It’s a great question! Your subscribers have busy lives and the last thing you want is to send them your newsletter while they are preoccupied with work or dreaming about their weekend.
Ideally, you want your readers to have enough time and mental space to read your newsletter and click through to more content if that’s part of your strategy.
Does such a time exist when your readers are perfectly primed to receive and read your email?
And, if “the perfect time” does exist, wouldn’t everyone send their newsletter at that exact time (which would completely defeat the purpose)?
Ok, before we get too philosophical, let’s take a look at the current approaches and dive into our data to help you figure out this million dollar question.
Most people put themselves in the shoes of their subscribers to help them figure out the best day of the week to send. When you lack data, this is a perfectly logical approach. Close your eyes and think about the daily schedules and people’s mindsets throughout the week.
The week usually plays out like this:
People are super busy adjusting back to the work week and they prioritize work emails. Because of this emphasis on work, people think Monday is not a good day to send your newsletter.
Most people believe Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are good days as people are settled in their work routine and constantly checking their inboxes.
On Friday, everyone is dreaming about the weekend and rushing to finish their work so they can go offline. From my experience, Friday afternoon might be great timing, especially right after lunch. People usually don’t start new tasks and have time to read the inbox.
The weekend is tricky. Some cultures, like the French and Italians, rarely check their inbox when they don’t work. On the other hand, Sunday evenings might be an ideal time in America, as they tend to get ready for the work week that night. Also, people get fewer emails on weekends, so it could be easier for you to get their attention.
By logically going through the days of the week, you can make some guesses, but it’s still not completely clear when to send your emails.
We decided to go a step further and dive into our data compiled from millions of campaigns.
We love crunching the numbers, and we’re big believers in analyzing data from a human perspective. We analyzed millions of MailerLite campaigns to find some insights that we could pair with our real-world experience to see if there is, in fact, an ideal sending window.
Here are the results. We'll include our analysis below the charts.
Email marketers tend to send more newsletters on workdays. The interesting insight here is that open rates don't differ much throughout the week, especially in the US and Canada.
While Saturday has a lower send volume, it also looks like it's the worst day for opens. Friday may be the best option, especially if you have a global audience.
These graphs show the time of the day when people open their emails and click during each hour of the day. For Tuesdays and Fridays, the highest percentage of people open their emails at 11 AM, yet the highest amount of clicks occurs at 9 AM.
The high volume of clicks at 9 AM suggests that people select the emails they find most relevant or interesting first thing in the morning. They engage with certain emails and save the rest for later.
Surprisingly, Sunday at 9 AM is when people both open their emails and click through.
Finding the best day and time from the data might not be the only variable when thinking about sending your emails. Look at your campaign holistically to see if things like your marketing goals, messaging and target audience influence the best time to send your email.
Think about what you want your reader to do when they get the email. Read it? Click through and make a purchase? Or maybe reply?
Here are 3 types of goals that inform your sending times.
Do you want your readers' full attention where they click through for a longer experience? Consider sending your newsletters either on Friday afternoon, in the evenings or even on the weekend. It’s easier to capture attention when fewer or no emails are sent.
If you are happy with readers quickly scanning your newsletter just to keep your brand top of mind, send it anytime during the weekday so your subscribers can view and move on quickly. This is the time when people read emails methodically throughout the day but only react to the important ones.
Finally, if your goal is to remind people about an event or a webinar, send a follow-up email a day before the event and then resend it an hour before the event to make sure people remember it.
Different types of content are better sent at certain times of the day. The most obvious example is a news and media email. If there’s something newsworthy, you send it as soon as possible.
Newsletters promoting B2B services or products perform better during working hours when people are in the work mindset. Whereas a travel agency or an author can capture more attention if they send emails after work hours or on the weekend.
Think about the type of message you are sending and time it appropriately.
Did you know that the ‘best time to send an email’ data is based mostly on desktop users? Check which type of device your subscribers use to open your newsletters. Mobile users tend to be more active late in the evening and on the weekends.
Or, maybe your primary audience is not a 9-5 business person, but rather a remote worker, a stay-at-home mom or dad, or a retired worker. Use this to your advantage by understanding their email habits and sending them newsletters when they’re available to engage.
Once you’ve analyzed your data and determined a couple of key times to send your newsletters, take advantage of some of email marketing’s best-sending features. They’ll make your life much easier!
Here are 3 that you can start using today:
Most email opens happen within an hour of arrival. If your message is very important, use auto-resend to reengage your readers without lifting a finger. An email will resend automatically to everyone that didn’t open it the first time.
You can add a personal message to the second email to let people know it’s important. The goal is to make everyone feel like the second email was designed especially for them.
With MailerLite, you can check your Opens by Location to help you understand where your subscribers are located.
If your subscribers are located in different time zones, use Deliver by time zones to set your desired delivery time for every time zone. This way, some of your subscribers won’t receive an email at 3 AM. Each subscriber will see the email at the same time in their time zone.
In certain circumstances, you can use link triggers to send your subscribers emails at the perfect time. Instead of trying to figure out the best time to send an email to your entire email list, link triggers let your subscribers dictate when to send the email based on their actions.
You can place links in your content, emails or on your website that trigger an email to send automatically. When a subscriber clicks on the link, they activate an email that matches the topic your reader is into at that very moment.
While link triggers aren’t meant for every scenario like a weekly newsletter, they do work great when you want to deliver a specific message at the exact time your subscriber is thinking about a topic.
No matter what time you send your newsletter, a best practice is to keep it consistent.
We are all creatures of habit and subconsciously crave consistency. Send your emails on the same day every month, week or day. By keeping it consistent, you build trust and anticipation as your audience expects your content at a designated time.
For example, I look forward to Seth Godin’s email every day. I know that on Sunday, I’ll get Paul Jarvis’ thoughts and on Friday, I’ll get an email from Tim Ferriss. Not only do I love these newsletters, but there is a Pavlovian response to receiving these emails that brings me joy.
To tell you the truth, the sending time is a minor detail in the broader email marketing strategy. People open and read emails because of the content and the value you provide them.
If your deadline is coming up and you are not happy with your newsletter, wait until it's ready! It's way more important to deliver a quality experience than to make a specific sending date and time.
You want your readers to look out for your newsletters with excitement. When you can pull that off, the timing becomes less relevant.