What's the best time to send?

July 25, 2017 McKenzie Gregory


Why the best send time can only be discovered through testing

It’s one of the most common questions we get from email marketers...
Which day should I send to get the highest possible open rates?
What time should I send to promote engagement with my campaigns? 
Many brands in our industry will point to one or a few "best" times – for instance, you may have heard 10 am on Tuesday spouted off once or twice – but our answer remains the same: Simply put, send times are one of the biggest things you HAVE to test for yourself and with your own audience to get right. 


The problem with one-size-fits-all send times

Think about it: If a prominent brand or thought leader starts telling people that 10 am on Tuesday is the best time to send, soon everyone will begin sending at that time. The increased competition quickly makes it the worst time to send. Rinse. Repeat. 
Plus, the ideal send time for your weekly newsletter may not be the ideal send time for an invitation to a cocktail mixer. If you're sending to a segment of your audience that opens mostly on mobile, you probably won't want to send to them at the same time you send to folks who open on their desktop.
There are simply too many factors involved for a single solution to feasibly work across the board. 


Send time testing in practice 

One great illustration of testing send times comes from Nourishwise, a customer here that essentially partners with restaurants and surfaces & curates healthy dining options for their subscribers. 
First, they tested sending at different times in 30-minute increments. They started at 9 am, then moved to 9:30, and so on, until they found that at 10:30 am worked best. So they now send regularly-scheduled weekly emails around that time to the whole audience.
Charter Boats 
Another one of my favorite customer anecdotes? Our Senior Email Specialist Elizabeth Duffey worked with a very niche business that sold booking software to charter boat captains.
They were struggling with engagement, so Elizabeth did an audit of their email strategy. She found out that charter boat captains don’t actually get off the water until around 8 pm, and they were sending the bulk of their mailings in the afternoon. They started sending around 9 pm, and engagement soared!


In summary... 

The takeaway? There’s no magic-bullet answer for the perfect send time. Rely on data-backed strategies to increase your open rates, and don’t stop there: Keep testing regularly to ensure your strategy evolves with your audience. 


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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