What is the best time to send a B2B email? (Belkins’ study 2023)
Co-founder and CEO of Belkins. Vlad’s an expert in the areas of culture transformation and leadership development, B2B sales, and marketing.
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Recently, we have made an in-depth analysis of 11 million emails sent by our customers across 90+ industries from 2021 to 2023 to better understand their performance.
When running cold outreach, it may seem that you do everything right from the very start. However, without testing and evaluating the metrics, such factor as time sent can significantly hinder the results.
Based on our research, we’ll cover the optimal time for sending emails to your prospects in terms of the hour of the day, day of the week, and month. This may be your baseline for effective cold email campaigns.
The best day of the week to send outreach emails is Wednesday, with the highest reply rate (7.2%) and open rate (37%).
Mondays have the lowest open rates (<35%) and reply rates (6.5%).
Open rates peak at roughly 41% in the afternoon, between 12 PM and 4 PM.
Reply rates are highest in the morning, between 7 AM and 11 AM.
What is the best day of the week to send a cold email?
Our study demonstrates that the best days of the week to send outreach emails are Wednesday and Thursday. These days have the highest reply rates (Wednesday — 7.2%, Thursday — 7.1%) of all the working days.
In terms of open rates, Wednesday is marginally behind Tuesday (Wednesday's 37% vs. Tuesday’s 37.2%).
“The statistics shared in this article are pretty accurate,” said Antonio Gabric, outreach manager at Hunter.io. He adds:
Mondays are the worst for sending emails. People open emails, but response rates are lower than on other days. If you want to send emails on Monday, create a value-adding follow-up sequence. We usually don’t prospect and prepare campaigns on Monday. The biggest reason is that companies have meetings and weekly planning sessions, so they have limited focus on answering emails.
What is the most ineffective day to send an email?
Firstly, it is worth noting that this research doesn’t encompass weekends. As you can see, Mondays have the lowest open rates (<35%) and reply rates (6.5%).
In terms of responses, Fridays are equivalent, showing the lowest reply rates — 6.5%.
This looks great and definitely aligned on the days. Mondays are usually people's busiest days as they return to work, as well as a common day off when people extend PTO past the weekend. Fridays are a great day to cold call and book a meeting as people are usually more available with fewer meetings, and happier going into the weekend. Emails, however, don’t do well for us on Fridays as pointed out in the article.
As you can see, we didn’t encompass Saturdays and Sundays in this research since these days are mostly ineffective. Michael Maximoff, co-founder and managing partner at Belkins, shared his thoughts:
As a rule, we don’t send emails on weekends. However, Sunday evening (after 6 PM) is a time when some executives check inboxes and schedule their calendars. Thus, you can try to reach out to them at that time. From our experience at Belkins I can say that sometimes we got responses.
Maryna Nikitchuk, sales development director at AppsFlyer, also supported the opinion in terms of emails effectiveness sent on Sundays:
Sometimes we experiment with emails sent on Sundays since some people check their inboxes on Sundays when they start to prepare for their working week. As for Fridays, we do not tend to be active on this day because, for some countries, this day is used to be a day off.
What time of the day has the highest open and response rates?
As our study shows, cold outreach emails are most likely to be opened if sent between 12 PM and 4 PM. That’s when open rates peak at roughly 41%.
According to our findings, reply rates are highest in the morning, between 7 AM and 11 AM. People may be more likely to open your email in the afternoon, but replies are more common during the morning hours when its rates reach over 7%.
Note: The success of your email outreach cannot be solely determined by its open rates. It's important to remember that prospects have the ability to simply open and delete your emails without engaging with them further. That’s why it’s essential to create a resonating email copy tailored to their pain points and needs.
Often sales reps do not follow up regularly due to the fear of being rejected. Donald C Kelly, the founder of Sales Evangelist, says that a very important factor is to follow up at the right times.
Often BDRs tend to wait too long because they don’t want to bother the prospect. And sometimes they have increased frequency when sending something every couple of days. The best time we’ve seen to increase the reply rates is not only following up at the right time but following up with a multichannel approach. It means sending a text message or a phone call, or engaging on the content on LinkedIn, or speaking back to the emails, or trying to book an appointment. Those touches with your prospects on multi-channels allow you to stand out.
What months of the year have the highest open and reply rates?
According to our study findings, the results vary when it goes to the best-performing months to send emails. Reply rates don’t shift significantly throughout the year, it’s in the months of April through June that indicators are the highest, floating above 7%.
As for open rates, cold outreach emails’ peak is in January and November (38%).
Cold B2B emails have the highest rate of opens right at the beginning of the year and just before the year’s end, with dips in the summer and the month of December.
The study above includes cold email stats that were derived from Belkins proprietary data on emails sent on behalf of our customers from over 90 industries. Therefore, use this information adapting it to the industry, demographic, and business specifics of your prospects.
All figures and stats, unless otherwise stated, were derived from Belkins’ proprietary data on over 11 million emails sent by our customers from 2021 through 2023.
The reply rate was calculated as the number of unique recipients who responded to the outreach email, divided by the number of unique recipients contacted in a given industry, country, job function, etc.
The number of contacts per organization was estimated as the number of unique email addresses on the same email server domain (e.g., @example.com), excluding generic domains like @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, and the like.
To estimate open and reply rates by the hour of the day, UTC times of email delivery were converted to local time using the time zones corresponding to the city and country of the email recipients. Cities and their respective time zones were collated from the Geonames database of cities with over 15,000 people.
Hours of the day, days of the week, and months of the year when either open rates or reply rates were the highest were considered the “best times” to send B2B cold emails.
Open rates and reply rates for job titles were estimated based on the total number of unique contacts, email opens, and email replies, where the recipient's job title matched a variation of a given job title (e.g., CEO, Chief Executive Officer, Founder & CEO). All job titles were taken from the Job Title field in Reply.io’s data.
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Vlad’s an expert in the areas of culture transformation and leadership development, B2B sales, and marketing. He spent more than 10 years building technology products, has a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.