to B2B?

  6. mk
    August 20th, 2014 at 23:56 | #6

    I try Friday, and for calls. Everyone else does it midweek so whats the difference?

  7. Erin Hogg
    Erin Hogg
    August 21st, 2014 at 07:18 | #7

    Hi Jill!

    Thanks for commenting. This chart in particular is an aggregate of B2C and B2B/B2G marketers’ responses. In chart 4.3 in the Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we segmented out B2B marketers, and found that the most effective day was Tuesday (at 28% of marketers saying that was most effective) and then Wednesday was second-most effective (at 25%). The least effective was Saturday and Sunday, with more than 50% of respondents indicating those days were the least effective. I hope this helps you in your efforts, thanks for reading!

    -Erin Hogg
    Reporter
    MarketingSherpa

  8. August 21st, 2014 at 07:46 | #8

    Jill,

    And I would add, even though the example I used in this post was a B2B marketer, the main takeaway — that testing and optimizing your list for the best times and days of the week to send email — applies to any email marketer, consumer marketer or B2B marketer.

    It is harder than just checking out research (ours or any other organizations) or reading about what worked for another marketer, but the improved email campaign performance should be worth the effort of undertaking testing and optimization.

  9. August 21st, 2014 at 07:54 | #9

    mk,

    I’d say if it’s working for you, that’s a great way to approach both channels. Of course it never hurts to try different days (either formally testing or just an informal, “this seems to work better than that”) to make sure you’re maximizing your time and effort on the email, and especially the teleprospecting.

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