Timing is everything. There is the best time for falling asleep, the best time for hitting the gym, the best time for drinking coffee — and the best time for sending emails. However, quite a few senders don't know about that. Being familiar with the limits defined by email laws and regulations, they believe there is no difference between Monday and Thursday, 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. when it comes to deciding when and how their recipients should get their email messages.
However, there is a difference that is very relevant to your open rate and response rate. If you’re reading this, you have probably been thinking about that difference and how to make it work for you. That means you’re ready to start scheduling your emails.
So, let’s explore the processes behind deliverable emails and proper time management.
Why do you need to schedule emails?
Why do we need a working schedule? Why is our week segmented into working days and weekends?
We structure our time and split it into sections to manage our productivity. There is a time for being active, a time for creating and turning plans into actions, and a time for catching our breath.
The same thing can be said about emails. Sometimes, your sales templates make your conversion rate skyrocket. Sometimes, the same templates barely bring any responses or clients. Sending emails chaotically is not the way to go if you want stable results every day, every week.
It’s all about time management. Time management allows you to control your workflow better and squeeze precious opportunities out of every minute of your day, without overexerting neither yourself nor your employees.
How do you schedule emails?
The concept of the best time for sending emails depends on a lot of variables. Let's go through these variables, one by one.
Variable #1 — Vertical
The way your target audience lives and works should be the first thing to consider when figuring out the best time for sending emails. Therefore, industry research is a must. We never start our work without building an ideal customer profile that answers the following questions:
- How old are your prospects?
- How long is their working day?
- Do they work overtime?
- How often do they check their email per day?
Mind that this is the part that depends on you and you alone. You can ask experts to assist you with inbox analysis, anti-spam measures, and consultation on writing good B2B sales templates. However, when it comes to finding out your vertical’s place in all of this, you should gather as many insights as possible. This will be of great help to you and any B2B consultant that you will be working with. Once you are confident about your niche's preferences, your first pillar is complete. Basically, it’s a structure-bearing element that will ultimately define your schedule and your approach to timing your email messages.
However, we will get back to that later.
Variable #2 — Day of the week
Choosing the best day for sending emails has always been tricky. Many marketers debate this subject, and every new report shows different data and offers different tips. Mentioning all of them here would probably cause a temporal anomaly due to the abundance of the controversial information. Since we don’t want you to be engulfed by a sudden black hole, we will outline the most basic facts about each business day.
True, Monday is the start of a business week, so it is supposed to be the most productive day for sending emails. However, that’s not only your opinion — thousands of spammers think the same, so each Monday business owners are greeted with spam-infested inboxes. Does that mean they don’t read their mail at all?
No, they do, but they do it with a lot more bias. Even if they won’t delete your Monday email, they certainly won’t read it. Also, if you decide to send your emails early Monday morning, you will basically sentence them to deletion.
As Experian data has shown, the Monday emails are less profitable than Sunday and Saturday emails. However, according to SurveyMonkey, Monday emails that include inquiries and polls show better results than plain B2B sales templates. SurveyMonkey was able to make that conclusion after analyzing over 100,000 polls mailed throughout the week, so we think it’s some food for thought.
So if you decide to include Monday in your email schedule, tread with caution. It may be a good day for your industry and your decision makers, but the only way to know for sure requires running an analysis of your audience and your emails.
The insane productivity of Tuesday is backed up by data from the main email marketing web-sources: MailChimp and GetResponse.
They have done a lot of research-based on billions of emails and cases, so their insights are an absolute must for building a successful schedule. According to their research, Tuesday emails get the highest open rate (from 19,9%). That makes Tuesday a good day for sending introduction emails for lead generation. However, you should be careful because lots of service vendors are aware of the productivity of Tuesdays. Your competitors send their emails on Tuesdays as well, so make sure your value proposition and subject lines are more compelling than anything your competitors can offer.
A golden middle, Wednesday can bring you up to a 20,6% open rate. The HubSpot Report placed Wednesday third after Tuesday and Thursday in terms of the productivity of emails. Due to this, we can say that while Wednesday is not a go-to day for sending introduction emails, it’s a good day for reminding your subscribers about yourself and sending marketing materials.
If you are looking for a killer combo, Tuesday and Thursday are your pals. Reported by HubSpot, MailChimp, and GetResponse, Thursday shows a higher open rate and click-through rate, making it the best day for follow-ups to the emails sent on Tuesday.
Lots of marketers argue about the benefits of sending emails on Fridays. On the one hand, reaching out to your prospects at the end of the business week and giving them a weekend to think about your message sounds good — at least in theory.
In reality, they won’t be thinking about your offer at all. If you decide to contact your prospects on Friday, you will have to remind them about yourself the following week. On the other hand, research by Retention Science has shown that emails sent on Friday showed up to 26% conversion rate, missing Tuesday emails by 2%.
So where’s the truth?
From the perspective of psychology, Friday is indeed the day when your audience is mentally getting ready for the weekend, so they initiate the R&R mode by the evening. At that point, the information starvation kicks in. This means that while they’re not in the mood to think about deals and face-to-face meetings, they would eagerly read any informative content you send them. Therefore, you can weaponize Friday as your best day for sending free tutorials, guides, and articles to your prospects.
Of course, there are exceptions that are explained by the specifics of your industry. However, this is something to be explored by you and your team.
Saturday and Sunday
Many researchers believe that sending emails on Saturday or Sunday is rather NO than YES. According to KissMetrics, weekend emails show the highest rate of unsubscribed users and user complaints. Anyone who works in B2B should treat this matter very carefully. If you think that you have a really good reason to distract your prospects from their weekend routine, give your ideas a try. However, be tactful and send only informative emails that don’t demand immediate action.
Variable # 3 — Time zone
If you sell to businesses across the world, consider your customers’ time zones before you choose the best hours for sending emails. Once you craft your email sequences and make sure that your content is compelling and comprehensible for the audience in your country and beyond, take care of the right timing for your foreign prospects.
In case you are stationed in the United States yet sell to clients in Europe, you should break down your prospects by time zone, make a list, and keep it close at hand. Some mailing services have in-built features to help you organize and accelerate your foreign outreach. Categorize and monitor that data so that you will never surprise your prospects in Germany with an email at 3 a.m.
Variable # 4 — Time
Currently, there is no general agreement on the perfect time for sending emails. When it comes to B2B emails, things are even more complicated. Here are some suggestions that can be derived from research by MailChimp and Campaign Monitor:
|10 to 11 a.m.||2 to 5 p.m.||5 to 7 p.m.|
|The beginning of the working day when your prospects had their coffee and synced up with their workflow. They are ready for new information and contacts.||The middle hours of your prospects’ working routine. At this point, checking their email is a welcome distraction, so your introduction emails and follow-up would fit right in.||It’s a good time for sending B2B offers and informative emails because your prospects tend to check their mail one last time during these hours.|
How to score at scheduling emails
Now, there is a controversial truth that you should keep in mind whenever you read a set of tips and guidelines.
Don’t treat recommendations like your one and only guide to action. Like everything in marketing, email trends grow and change from industry to industry.
So when you get advice on something, look at it from multiple perspectives until you are sure that it fits your goals, your niche, and your audience.
While it makes sense to follow the tips provided from services that did years of research and collected tons of data, do your own homework and see what suits your business.
What do you do?
You test, test, and test again until you find the most productive, most suitable results. This is the key to keeping your flow of emails efficient and your open rate high.
Choose the best day
- If you have gone through multiple studies and got confused by different results and conclusions, you must determine the way that works for you. You can try figuring the best days for sending emails by sending emails throughout the week and keeping track of the emails that get opened and responded to.
- Once you select several days that show the best results, it’s time for more focused testing. For this, you need up to 1,000 recipients. Split these 1,000 recipients into two groups: the Wednesday group (500 recipients) and the Friday group (500 recipients). Send your emails to these groups on the corresponding days and check the results.
- Pay close attention to the open rate and the click-through rate. Document everything. Then analyze your data: if Friday emails result in a higher CTR, then you should use that day for sending marketing materials, offering trials and other activities that motivate your audience to explore your website and its features. If Wednesday emails show a good open rate, then Wednesdays are the perfect day for starting a conversation.
- Bear in mind that you may not find your perfect timing from the first try. In the world of data and analytics, one test is nothing. Run a couple of tests in the course of a few weeks to secure more accurate results. It’s all right if it takes a month to complete your research. The end results of your email campaigns will be worth every minute.
Select the best time
- Look at your prospects’ industry. It dictates the working rhythm, and you must follow suit. If your decision-makers check their mailboxes at 4 a.m., then it would be wise to send your messages near that time.
- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Sometimes, the craziest ideas make way for brilliant results. If you have a suspicion that your prospects are more active later in the evening, then send emails at midnight. One quick test won’t hurt your email sender score — and if it doesn’t work out for you, you won’t use it anymore.
- Try different times. If you’re only getting started with finding the right time for your campaign, send emails throughout the day to determine which hours work best for you and your prospects. Once you find the best sending hours, stick with them.
- Keep an eye on your analytics. Data is your fuel. Monitor your open rate and response rate as well as the positive or negative response ratio to see when it’s time to change your schedule before it starts hurting your revenue.
Remember the extra factors
There are other things you should use to optimize your open rate regardless of the time you choose to send your messages:
- Don’t be a pain in the ass. Seriously. Nailing the best time for sending emails doesn’t mean that your prospects’ time belongs to you now. They must be able to read your email and get the gist in less than three minutes. Even if you follow the most efficient email-sending formula in the world, it still wouldn’t work for anyone who bombards their prospects with long reads and over-the-top subject lines.
- Never forget about mobile devices. Most of your prospects check their mailboxes even when they’re out of the office or before they go to bed. In that case, only the emails with mobile-friendly subject lines and content win the competition.
- Adjust your emails to the situation. Explore the opportunities that the world gives you. From holidays to industry-specific events, you can craft an email that can make the most out of the moment and hit the spot with an exclusive offer or a value proposition.
- Monitor your database. If your hand-curated database is years old, you should take a good look at it before you start sending emails. Things change. Some of your contacts change their email addresses, leaving invalid mailboxes. All that virtual junk can affect your open rate and sender score, so take some time out of your schedule to clean up your database and get rid of inactive addresses. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
- Take time windows into account. To attract a prospect, be the prospect. Imagine how your prospects begin their days, how they browse their smartphones as they wait for a cab. There are precious time windows when your prospects peek into their inboxes when they have little time to do anything else. Therefore, you have three valuable minutes to get their attention. You’d better make use of these precious moments during lunch hours and after 8 p.m. when your prospects do idle browsing and check their emails out of habit.
- Choose quality over quantity. Well-timed personalized emails are better than frequent and vague follow-ups. Your prospects are smart: they know that the only purpose of your two-sentence emails is to remind them about yourself, and at some point it starts annoying them. If you want clean data on your best days for sending emails, take care of your sending frequency first — you should send no more than one to two emails per week.
- Rely on your previous experience. If you have been in business for a while, you have powerful data — your customers’ behavior. You already know the tendencies, habits, and preferences of each segment of your target audience. Therefore, you can map out your schedule with ease — not all competitors can afford that. To tap into that knowledge, dig up the data on your previous campaigns and look for the useful info.
Building a schedule for your emails is not about finding the all-in-one solution. It’s about learning to understand your target audience better.
As you think about the best time to send emails, you empathize with your prospects and tap into their behaviors and working rhythm. Therefore, the knowledge you gain from structuring your schedule can be further used in your work: for the content you write, your value proposition, even the cadence of your face-to-face meetings.
In case this article made you want to explore the time and matter of email marketing more closely or inspired you to take a closer look at your email sending patterns with some professional assistance, feel free to contact our experts.
Having worked with a fair share of emails and industries, we can provide you with research data to help your emails lead your prospects straight to the deal-closing stage.