Email Autoresponders and The Trouble With the “Best” Time to Send

Ever wondered what the best day and time to send an email is? If so, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most popular questions about email marketing. It has spawned innumerable studies over the years, and we hear it at AWeber almost every day.

ClockEver wondered: “what’s the ‘best’ day and time to send an email?”

If so, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most popular questions about email marketing. It has spawned innumerable studies over the years, and we hear it at AWeber almost every day.

There’s just one problem:

The Answer Isn’t The Same For Everyone!

  • The best day for you might not be the best day for the next guy.
  • The best day changes from month to month and from report to report.
  • The best time can be different for subscribers in different parts of the world.
  • Not all messages necessarily “work” on the same day or at the same time.

And besides…

It’s Not Really About The Single “Best” Time or Day Anyway, Is It?

If someone told you “9:32 and 14 seconds on Tuesday morning” was the best time, would you try to send every single one of your emails only on Tuesday, and only at 9:32AM?

I doubt it. Besides the fact that your subscribers aren’t spending every waking moment waiting for your next email, after about 2-3 months of sending only on Tuesday, you’d be in a real pickle if you ever wanted to send out a message on say, Thursday. Nobody would expect it.

Optimizing your sending days and times isn’t about finding one “best” time and hammering it to death.

It’s About NOT Sending on Days or Times That Make Absolutely No Sense.

What you want:

  • Avoid sending at poor times.Example: maybe you don’t want to send at 10:30 at night, since you know subscribers will get other emails between then and when they check your email. You want to avoid having yours pushed to the “middle of the pack” (making it more likely to get overlooked).
  • Avoid sending on low-activity days.Example: why send on the weekend if you run a B2B email marketing campaign and know your subscribers only read and respond during the week?
  • Build a little common sense into your message intervals.

This is easy enough for email newsletters – you can easily set a date and time for each issue…

… but what about sequential autoresponders? They just go out “X” number of days apart, right?

What We Need Are “Smarter” Autoresponders

Ideally, your autoresponders could:

  • Deliver themselves only during the days and times you want.
  • Avoid days and times that don’t work for your subscribers.

That way, they’d automatically deliver themselves during appropriate times on appropriate days – just as you would if you were doing them by hand!

It’s a shame they don’t do that…

Wait. They Don’t Do That… Do They?

Maybe. 😀


  1. Karin H

    6/15/2009 10:34 am

    Ah, are you about to add another feature to the follow-up messages: selected day of week instead of interval at xx days?

    Might come in handy for some campaigns, not all. Looking forward to this.

  2. Cassie

    6/15/2009 11:41 am

    Aww, that’s just mean! 😛

    I was just trying to figure out how this could be done and now you’re teasin’ us. Can’t wait to find out!

  3. Mark

    6/16/2009 6:59 am

    I’ve seen another rival system which clocks the highest open/click rates per sender and sends according to the best time for each subscriber.

    If Aweber are implementing this, it’ll be EPIC!

  4. Ghazal Alvi

    6/16/2009 7:00 am

    Wow, could this be the next big thing from Aweber?

  5. john

    6/16/2009 7:03 am

    What about the best place to send an e-mail?

  6. John C. A. Manley

    6/16/2009 7:08 am

    Sounds like a good feature.

    Though I feature I’d prefer more is an autoresponder that didn’t mail if a broadcast had already gone out that day… or that holds a broadcast for 24 hours if a autoresponder message had already gone otu that day.

  7. Kimball Pate

    6/16/2009 7:13 am

    Here are some basic rules I use for sending out my newsletter.

    1. Never send the day before, during, or the day after a holiday.
    2. Try to avoid week-ends when most people are not at home.
    3. Do not constantly send numerous emails. One every 7 to 10
    days is sufficient.
    4. Personally, I try and send my newsletter so that it arrives
    mid-week, either Tuesday or Wednesday.
    5. Be precise and to the point. Avoid worthless information.
    6. Thank them for taking the time to read your information.

    Maybe this will be a help to others.
    Feel free to use if you wish.

  8. Carol Bentley

    6/16/2009 7:28 am

    OK – you’ve got me intrigued – which is what good writing is all about, isn’t it?

    I avoid putting my blog posts (and as a result my blog broadcast through AWeber) up on a Monday morning as most of my subscribers are business people who are probably drowned under a flood of emails when they get back in after the weekend.

    As you say, having that extra control available on the autoresponder messages would be really cool!

  9. Corrina Gordon-Barnes

    6/16/2009 8:08 am

    I’d love it if you had a feature where we could send out an autoresponder xx days BEFORE a specific date e.g. If a group of people sign up for a workshop on 20th June, they get an autoresponder with final venue details automatically sent out to them on 13th June, or 7 days before the event.

    Do you have this feature already? Or is it in the pipeline?


    Corrina Gordon-Barnes – in my second month with Aweber and LOVING it

  10. Ashley Bolivar

    6/16/2009 8:14 am

    This is so true. I have found that some of the best times for me to send out emails have not been traditionally the best time for everyone else, or that the same message that I send, does not work the same for the next person.

  11. Guy

    6/16/2009 8:44 am

    Very good point with an interesting ending that leaves me curious to see what is in store for the future.

    One additional thought:

    I’ve personally noticed that no matter what time or what day my messages get read by a certain percent of people out of the gate. However, as days turn into weeks and then months my percentage points continue to increase for that given message.

    Perhaps, people are like me in the sense that they make a folder for Emails they want to read and put key ones like the healthy chocolate newsletter they receive from me into it with hopes of reading it in the not to distant future (which sometimes becomes months).

  12. Jim

    6/16/2009 8:55 am

    I am SOOO excited that you might be implementing something that will allow me to control a series of emails. I have some e-classes where I want messages to go out every few days, and it is very frustrating to not be able to control that a message goes out on weekends, or that when I tag a message to go out after a 2 or 3 day interval that it actually goes out at 2.5 days one time, then 2.8 days the next, etc. So business people are getting their lessons sent at 3AM on Saturday, etc.

    If you implement something to better manage a series like this, I will send you a great big virtual HUG!!!

    Jim Smith — having just renewed for my second YEAR w/ AWeber and still happy with the service — and wondering… will I be even happier? 🙂

  13. bob

    6/16/2009 9:37 am

    Hope this new feature ( sounds great) also will take into account the time zone for emails outside our time zone and adjust accordingly. thanks.

  14. Eruwan Gerry

    6/16/2009 9:44 am

    Usually there is a bit of a time trouble when you have customers from all over the world.

    What might be good for you might not be such a good time to your customers.

    I usually test my open rates and look for the best time for my customers when they are active.

  15. Lou D'Alo

    6/16/2009 11:12 am

    Wow, talk about coincidence…just last week I was going to post something to your support team asking, no BEGGING, to be able to schedule autoresponders like broadcasts instead of "x days after the previous one" … HALLELUJIAH (sounds of organs and trumpets here)

  16. Julie Perry

    6/16/2009 11:28 am

    Looking forward to this, I am, I am.

  17. Pedro Sanchez, Jr.

    6/16/2009 3:03 pm

    Cant wait for this new feature 🙂

    Aweber is great!!!

  18. Tammi

    6/16/2009 7:58 pm

    I like how Aweber is always raising the bar. You inspire me!

  19. Deliver Smarter Autoresponders With Send Windows - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    6/17/2009 3:42 pm

    […] the end of our recent post on the trouble with choosing the “best” time to send your autoresponders, we proposed that autoresponders need to get […]

  20. Justin Premick

    6/17/2009 3:43 pm

    Hi all,

    I’m glad to see how excited you are about this!

    This is now live and ready for you to use…

    There’s a video on that post, but you’ll also notice you can join us for a free half-hour demo webinar tomorrow (Thursday, June 18th) at 3:00PM Eastern Time. Hope to see you there!

  21. Diana Fontanez

    6/19/2009 1:57 pm

    Sounds like a great feature to use.

    I also like John C. A. Manley comments. A feature that will not send an autoresponder message the same time a broadcast is sent.

    I send my newsletter on wednesday @ 10 am. And trust me! If i dont send it i get dozens of emails from readers asking me where it is. So using consistency, builds credibility and anticipation.

    Thanks Aweber. You rock!

  22. Charles Kaluwasha

    6/21/2009 3:31 am

    This feature will be great and increase good readership there by upswing sales! Thank you for the innovation in email marketing!

  23. Scott

    8/4/2010 11:20 pm

    I’ve been looking at several email companies, Aweber seems to be leading in there inovations. I look foward to working with them!

  24. brian exsentico

    9/16/2010 12:45 pm

    I really like the whole idea and it sounds like something
    we can use thanks
    you did it again

  25. LT

    1/15/2011 5:07 am

    Send good content and don’t spam, and those readers that like your content will continue to read it. Most of the time, the content is the problem, not the time of sending.

    If you like an authors content, you will typically wait for the next email and open it without any hesitation. Think about your own habits … what would you do? Put yourself in the reader’s eyes for a moment, that is the key.

  26. Chris

    7/20/2011 11:54 pm

    What about big sales? How will this help?

  27. Alberta Banks

    10/3/2011 4:01 pm

    Great information for me and thanks for sending it out to me.

  28. Betty Chung

    5/10/2012 8:42 pm

    Totally agreed that if autoresponders can act as ‘spy agent’ to give email senders the good day and time to launch would be a saver. Sometimes, you receive similar emails over and over again about his strategies or get annoyed fast. When you get annoyed by their peristency, you would probably send their emails to spam.

  29. sameer musa

    1/30/2014 1:23 pm

    The issue is not about the time you are sending but also the quality of whatever you are sending. Some people send things that any consumer would never like look at it again but others have a knack of putting thing impressive to the love of their clients, so much so that, those clients could tolerate a bit of one time overdoing without any downgrading. However, if you are interesting you would always be welcome any time by your clients otherwise you would have to select specific times when they will not be bored.But those who are interesting never over do it.

  30. The Forex Guy

    4/8/2014 9:07 am

    Too many internet marketers getting peoples emails to ‘churn and burn’ them. Spammers like this ruin it for everyone else, if only everyone respected the industry and not abuse it.

    It’s good to see aweber trying to help those who do the right thing.

  31. Justin Bennett

    4/30/2014 7:13 am

    Let’s face it, an autoresponder is only as good as the author behind it. I’ve come up with two basic conclusions when it comes to getting more people to read content.

    1. Write high quality content
    2. Know your audience

    It isn’t enough to research “when is the best time to send an autoresponder?” The question is too subjective. Is your audience domestic or international? If international, where are most of your readers located? You don’t want to send an autoresponder when 70% of your readers are in bed.

    After that, it’s just a matter of testing to find that sweet spot.