What Are the Best Times to Send Emails in Your Marketing Funnel? (A Data-Driven Answer)
Have you ever worried you’re sending emails too frequently? Or that you’re going to burn out your email list?
It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds.
A few months ago, I got an email from John Miles. He’s a student of our 6-Figure Sales Funnel training program. He wanted a more exact answer to this question:
“The question I think is most difficult to answer is, what are the best intervals to send emails at? I know everyone has different opinions, but is there any good research out there about email timing? I’ve always found that hard to nail down.”
In this blog post, we’re going to pull data from sending hundreds of thousands of emails to give you the definitive answer to John’s (and maybe your own) question.
We’ll also share research from credible third parties who have extensively tested sending emails at different intervals.
You can also expect to learn:
- The days to avoid sending emails
- The preferred days and times for better open and click-through rates
- How to avoid sending emails too often and burning out your list
Let’s get to it.
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On Which Days Should You Avoid Sending Emails?
Before we get into all the data, you should know that the days you send emails are subjective, depending on your goal.
For instance, here at AutoGrow, we try to get people to open our emails and click through to our website to boost traffic. This is especially true for our weekly newsletters.
You might have a different goal.
If you’re writing a 350-word email, you may just want people to open it and consume it, rather than click through. So the click-through rate might not matter in that case.
Again, it’s all subjective.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s dig into the data.
In our experience, I can say with certainty that Fridays are not good days to send out emails. The click-through rate and open rate tends to decrease.
People are more checked out. They’re getting ready for the weekend and not thinking about work.
For that same reason, Saturdays aren’t great, either. Lots of studies support that.
Here’s some data from Customer.io, an automated messaging service. They cited research from Experian from 2013 that shows how open rates and click-through rates take a sharp dip on Fridays and Saturdays, only to rebound slightly on Sundays.
A 2014 post from MailChimp produced a similar graph.
Now, it’s worth noting that the data in both articles is several years old.
More recent data (from March 2017) from SEOPressor, a WordPress SEO plugin, tells a somewhat different story.
Now, one of the sources that said click-through rates were higher on weekends in the above link was Customer.io! We just cited them above saying the opposite, so clearly between 2013 and 2017, they changed their tune.
SEOPressor does say that click-through rates and open rates on weekend emails varies, though. It just depends on your audience, so you’ll have to do some testing.
Which Days Should You Send Emails Instead?
From our own internal data, we’ve found that for AutoGrow, when we’ve sent emails on Wednesdays or Thursdays, we’ve gotten a lower click-through rate.
Now, we could be the exception to the rule, because most experts agree that Tuesday through Thursday are the ideal days to send emails.
SEOPressor, who we cited above, compiled data across 10 studies, including WordStream and MailChimp. Each of those studies agreed that Tuesdays tended to have the best open rates.
Indeed, OptinMonster wrote an article about WordStream’s findings. The data supports that Tuesday has the second-best click rate at 2.1% to 2.5%.
Which day was found to have higher click rates in this data? Sundays! On that day, the click rate could be as high as 2.2% to 2.6%. This data is also semi-recent, from 2016.
Take a look at OptinMonster’s graph supporting this data below.
CoSchedule agrees on sending emails between Tuesday and Thursday. They say Tuesday is the best choice between the three.
Finally, there’s an infographic from Entrepreneur that also supports Tuesday as the best day to send emails. Here’s a piece of that infographic:
Entrepreneur’s infographic also helpfully broke down which days most professionals would be most receptive to your emails, including those in B2B and B2C industries.
When you think about it, Tuesdays do make sense. That day is bordering on the middle of the week. By now, a person is over the Monday feeling and focusing on their workweek.
It’s not close enough to Friday that they’ve mentally checked out yet, though. It’s the perfect in-between time.
At Which Times of Day Should You Send Emails?
Now that you know the best day to send emails, what times should you contact your email list?
In the past, we’ve sent emails as late at 12 p.m. and even 2 p.m. I don’t necessarily advocate for sending emails at noon, because that’s lunch hour. You run into the same issue you would if you were to send emails close to the weekend — people are checked out.
Today, we send our emails at 6 a.m. That’s one of the most recommended times according to CoSchedule. They cite research that states that many people (50%) will write and respond to emails while they’re still in bed waking up for the day.
Here are the other three times CoSchedule says are best:
- 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., as most people will be in the office and more receptive to your emails.
- 2 p.m., as most people have returned from lunch by now. They are also often counting down the hours until they can go home, and the distraction that is your email could be just what they need.
- 8 p.m. to midnight, which is when people are home and getting ready to go to sleep. Lots of people are on their phones right before bed, so your email might get opened at night, too.
SEOPressor’s stats mesh with the data from CoSchedule. They state that 6 a.m. is the best time for sending emails. Here are some other times you can choose.
As the Entrepreneur infographic showed, Tuesdays at 10 a.m. were the most ideal time, according to their research.
Lastly, data from MailChimp in 2014 agrees with the times listed above.
How to Avoid Burning Out Your Email List
We see dramatically higher open and click-through rates in our survey funnel and evergreen funnel. I think that’s because of relevance.
There’s something known as the Law of Alignment. We’ve written about this in the past, but here’s a recap:
Your funnel will convert to the level that the offer aligns with the person evaluating the offer.
I’ve been talking about the Law of Alignment for years now, starting with a guest post I wrote on Kissmetrics.
So when we send out a newsletter about growing traffic, we’ll get about a 12% to 13% open rate and a 1% click-through rate.
With the survey funnel emails, though, open rates increase to 20% to 50% and have a click-through rate of 5% to 10%.
Again, it comes back to the Law of Alignment. Even though we’re emailing every other weekday, since we’ve set the expectation that we’re going to send our customers relevant content, they see the subject line and open our emails.
Of course, it’s easy to burn your audience out, too.
Just look at some of our internal data. As you know, we recently released daily Matt Hack videos, which are 5-10 minute videos about building your funnel and marketing prowess.
These videos were sent out four times a week: on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays, we’d publish our weekly in-depth blog resource, like this one.
That meant we were emailing our audience all five days of the week.
It didn’t work to our advantage, as you can probably imagine.
From December 2017 to January 2018, our average click-through rate for emails was 1.53%. From January 28th through March 23rd, when Matt Hacks were implemented, click-through rates dropped to 1.44%.
That’s not a significant decrease, of course, but it’s enough that we’ve shelved the Matt Hacks for the time being.
Also, across every autoresponder we’ve had, our open and click-through rate has steadily gone down over time, regardless of subject.
I’ve seen data from MailChimp that says that after about 30 days, the average engagement of email subscribers tends to drop off.
So how do you avoid burning out your own audience like we accidentally did with ours?
You should send emails at least weekly, but daily might be a little much.
Again, this varies depending on your industry and your audience. Maybe your audience wants to hear from you more often. If your open rate or click-through rate starts to suffer, though, it might be time to reevaluate how often you send emails and whether it’s necessary.
Some of the data that we personally recommend may not mesh with the research we’ve presented. We’re in our market, but not all markets, so of course there are some fluctuations.
That said, according to the research gathered above, the best times to send emails seem to be between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays. It’s best to avoid sending emails at lunchtime and on weekends because engagement is naturally lower.
Everyone wants a higher open and click-through rate for their emails. Before you do a major newsletter overhaul, though, experiment with your data a bit.
Try sending on Tuesdays at 6 a.m., for a few weeks, and then maybe on another day/time to see how it affects your open and click-through rates.
- Various studies found that the best times to send email were on Tuesdays at 6 a.m., 10 a.m., or 11 a.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and even Sundays.
- You can even send emails later in the afternoon (at 2 p.m.) or at night (between 8 p.m. and midnight) if you missed the morning rush or want to send a second batch of emails.
- Open rates and click-through rates are generally lower on Fridays and Saturdays, as many people are engaged in weekend plans and less likely to check their email.
- Email burnout is definitely something to consider. When we were sending four additional emails a week to promote our Matt Hacks series, click-through rates decreased.
Are you already sending emails on these recommended days and times?
If not, do you plan to start after reading this article?
Let me know in the comments.
Keep Hustlin’, Stay Focused,