When to Send Your Autoresponders

Like most emailers, the majority of your allotted “email marketing time” is probably spent crafting messages, perfecting copy and double checking to make sure your links are functional.

But once your messages are ready, do you remember to consider when they’re going out? If your email ends up buried in the inbox before a subscriber can even acknowledge it it, you are setting yourself up for poor results from the get-go.

In our recent survey of email marketers, respondents agreed that autoresponder send windows have several clear advantages for combating timing conflicts. Keep reading to find out what they are and how your campaign can benefit from them!

The Results Are In

Based on our survey, the benefits of scheduling follow up messages were amazingly clear.

23.66% of respondents said that subscribers are more likely to open emails because they know when to expect them.

21.14% said send windows help them reach subscribers when they are in the right frame of mind to think about their subject/business.

12.15% said they enable them to reach subscribers when they are in the right location to think about their subject/business.

But Should You Really Send At Different Times?

The beauty of the follow up message is that you only have to set your sequence up once and it continues to go out to subscribers until they reach the end. However for many businesses, traditional follow up messages are limiting and can lead to some inevitable internal questions:

  • Are my emails going out at a consistent time or are they helter-skelter?
  • If sent at random times, do those times bomb?
  • Have I set proper expectations?

That’s where send windows come in.

What works for the local pizza joint could very well be different from the high-end boutique down the street. Send windows help you pinpoint what works best for your business, then focus on the specific days and times that are beneficial to you.

The Best Times to Send

The habits of your subscribers are unique to your business. There is no one way to run an email marketing campaign, so you really have to do some searching to find the formula that works for you.

One Place to Spot Trends? Your Opens and Clicks Over Time Reports:

Opens Over Time

You can look at these reports to see what times people are most apt to open your emails and click on links, which will give you an indication of when your subscribers are most actively opening your messages.

Then, based on those times, you can set send windows for your follow up autoresponders that mimic the most productive times for opens and clicks.

For the campaign featured in the chart above, we would set the send windows for 6AM – 12PM, since the open activity peaks between those hours.

Send Window

Setting Expectations

The Opens and Clicks Over Time reports are a great indication of when to send your messages going forward. Once you’ve discovered the busiest times for message opens, you can use that information to educate new subscribers.

On your thank you page, let new sign-ups know that your emails will arrive between the times you’ve set as your send window.

List signup thank you page

This way, you’ve set expectations and your subscribers won’t waste any time searching their inboxes for messages from you. They know what you’re sending them, and when to expect to receive it.

How Do You Use Send Windows?

Have you experimented with this handy tool? How has it helped your campaign?

We’d love to hear from you. Share your experience in the comments below!


  1. Joe Petrashek

    10/21/2010 12:50 pm

    Great article (as usual). Will put to use!

  2. Joe Petrashek

    10/21/2010 1:01 pm

    Where do you access the "Opens and Clicks Over Time Reports?"

    I only see the "Verification Times Report".

  3. amit

    10/21/2010 2:47 pm

    In last 2 years of using Aweber, I have realized that 9-12 am is the best time for good open rates.

    Second, it also depends what kind of subscribers you have. Student’s email boxes are generally full with Facebook or other important messages.

    I think its really important to learn that how to compete with other messages in your subscribers inbox and get high open rates, based on their age group.

    I called it “User Inbox Optimization”. I think I should blog this in detail.

  4. Rebecca Swayze

    10/22/2010 8:48 am

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Joe, if you haven’t upgraded to the Analytics package you won’t have access to the Opens and Clicks Over Time reports. For information about Analytics, check out this page: https://www.aweber.com/email-analytics.htm

  5. Hung

    10/22/2010 9:01 am

    Nice tips.
    I really forget about setting up time sending follow up autoresponders

  6. Craig White

    10/23/2010 11:03 am

    Great Article! I only have one question. How do I drill down further and find the best day to send along with the best time. I couldn’t find any day option in the report.

  7. E-mail Advertising Is Copywriting – How To Create Autoresponder Messages That Your Potential Customers Will Click | markawhitesite.com

    10/23/2010 12:06 pm

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  8. Mohamed

    10/25/2010 7:56 am

    if my subscribers from many country world wide it will be very difficult to know the open activity peaks as i will have many peaks during the day

  9. Will QUick

    10/26/2010 4:24 am

    Great article, but I can’t help but feel the statistics are a little bizarre. Why is it relevant what a number of respondents think? Surely the only group of people who’s opinion on this actually matters is the recipients themselves?

    It’s like me asking the postman why my nextdoor neighbour enjoys receiving post… he might be able to give me his gut feeling but he won’t actually have a clue.

    Very interesting article nonetheless… thanks for the food for thought!

  10. Andre arnett

    10/26/2010 2:50 pm

    I think this is a very interesting article as it is hard to determine when is the best send time. And as you say when they are set up in the autoresponder it makes it really hard to know what is the best time. I will have to study the statistics as well to see when might be a good time. Thanks.

  11. robert

    10/26/2010 9:28 pm

    great article on when to send emails, days and time.

  12. Michele Welch

    10/30/2010 10:14 pm

    As in other areas in your business, evaluating when is the best times and days to email your list is going to important to increase open rates. Although I do think subject heading is going to play a big role as well.

    You cover some key points here as I know I use analytics for my site on when to post as well as peak times to use social networking tools.

    Nice touch on the being specific on the thank you page. I’ve set up what they are to expect but not with a time and I can see how this technique can come in handy.

    Great article and very informative! Ciao! 🙂

  13. Arifsheumi

    11/3/2010 4:04 pm

    thank you. great article on when to send, days and times.

  14. A

    1/3/2011 10:27 pm

    Very good contribution, is essential to implement an autoresponder service, as this helps to keep in touch with your customers 24 hours, so you save the tiresome task of doing it yourself.

    Time is money, automation is vanguard.

  15. Guru

    4/21/2011 11:14 pm

    Interesting information. I am surprised to see the opens 6am to 7am. This is a very high number. I am wondering whether this is only for US subscribers or for all countries.

    Probably, if we can get this information per country (For all the broadcasts and follow-ups sent via aweber), it will be more meaningful.

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