Email Timing: A Look At 6 Marketers

Timing

Does it really matter if you schedule your emails for specific days and times?

Some marketers think so. Others don’t. You can certainly peruse your reports for days and times that draw good response in your own campaign. But what if you don’t find anything conclusive?

To help you figure out your scheduling strategy, we took a look at when some of the Big Guys send. Do any of their approaches work for you?

Weekday Mornings


New Egg

Newegg sends on weekdays, two or three times a week. With the exception of some (strategically planned?) Black Friday emails, they send between midnight and 8 every morning – perfect timing for pitching their electronics and digital products to the 9-5 techie crowd.

Weekday morning sends can also work for promoting office supplies and industry equipment or sharing job postings.

Friday Afternoons


Container Store

The Container Store, before mid-June, sent with haphazard timing. Since then, they’ve sent every Friday afternoon. Their emails arrive just as their readers’ focus is shifting from the work week to managing life at home – a good time to suggest containers that can help one do so.

Friday afternoons can be ideal for sending emails about local events, home remodeling tools, concerts, art shows – anything useful for planning weekend activities.

Several Times a Day


Blue Fly

Bluefly offers a different deal every day, sent at 7 a.m. More often than not, they also send a reminder around 3 before subscribers go offline for the evening.

Such a high frequency can work for limited-time offers or for sending out updates during an event. But be careful with this frequency. You’ll need to provide a lot of value for subscribers to put up with two or more emails in a day.

(Almost) Every Day


Yoga Journal

Yoga Journal sends Tuesday through Sunday. On Mondays, people are busy digging out from work accumulated over the weekend. After they’ve caught up, YJ sends them a new idea to try in their spare time each day, whether it’s a backbend to battle fatigue or creating yogic space with natural materials.

Subscribers who are counting down to an event or working their way toward a goal may appreciate a daily (or almost-daily) nudge. Whether to skip a day of the week depends on your readers, so check your open rates to see if it makes sense for your campaign.

At Lunch Time


Offbeat Bride

Offbeat Bride sends daily, so brides-to-be get as much advice as possible before the Big Day (and the wedding-obsessed get their fix). OB emails arrive around noon for fun lunchtime reading.

Other ideal lunchtime content might be lighthearted news reports, quick tips or advice, daily inspiration or hobby-related digests. Who doesn’t want something fun and uplifting to read while they chomp?

As News Breaks


Fox News

Fox News sends updates throughout the day, whenever a big story breaks. Subscribers choose their categories of interest, getting an email or two for each on any given day.

Immediate emails could work well in fast-paced industry, with alerts for software releases, real estate listings and the like? The immediate timing assures readers that they’re the first to get the scoop.

To Schedule or Not to Schedule

While these brands send at specific times, other big names, like Bed Bath and Beyond and CVS, don’t. Their content may not be time-specific. Or maybe they trust their emails to bring in clicks morning, noon or night.

What about your own campaign? Do any of these strategies fit? Or would you send at an opposite time to stand out?

Also, consider your subscribers’ schedules. Do they work weekdays, 9-5? Are they freelancers? College students? Retired?

Do You Already Time Your Emails?

If you do, how did you decide when to send? We realize you might not want to give up all your secrets, but we (and your fellow marketers!) appreciate any details you’re willing to share below!
By:
Amanda Gagnon is the former Education Manager for AWeber and has started a number of small businesses.

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53 Comments

  1. I send my dating newsletter for men to my 16K subscribers everyday (except Sunday) at 5 pm EST.

    It’s been 2 years now and it works well for me.

    3/10/2011 9:37 am
  2. I send my dating newsletter for men to my 16K subscribers everyday (except Sunday) at 5 pm EST.

    It’s been 2 years now and it works well for me.

    3/10/2011 9:38 am
  3. I have been doing a lot of research into this recently but every niche and every campaign is different. I have always sent out my newsletter on a Tuesday morning. I find this works well. I then recently promoted a product on a Saturday and that worked quite well.

    I wouldn’t normally send anything at the weekend.

    But to be honest I don’t personally see much difference in the uptake of my emails relative to the date or time I send them out.

    3/10/2011 10:36 am
  4. Most of my clients are solo business owners and work out of a home office and work a lot of hours. I find that the best time to send my newsletter is Sunday evening. People are on line and getting ready for the work week. They are relaxed and not as overwhelmed.

    Evenings in general are good for this reason but not Friday and Saturday.

    3/10/2011 10:51 am
  5. Our company is specialised in magazine and book publishing. At Pratico-Pratiques.com, we send one newsletter, once a week, not more.

    To our opinion, daily emails can become overwhelming and I don’t think our members would appreciate. After all, we want our subscribers to read us, like us and click on our website, not unsubscribe.

    3/10/2011 10:56 am
  6. For the Internet Marketing crowd, Ryan Deiss has tested this extensively and recommends emailing at 5:00 AM.

    Best days are Tuesday and Thursday, but lots of people mail every day, or every week day.

    I can testify this works best for me. I email two lists of about 7,000 each. I get my best open and click rates when I email at 5:00 AM for the first and 5:30 AM for the second. I sometimes add an extra email on Saturday or Sunday.

    All times are Eastern, by the way.

    3/10/2011 11:14 am
  7. I check all my opening times and send an hour before.

    The most time at 6:30 am.

    3/10/2011 11:15 am
  8. Great article, and I just blogged about the same thing at http://www.coachradio.tv/the-best-day-to-send-a-newsletter.

    My question though – many of these case studies are sending at specific times of day.

    Bluefly – 7am and 3pm
    Offbeat Bride is lunchtime

    At best, they’re only hitting about two timezones at the times they want, right?

    East coasters get Bluefly at 7 and 3, but West coasters get them at 4am and noon. Does that throw off the reasoning of when to send if your market is in more than one timezone? Or do you just pick your favorite timezone with the biggest section of your market?

    Great thoughts!

    3/10/2011 11:16 am
  9. TDS

    I send my subscribers great information once a day and after a 3 days I give them 1 every 3 days. This only works if you find the right people who are ready for your info.

    3/10/2011 11:29 am
  10. I send out updates on my band roughly once every 3 weeks (it should be more!).

    I schedule these for Sundays (free social day) or Friday afternoon (“mmm what should I do this weekend?” day)

    3/10/2011 11:32 am
  11. We do alternate times and days. We have noticed more click throughs in the marketplace for Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am or 1 pm (kind of right before lunch and right after – but we’re not sure why it works better) for http://www.marketplacebootcamp.com

    I also heard Drayton Bird recommend sending emails to target very ambitious business people on Sunday evenings (I think this was also stated by Ken McCarthy) and Drayton stated a marked increase in response from that target market.

    Question for you Amanda-

    Which variables (categories) of business and subscriber types have you seen respond well to split testing at different times?

    I know testing is the key in any list or industry, but I am asking, have you seen correlations for better response times when segmenting between different industries or different subscriber types?

    Does this question make sense?

    3/10/2011 11:37 am
  12. Thanks for acknowledging that one size definitely DOES NOT fit all as far as this topic is concerned.

    The blanket recommendation to time broadcasts at 4.30a that I’ve seen elsewhere dramatically underperforms with our list.

    You touched on the idea of assessing whether the target audience is reading our content while at work or on leisure time. That is a MASSIVE factor, I believe.

    I’m in the dating/relationship niche like Ryan, which is decidedly a “leisure” niche. As such, I’ve found–exactly like he has–that 5p EST is the best time to send…especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Guys get off of work, and our e-mail is right at the top of their inbox.

    I also agree that lunchtime EST is very effective also, and I tend to switch between the two key times just to target more people overall.

    One tweak on the “lunchtime” theme we’ve tested successfully is sending at 11a EST rather than 12p. Presumably, it’s a better idea to have that e-mail awaiting the folks at work slightly before they split for lunch. I’m thinking people tend to check their private e-mails at that time. Regardless, the longer you wait after 11a EST to send, the lower the open rate tends to be.

    FYI…I’ve also noticed that Aweber’s longest lag time between queue and actual delivery tends to be at 11a EST.

    Saturday mornings, Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings work nicely in our niche as well.

    When Emily writes to her list of women, Friday night also works exceptionally well. That one doesn’t cross over to the men’s side.

    3/10/2011 11:51 am
  13. Ryan ~ That’s cool; it sounds like you’re creating a whole Sunday night experience for your subscribers!

    Justin ~ That is an important consideration. It’s trickier if your readers are world-wide, but if they’re mostly in one country or region, you can send “around lunchtime” or “towards the start of the workday” to have much the same effect.

    Alexander ~ Nice work basing your send time off your open times!

    Carl ~ Thanks for sharing those results! Now we know when to send to Internet marketers. :)

    Julie ~ Depending on the type of content, daily could definitely be overwhelming.

    Kaya ~ Thanks for sharing your timing and your reasoning!

    Justin ~ It’s interesting to note that you don’t see a difference based on timing. One vote for the ” it doesn’t matter” crowd. :)

    3/10/2011 11:58 am
  14. I’ve always sent mine early am so people can receive wonderful inspiration tips & affirmations when they get up!

    3/10/2011 12:00 pm
  15. I send my newsletter to arrive in email inboxes before 6am Eastern time. Why? Because I market to equestrians, who are normally early risers, allowing them to see my info before heading to the barn to do their morning chores.

    I also tend to send this on Saturday mornings. Most of my people work jobs, and are home then – if they aren’t on the road to, from, or at a show.

    3/10/2011 12:06 pm
  16. What I would like to know is what does the data show? when do people open and spend the most time in an email? At what time do openings result in the greatest percentage of click through’s? I understand it could be different in each industry, but global statistics would be helpful.

    3/10/2011 12:10 pm
  17. I tend to send when I post if it is a broadcast unless it is toward the end of the work day. I am central time(USA) so I factor in the East Coast. I like for people to have it available when they get home from work, you know the evening email check.

    One thing I have noticed is Aweber is more likely to send your email at the time you want if you send in the future. If you send immediately it tends to not go immediately, but it will be sent more often at the time you want if you set for the future.

    3/10/2011 12:32 pm
  18. Marce

    Very interesting post!
    But to my opinion, I don`t see important the time!
    Best is any time.

    3/10/2011 12:36 pm
  19. Jan

    Last I checked, my highest open dates were always on Monday. Maybe getting something about dieting works well for Mondays, being the first day of the (work) week.

    3/10/2011 12:39 pm
  20. I find the best time for my corporate lists are between 9am and 12 noon on Tuesdays.

    Small business clients are better late in the week for the products an services we sell.

    3/10/2011 12:51 pm
  21. I think that having a good idea of your target demographics and their behavior patterns from the get go is critical. Meaning, when you start to build your list, you should try to get as much information as you can from your subscriber.

    The mistake that I see many email marketers make is that they try to build a large list without knowing the routines of their audience.

    The larger your list is, and the more untargeted your list is, the harder of a time you will have figuring out their “routine” and the best day or time to send emails.

    If you for example could “survey” your list and just “ask” them…

    Q: Do you have a 9-5 job?
    Q: If yes, do you check emails from work?
    Q: If No, do you check your emails before you go to work or when you get home?

    This would give you some answers.

    Now mind you these questions are way too straightforward and appear to be trying to find out when is the best time to market to someone, so I don’t suggest you ask them in this direct manner,
    but you get the idea.

    My main message here is that asking your list in a nice way, never hurts.

    You can also ask how often they like to receive your emails,
    what topics they are interested in, etc, all of this helps.

    3/10/2011 1:38 pm
  22. Thank you for bringing up this subject. Through informal testing, I have found that Thursday morning is the best time to send out my monthly e-newsletter, and weekends are the worst.

    My niche is (mostly Christian) stay-at-home moms focusing on topics which interest them. I am convinced that by the time my busy readers get through the shopping on Saturday and the church services on Sunday, my e-newsletter is at the bottom of their email pile.

    If I haven’t gotten the e-newsletter out by Thursday night, I might as well wait until Monday morning and take the chance of them skipping over my offerings for something more pressing in the weekend back log.

    It is certainly worth it to test, test, and test again for the best results.

    3/10/2011 1:42 pm
  23. Aaron ~ Thanks for the info! The question does make sense, but I don’t have data across industries. The other commenters here are sharing some pretty interesting findings, though!

    Ross ~ Thanks for that info!

    Jan ~ That makes sense – new week = fresh start. :)

    Marce ~ I’m sure that’s definitely true for some campaigns!

    Jim ~ “The evening email check” – perfect.

    Michael ~ I think global info would be impossible. Results completely depend on who your audience is. Check out some of the other comments here to see the different findings!

    Patricia & Cynthia ~ Way to know your audience!

    3/10/2011 1:47 pm
  24. My readers value getting their weekly ezine on Monday mornings to launch their week and, despite Monday morning being a terrible delivery time, attempts to change that have met with rebellion. However, when I shifted from an early morning delivery (waiting for you when you awaken/arrive) to a 9:00 am delivery, my opens increased by 20%. I can only assume they have done the Monday morning email clean-up and are ready to take in the new.

    3/10/2011 2:20 pm
  25. Since we are targeting various demographics:
    Home Businesses
    Retired
    Network Marketing Etc
    I am experimenting with different days and times. The message requires some time so I target times I feel would allow more time to review. Evenings, early morning or weekends.

    Time will tell with the results.

    3/10/2011 2:38 pm
  26. Thanks for sharing some of your details, but i really miss one of the most important things !

    It is highly recommended to filter your/my clients prefered reading times!
    A simple broadcast message to your subscribers will give you a full plan of this!
    Once you have your list seperated you will likely want to adress your message to your clients , customers or marketing partners.

    you will even get clear answer on when the ideal time will be or simple “send whenever you like” feedback.

    This of course works for steady readers but will show your business willingness of costumer support.

    Remembering that most of the emails send are combined with product offers, this will also aske your readers if they are interested in making a purchase or if they only want free information. There is a lets say shady need to make a sale behind the most free information given, having a serious relation to your subcribers favorite email (informational)-handling is building trust.

    3/10/2011 2:54 pm
  27. My clients/students are worldwide so I send my follow up newsletters Monday thru Friday between 9AM and 3PM in their time zone. Seems to be working for me.

    3/10/2011 3:04 pm
  28. Interesting post!
    I send at 7am but the success depends very much on the campaign.

    3/10/2011 3:21 pm
  29. Hey everyone,

    First I’d like to say thanks for all the helpful posts.

    I try to send to my subscribers by 4p.m. on weekdays.

    3/10/2011 4:07 pm
  30. My readers are creative-types – many of them work for themselves. My newsletter is 90% links to news stories affecting my niche, 10% pushing them to my website.

    When I designed it, I decided it should be weekly and it shouldn’t compete with the normal barrage of emails my readers get from other companies…

    So I call it the “Sunday Morning Newsletter” and pitch it as the newsletter you read with your Sunday coffee to catch up on all of last week’s news and fun.

    For months I scheduled at the 6am hour Eastern. This past week I changed it to 4am EST and was amazed at the huge number people who opened it in those hours.

    It turns out many were overseas and getting it late on Sunday. By moving it earlier, they could read the newsletter with their coffee as well.

    It also turns out that about 30% of the opens happen on Monday morning.

    It’s nifty how many responses I get from people who look forward to their Sunday Morning reading.

    3/10/2011 5:24 pm
  31. We have found retail orders will increase if you send on the third or fourth day of each month due to social security checks being issued. Also, online sales are almost always heavier on Thursdays (over the last 4 years) thus possibly showing some kind of pattern for more computer activity on Thursdays. I should mention the results are very similar for three very different companies with differently targeted demographics. We currently run almost all of our email marketing between the hours of 8 to 10 AM unless otherwise requested.

    3/11/2011 12:28 am
  32. Thank you for your articles. I always find something useful. One request! Can you make them printable?

    3/11/2011 1:09 am
  33. anna rossi

    what is the best time to send emails to REALTORS?

    3/11/2011 9:40 am
  34. This is great point of view, one I’ve been forming on my own after 4 years of internet marketing and relationship marketing in real estate. Depending on the target audience and what response I’m looking to get, I’ll send emails at random to random people, looking to get word of mouth to spread the news.

    The one question I have for others who have posted here is, if you were to create a one-time mass email blast, what email client service would you pick? The business I’m in, I want the message to get out once and for all, what I do, why I work by referral only, and if a client wishes to hire my services, a phone call or scheduled meeting in person is the best route.

    3/11/2011 10:22 am
  35. Mike

    You didn’t factor in time zones in your article. There are 5 in the US.

    For our self-employed crowd, we send at 10a Mo-Th. If we send by regions we try to get it in their inbox at 1p. We came to that conclusion through testing…

    3/11/2011 12:19 pm
  36. I do prefer to send after 4PM, this way most people are home
    after work and you emails won’t be too far behind along with
    their other mails that they’re receiving. Remember, you are
    not the only one sending mails. So try to stay closest to
    the top as possible so when they check their mails they find
    you easier.

    3/11/2011 8:37 pm
  37. Regarding time zones; we are able to schedule accordingly with the use of a time zone question during the sign-up process. We don’t require an answer because most folks will choose one (give them a drop down menu). Then each campaign is broken out by region along with other requested information like “How often would you like to here from us?” This works great until one of your west coast customers is perturbed because you sold-out of an “just announced” item before they had a chance to purchase it. Obviously, all campaigns are not treated uniformly and sometimes you will want to target an overall best time to announce time sensitive material to everyone in your database with one sweep. Our clients will normally request 1 or 2 PM EST for this type of advertising.

    3/12/2011 2:09 am
  38. Yes, it does count. As you do not call someone when he’s sleeping unless you want either to not get an answer, or be looked as a fool… LOL

    I send my emails mostly in 8-9 a.m. EST

    3/14/2011 5:08 am
  39. Andre ~ You should be able to just highlight the article, right click and hit “print selection.”

    Mike ~ Social security checks – that’s an interesting factor!

    Patrick ~ Wow, that’s a huge increase for a 2 hour change! Thanks for sharing that!

    Mike ~ Yes, sending by region is a great way to address time zone differences.

    Anna ~ That’s a good question. I think it would depend on if there is a regular schedule realtors tend to follow. Do they all hit the office Monday mornings looking for new listings or ideas?

    3/14/2011 8:09 am
  40. I think that the timing matters. We seem to get a great response on Tuesday and Thursdays. We typically send at 8:00 am EST and 3PM EST. Most of your people are business owners.

    3/17/2011 1:13 pm
  41. Email marketing has a characteristic in that it sits in the inbox until the user logs in. It does not get missed if the timing is wrong.

    My experience with email marketing has been B2B and so if the email is there in the morning it worked fine.

    The reason I bring this up is to point out a very important difference when working in the social media platform of twitter. It is more like a ticker tape in that the message is displayed and then moves out of present time.

    I am convinced that timing is critical in twitter far more than in email. Finding the right time to send in twitter is more difficult in that the viewer must be online and since people across the country are online at different times there is no one best time.

    Yes I think timing is important and yet not as critical for email as it is for twitter.

    I hope that is useful to those that have a large effort in the twitter space

    4/9/2011 5:21 pm
  42. How do I schedule daily emails? If I want to send out my daily deals each morning, do I manually have to create a new email with the latest deals or is there a way to dynamically create my morning email and have it automatically send each morning at the same time?

    9/13/2011 3:37 pm
  43. @mike

    Many marketers schedule their “daily emails” weeks or months in advance. Therefore they do not sit at a computer and manually pressing the send button each and every day. The Aweber system is great for that and does allow you to specify which days and what time of the day you wish to send your messages. However this only makes sense if the emails are not time limited, and in your case, if “sending the latest deals”, It would have to be done at the time the deal is “the latest”. And if that happens to be a new deal everyday, it would have to be done everyday. Unless you already know in advance what next weeks or months daily deal will be, (I.E. You are making up your own deals) in that case then you can schedule in advance and yes at a specific time. If however it’s a new deal everyday that is out of your control, I.E. marketing other peoples offers, but you don’t know what that is until the actual day, then you have no choice but to either do it daily yourself, or hire a VA to do it for you.

    9/14/2011 8:27 am
  44. Thank you. I figured that was the case, but wasn’t sure.

    I do have some php code that pulls several deals into a table and then spits out the HTML. I wasn’t sure if I could schedule a daily email that sent this dynamic HTML each day – so that the message being sent out was a group of different deals each day – yet still be automated.

    I tried including an iframe in the HTML body of a message, but that didn’t seem to work.

    For the time being I guess I will just copy and paste the HTML each day – until I can come up with a better solution.

    Thanks.

    9/14/2011 8:53 am
  45. @mike, From experience I used to sometimes first fiddle for days with code, (which is not my thing) and then struggle a few more days or weeks giving up on the idea that something would be technically possible to do. Then by chance I’d ask a coder if that same thing is possible, and he might say, pfff yeah that’s easy, gimme 5 minutes.

    My point is, most likely what you want to do is possible to be automated.
    Just find someone who can translate your idea into a working system.
    Pay him/her the money that you’ll be saving in time and stress by not having to do the same tedious task each day.

    9/14/2011 11:16 am
  46. Well I actually am a coder, but just not too experienced with Aweber and its capabilities.

    After poking around on google last night I realized that I can schedule Blog Broadcasts via an RSS feed… So the only issue was taking my daily deals and formatting them as RSS. After some quick searching, I was able to create my own RSS feed with some simple PHP code. I plugged it into the Blog Broadcast and it all seems to work. Now I can send automated daily deals every morning.

    Thanks for the help. If anyone is interested in how to do this in more detail, I plan on writing up a post on my blog in the next few days.

    9/15/2011 7:54 am
  47. I found it interesting that “lunch time” was mentioned in the Offbeat Bride example. For a site that seems to target an international English-speaking audience, what is lunch time?

    There are so many variables and while I think you can come up with a timing formula that works for your own business, I don’t think you can always pinpoint the reason that it actually works.

    1/5/2012 1:37 pm
  48. Y

    Interesting, i agree with that cause i’ve tested every day of the week for running my newsletter and i have finally found the best optimized day.

    3/24/2012 5:15 am
  49. CR

    I thing that the best time to send a newsletter is not in the night but in the middle day.

    8/7/2012 1:55 am
  50. We’ve noticed with our clients that Monday morning at 9am works extremely well, but Tuesdays do well also. We’ll have to explore more Tuesdays seeing how it is doing well here in the comments. I also read that the Apple marketing team are geniuses at timing their emails to hopeful college students – they send out the emails right after high school graduations, 11am :)

    11/22/2012 1:41 pm
  51. Guillermo – That’s helpful to know, and definitely a good point regarding Apple sends.

    11/26/2012 9:35 am