When is the best time to send a marketing email? | Agital
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When is the best time to send a marketing email?

A quick Google search will tell you that the “best” time to send a marketing email campaign is Tuesday or Thursday between 9 and 11 AM. However, if everyone adheres to this email marketing advice, then everyone’s inboxes will be flooded on the same day and time. Your email is likely to get lost in the shuffle.

This rule of thumb also does not factor in the industry, target audience, and time zone. If you’re trying to reach stay-at-home moms in California, you are going to want to send your email at a different time than if you are trying to reach a stockbroker in New York. Throughout this post, we will review the different ways to determine the ideal send time and how frequently you should be testing different send times.

Steps for choosing the optimal send:

You’re all set up on a new ESP (email service provider) and you have your first email marketing campaign ready to go. Congratulations!

When you go to schedule your campaign, your campaign management system asks you to set a send time. If you find yourself panic-Googling, there is a better solution. Platforms like Klaviyo and Mailchimp both have AI-powered scheduling features that will find the best time for you. In the case of Klaviyo, you will need to schedule three or more campaigns using a “gradual send.” Your campaign will send to a certain percentage of your list every hour for 24 hours. After this test has run a few times, Klaviyo will determine your “optimal” send time.

Things to consider when scheduling test email sends:

  1. Mind your scheduling when it comes to time-sensitive material. Think carefully when sending about coupon codes, limited-time sales, or holiday specials. You wouldn’t want to send out a Happy Father’s Day blast at 11 PM on Father’s Day.
  2. Gradual send tests depend on your list size before they determine “optimal” send time. If you have only 500 people on your subscriber list, you are going to have to run the test at least five times before you have enough data to determine your best send time. Whereas if you have 20,000 people on your list, you may have enough data after only three tests.
  3. Not all ESPs have AI-powered scheduling tools. That’s okay, you can run these tests manually. Create a sending schedule that has each campaign sending at a different time, then compare their performance. This will take longer and isn’t a perfect A/B test since it doesn’t account for other factors. But if you are starting with no data and limited technology, it will at least give you a starting point.
  4. Open rate is the main metric for evaluating the best time to send. Whether you’re testing manually or if your ESP has AI-powered scheduling tools, open rate will determine your best send time. Other metrics are also important to keep tabs on, but they are secondary indicators in this case.
  5. Use your best judgment. You know your customers and target audience best. If most of your audience is stay-at-home moms, sending an email at 2:30 pm when school is getting out probably won’t get a lot of opens right away. But if you’re in the B2B space, you may only want to send emails 9 to 5.

Using email testing to stay current:

So now you know your best send time. But don’t set it and forget it. Consumer behaviors and attitudes are constantly changing, and your list size is constantly growing and changing. Consumers who may have regularly opened your emails and impacted your test results could unsubscribe. A good rule for any digital marketer is to always be testing, and it is important to have a testing plan in place. Unfocused and sporadic testing is not effective and will not warrant statistically significant results.

When and why to re-test your email send times:

  1. You’ve expanded. Whether into a new geographical area or launching a new product line, you need to test to collect new data.
  2. Your list size has changed by more than 10%. Note the word “changed,” not grown. If you do any list cleaning and suppress a large number of subscribers, you will want to re-test send times.
  3. Twice each year for good email database hygiene. Test both in your high season (think about Q4 if you are B2C) and in your low season. Put it on your calendar so you make it a healthy habit.
  4. Your lists have newly created segments. If you ran your send time tests on your entire list but you are now sending to a VIP segment, you will want to run send time tests just for that segment. Each segment may behave differently so don’t blindly apply the results from another list or segment’s send time test.
  5. You change the day of the week when you send campaigns. Maybe you have always sent campaigns on Mondays but now you want to start sending on Thursdays or Sundays. Find your optimal send time for each day. Consumer behaviors may differ greatly from a weekday to a weekend.

The best ways to set up email campaigns for marketing success:

A/B testing is a powerful marketing tool that gives us a better understanding of your audience’s preferences and behaviors. But it is important to have clear goals and plans for your A/B tests so you can design a successful email program that’s customized for your business. Testing send times is just one of many A/B tests you should be running to optimize your email marketing.


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