What Is the Best Day to Send Emails?

Somewhere, in the world just on the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical day for sending emails. The messages sent to customers and prospects on that day get more responses and generate more revenue than any other email. There is only one problem for marketers—catching a leprechaun is easier than identifying that day

Somewhere, in the world just on the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical day for sending emails. The messages sent to customers and prospects on that day get more responses and generate more revenue than any other email. There is only one problem for marketers—catching a leprechaun is easier than identifying that day.

I know that finding that special day is important to marketers because they consistently ask me, “What is the best day to send emails?” For some consultants, this is a perfect segue into a sales pitch. Finding the best time to send emails is a project that can take months of testing. For me, the question is extremely challenging because I am not an “it depends” consultant. I am a teacher who happens to consult. Showing clients how to solve marketing problems is what I do best. My clients operate in continuous improvement mode. We work together to identify what works best and then dig deeper to improve on that.

The real answer to the question is this: The best day to send an email is the day that the recipient is most likely to act. This is not the answer people want to hear. They want a day of the week, not a response that generates more questions than answers:

  • How do we know when a person is ready to act?
  • What action should the recipient take?
  • Can’t you just tell us what our competition is doing?
  • Aren’t there best practices for choosing the day to send emails?
  • Why is this so hard?

If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it! Since it is and they don’t, doing it well gives your company a competitive edge.

How Do We Know When a Person Is Ready to Act?
People act when they have a need, real or perceived. Timing emails to match when people are most likely to act requires behavior analysis. Reviewing historical data to see what prospects and customers do before they buy gives insight into action patterns. Once the patterns have been identified, test copy and timing to find the most effective messages and delivery.

Well-crafted emails create perceived needs. Reading copy that speaks directly to the individual motivates even the toughest prospect to complete the next step. Invest in good copywriters and designers who can create messages that appeal to multiple senses. Timing becomes less important when the needs are clearly defined.

What Action Should the Recipient Take?
Most emails are blasted out to customers and prospects in hopes of generating some revenue. Products or coupons are posted in a gallery to be sent to everyone on the list. This shotgun approach gets sales so marketers keep doing it until subscribers die from email fatigue. The only actions for the recipient are to buy or not buy.

Buying action doesn’t create customer loyalty. A good email marketing strategy is designed to get people involved enough to be loyal. It includes actions like asking, learning and sharing. The ownership established by participating in a marketing program that include more than “click to buy” increases lifespan and lifetime value. Test emails that include call to actions beyond buying to see what works best for your business.

Can’t You Just Tell Us What Our Competition Is Doing?
Implementing a marketing strategy based on your competition’s activity is risky. What if your competitors aren’t testing to find the best methods? Ignoring your competitors’ activity is equally risky. What are they telling your customers and prospects? Monitor what your competitors are doing by subscribing to their emails, watching online reviews, and shopping their business (when being a secret shopper is feasible).

When people are ready to buy, email timing can determine who gets the sale. If your company is sending emails once a week and your competitors are sending them five times, then they are more likely to be in the front of the line when the buying decision is made. Find the right balance between what you know works and what your competitors are doing to keep your business in the forefront.

Aren’t There Best Practices for Choosing the Day to Send Emails?
There are always best practices. The top three have to work together to get the best results. They are:

  1. Analyze behavior to find the factors that move people into the sales funnel.
  2. Test different strategies to find the best message and delivery time.
  3. Monitor competitors for content and delivery to insure that your strategy is competitive.

In addition to monitoring specific companies, services like the Who’s Mailing What! email archive provide additional insight. Last month the email activity by day and industry was:

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

Total

Retail

15%

15%

15%

15%

18%

10%

12%

100%

B-to-B

17%

21%

20%

21%

17%

3%

2%

100%

Non-Profit Fundraising

15%

19%

13%

23%

23%

5%

3%

100%

Financial Services/ Investments

4%

9%

30%

4%

48%

0%

4%

100%

Travel

13%

21%

17%

21%

20%

6%

2%

100%

Insurance

24%

10%

19%

0%

48%

0%

0%

100%

Looking at this gives you an idea of when your customers and prospects are receiving competitive messages. You can use this information to create tests that will go head to head with the competition or you choose send times when the competition is less likely to be present.

The magical send day remains elusive, but hopefully this post helps you find the best strategy for your business. Investing the time and effort required to understand more about the things that make people buy from your business is guaranteed to deliver a good return. The more you know, the better you can serve and the less likely they will shop elsewhere.

9 thoughts on “What Is the Best Day to Send Emails?”

  1. I worked for a retailer that sent more than 1 billion emails a year. My POV is: "When the world zigs, zag." Don’t follow the crowd, avoid it.

  2. This was a good answer for this question – people used to give definitive days for the answer a few years ago, but the answer is very specific to one’s own customers and one’s industry and also on how long one’s customers keep an email in their inbox before acting on it.

  3. Surprising data on best days to send email in Insurance. Hint: It’s OPPOSITE what the other industries are reporting.

  4. To your point, while this is a moving target, the percentages you shared don’t look accurate. B2B are historically known to be highest on Tuesday, with a declining factor of x50 any day thereafter. So if you send 100k emails, then your CTR and Open will decline by 50% from Wednesday thereafter. Mandatory Mondays are in-office mtgs. or travel days- Targeted Tuesday, communications catch up or client sites, Wednesdays sales mtgs and pipleine and anything after that is funnel focus- so for B2B- target for Tuesday for your highest results.

  5. I’ve had our greatest success in biz correspondence (B2B) to Chiropractors (product sales) at 6:00 a.m. Saturday mornings… Our unscientific theory on this is that they go to the offices on Saturdays, but have a much lighter patient schedule, thus providing more free time to review e-mails.

  6. Thanks for the insight Debra, especially regarding how to answer the generic client question, "When is the best time to send emails…" It is all dependent on whether the campaign is for a prospect or existing customer, and if a current customer, how relevant is the message to them?

    For B2C companies I am connected with (or a customer), it doesn’t matter what day or time, I will read the entire email when I get a chance if it’s intriguing (NOT necessarily from my phone, but at my desktop). If I’m looking at my email inbox on my phone and see a prospecting email from a company I’m not engaged with, or have looked at previous emails that aren’t relevant, usually it goes to Trash.

    On the consumer side, from twelve companies I do regular business with (and email me daily), only 3 of those ‘make the cut’ for me to read when I get back to my desk or home office. Those three are the only one who are crafting their messages to my interests; the remainder is ‘junk’.

    In whatever channel (and hopefully it’s multi-channel/multi-touch), relevance is the key, not day-of-the-week or time-of-day. Using knowledge of customer/prospect information to elicit engagement is the key in direct/social/display marketing. Timing is important, but certainly not the at the same as level of relevance.

  7. Totally enjoyed the post especially the statement "buying action does not create customer loyalty"… could not have made it any simpler to understand. In fact I plan on sharing this with my spheres. Thanks Debra!

  8. Enjoyed your blog _ wanted to add a few more to consider

    1.Get to know your subscriber with an easy to access profile page. Ask them when and how often they would like to receive your messages: Monday? once a week, twice a week etc.
    2.Send email between the hours when the majority of your list members initially signed up to your list.
    3.Segment your list with the right demographics; pay attention to the different time zones: East Coast, West Coast, overseas?
    4.Plan to send when they most likely will be there-which may not be Friday afternoon.

  9. Very interesting piece. However, I think from a global perspective, marketers need to customise the schedule to the time / days applicable to a respective market. For instance,the work-week in some countries, especially the ME / Gulf runs Sunday to Thursday. Friday is not a business day. Hence, multinationals should consider the work week in any market.

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