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How I found the perfect time to send an email newsletter

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 15 Sep, 2017
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4 tips to send your email newsletter at the perfect time

One of the worst things you can do is send an e-newsletter at the wrong time.

If you do not pick a good time to fire off an email it will run the risk of being deleted rather quickly, because the other emails sent at the same time will make it fight for attention and all your hard work will be wasted.

This is why it drives me a bit crazy when people or companies send their email newsletters all at the same time. No one wants to check their phone in the morning and have 30 emails. Or be hit up with a bunch of emails during dinner time. Those emails run the risk of being sent straight to the trash.

After many months of deleting email newsletters sent at inopportune times, I knew there had to be a better way. So I set out to find when the best time to send an email newsletter is, in the most scientific way ever...by signing up for 100 different email newsletters and recording all of their send times.

These newsletters spanned many interests and companies and it is safe to say my interests were all over the place for this experiment.

Some came from Buzzfeed, The New York Times and even one about being a good parent.

This caused my inbox to be busting at the seams over the next month. From that massive influx, I picked 500 newsletters and recorded the date and times they were sent at.

What I found is definitely going to surprise you.

1. Never send it on Thursday

Actually finding the worst day to send an email was pretty easy.

And that day is Thursday, by a large margin.

Exactly 25% of all the emails were sent on a Thursday, with no other days really coming close. And it is well above the 70 or so emails I received per day on average.

I think that the best day to send an email is on one that has the least competition from other emails - Thursdays had a ton of competition. This is probably caused by some thought leaders Thursdays as the best days to send a newsletter.

And now that has been repeated as fact so we now see an oversaturation of emails on Thursdays.

As you can see in the graph above, Tuesday was a close second but nowhere as bad as Thursdays.

This is also because of a ton of article pushing Tuesday as the best day to send an email.

So I would recommend avoiding both of these days with a passion.

2. Send it from 11-12PM, 1-2PM or 2-3 PM

Like I said in the previous sections the best time to send an email is when it has little to no competition.

I mean why would you want to send an email when there are a handful of others fighting for attention.

That just lowers the already small chance that someone will read your newsletter.

All your content and email marketing effort will be wasted in an instant.

So when I was looking for some of the best times to send an email I kept that idea in mind.

And after looking through all the data I was able to find a few chunks of time.

Those hour blocks are 11-12PM, 1-2PM and 1-3PM.

Over that time period, not a single email was sent to my inbox in our sample.

Those all seem like great opportunities for your newsletter to take advantage of!

But the time block that I think has the most potential is from 2-3PM.

Especially if your email topic relates very heavily to their job.

It also is right in that time period after lunch but before they go home from work.

If they are just coming back from lunch, the first thing they are likely going to do is check their emails.

And boom, your email newsletter is the first thing that they see.

It could be that little distraction they have been waiting for all day!

Now if your topic is a bit more fun and deals with a hobby I would choose 11-12PM.

They are going to love to get an interesting email about something they really care about while eating lunch.

And they will look forward to each of your newsletters from then on.

3. Wednesdays & Saturdays are a great day to send

Now that we already covered one of the worst days to send an email I thought it would be important to show you a better day.

One happens to be just 24 hours before the worst day of the experiment.

That is right, the best days to send an email is on a Wednesday and Saturdays.

As you can see below they had one of the lowest send rates of the entire experiment.

Actually, if you put all the emails sent on both Wednesday and Saturday together they are still less than those sent on a Thursday.

These are both fantastic days to test out sending your email newsletter on.

I do think that Wednesday should be used for more work related email newsletters.

If you are sending a marketing tips newsletter then this is the perfect day for you.

Again this could the perfect distraction that your audience is looking for in the middle of the week.

And if you give them a ton of helpful ideas they can use them immediately!

Remember, immediate gratification is a very powerful force.

Now if your newsletter is a lot more fun or even more in depth then Saturday is your day.

That way if your audience wants to read or act on something you sent they have the whole weekend too!

That said, I would not send it on a Sunday because it is a bit of a wild card day.

4. Avoid after 9PM or before 2AM

As you could see in some of the graphs from above, there seems to be a ton of emails being sent while we sleep.

I never really got the purpose of this because it just creates an overstuffed inbox each morning.

Most emails are read within an hour of receiving them. This means you want to hit someone when they are going to be at their computer, not when they are sleeping.

This just increases the likelihood that your newsletter is deleted in the mass culling each morning.

That is how I start every morning, and I know I am not the only one.

So to get around this almost auto delete behavior of the masses I would avoid sending it after 9PM or before 2AM.

In our experiment, almost half of all emails were sent between 9PM and 2AM.

You are going to be fighting a ton of other newsletters for attention.

I know the people who are up at that hour don’t want to read your newsletter at that moment.

And your hard work gets ignored, or probably deleted, until the next day.

Don’t let all your great content be wasted just because you choose the wrong time to send it out.


After ending this experiment I have a lot of unsubscribing to do over the next few weeks.

But it was all worth it because I think we definitely were able to bust some email myths and get some new data to share.

Just remember if you don't want your email to be deleted:

  • Pick a time when little to no emails are being sent
  • Never send it on a Thursday
  • Wednesday is a better day to send
  • Send it from 1-12PM or 1-3PM
  • Saturdays are great as well
  • Do not send it during the night

For more insight on the best day and time to send an email see these Smart Insights articles:

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