When Is the Best Time to Send Email Blast Campaigns?

Melanie Balke
March 13, 2024

Email marketing campaigns are a balancing act.

You’re juggling your business goals with your customer’s interests. One hand must dazzle onlookers as the other plants the seed of economic growth. Your target audience must come first, but how can your email marketing strategy survive if you’re not earning enough conversions?

Summarily, email marketing can be a mess!

And knowing when to send those email campaigns is just another headache.

My first bit of advice is to pause. Breathe. You’ve got this!

Now, get ready to read. Today’s blog post is dedicated to understanding the best time to send those marketing emails. So, start dreaming up those subject lines as I discuss the importance of email optimization.

What Is an Email Blast?

A boardwalk with a well-lit Ferris wheel. “Review: What Is an Email Blast?”

First, I want to address the elephant in the room.

Email blasts (sometimes called “mass emails”) are among the most common forms of modern email marketing campaigns. Historically, they’re also the dominant form of marketing emails. The first marketing email in the world, sent on May 3, 1978, was an email blast.

Their function remains the same now as it was nearly half a century ago.

They’re generalized email campaigns designed for widespread appeal. You can add personalization, but most email blasts are generic content. Modern marketing services dispatch these email campaigns with automation, basing delivery on a recipient’s date and location.

Refining the Modern Email Blast

Of course, progress requires change. Today, subscribers will still see many generic blast campaigns. However, more sophisticated technology has aided the development of advanced email marketing campaigns. These marketing efforts often incorporate personalization and individualized content, but they’re still classified as blast campaigns.

Many professionals are also using segmentation to optimize results. With this approach, marketers can dictate specific audiences for each campaign.  Again, this doesn’t diminish the campaign’s status; it’s still a blast marketing email.

That said, classic mass email marketing campaigns do not require advanced personalization or segmentation. You can still succeed with bare-bones email marketing. However, those campaigns may not produce optimal results.

Timing Your Email Marketing

So, what would a blast campaign look like in subscribers’ inboxes?

If you’re on an email list, you probably have an example! Most retail sales announcements and promotional emails are blast campaigns; in many cases, newsletters qualify as email blasts.

Beyond the content of these marketing emails, recipients should notice the timestamps of each campaign.

Your emails should account for those pesky time zones.

If your East Coast company wants a campaign delivered at 3:00 p.m., it will be delivered to Californian subscribers at 6:00 p.m. EST. Similarly, an email scheduled for 10:00 a.m. in Richmond, Virginia, won’t arrive in a San Diego, California, inbox until 1:00 p.m. (You can configure platforms for simultaneous delivery, but this may impact your email engagement!)

What Is the Best Time to Send Email Campaigns?

People playing pickleball. “What to Know: The Best Time to Send Email Campaigns.”

So, with that in mind, when should you send emails?

Multiple professionals have asked and studied this question. It’s an age-old digital marketing conundrum, and the numbers have shifted over time. However, after crunching the numbers, marketing professionals have come to the following conclusions:

  • Avoid early morning hours. Contrary to your personal beliefs, few people are eager to learn about your spectacular shoe sale at 2:00 a.m.
  • Emails are more effective when sent during standard work hours. Shoot for either before or after the lunch break. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. is a good time, as is 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Weekdays tend to be more active. Tuesdays are particularly busy days for email marketing!
  • Weekends are a gamble. Emails get lower open rates and engagement on weekends. A survey of 150 email marketing professionals indicated that Sunday is the least active day of the week, with only 4% of participants ranking it as their top pick.

Statistic Trends Aren’t Universal

Now, here’s the kicker: These are just generalizations.

Yes, most brands will see more engagement during these times.

However, there are always exceptions. As a professional, my biggest tip to anyone planning an email marketing strategy is as follows: It is better to know your target audience than to know the world’s statistics.

Some businesses operate in perpetually busy industrial sectors. Some sell to vendors during nighttime business hours. The absolute best time to send marketing emails is when your target audience is engaged. Otherwise, you’re following a crowd of other marketers catering to entirely different crowds.

A pile of assorted manga. “Takeaways: When You Should Send Your Email Marketing.” The infographic explains the optimal times to send email campaigns.

Refine Your Marketing Emails With A/B Testing

The best way to find your optimal time to send is A/B testing.

This experimental procedure pits two near-identical email campaigns against one another. The slight variation is the hypothesis. For example, one email is sent at 1:00 p.m., while the other arrives at 1:00 a.m.

A/B testing isn’t the easiest process, but it’s the most effective way to optimize your content. Most marketing services include A/B testing capabilities and tutorials, so it’s a fairly simple concept to learn. However, successful application of the process requires an analytical mind.

Why Do These Times Work?

That aside, I want to return to the main topic.

Obviously, this isn’t an exact science. Two companies in the same industry can have different conversion rates despite sending emails simultaneously. Admittedly, send time optimization is better understood through the lens of its logic.

Why do emails get the most engagement during Tuesday working hours?

Why the Day of the Week Matters

First, start with the date.

While email subscribers are a fickle bunch, most check their emails at certain times and on certain days. Many also use professional and personal email addresses interchangeably. This creates a unique interplay between customers and their email inboxes.

For many, emails are best checked in the office. This is when their inbox will have the most relevant and important messages. It’s also when they’re most likely to have some free time. (Admit it! We’ve all slacked off a bit in the office.)

Comparatively, weekend emails are likely to be ignored. People are having fun and relaxing. Exceptions exist, but checking emails for unexpected deals is a low priority for most off-the-clock subscribers!

Why the Time Matters

Now, think about the time.

People are creatures of habit. We all have a routine, and your subscribers are no exception. There are certain times — often during quiet moments — when people check their email inboxes. These include, specifically:

  • During mid-morning (beginning around 9:00 a.m.), when they first arrive at work. This is when subscribers seek out work-related emails, but your campaigns can easily fit between those gaps!
  • During the early afternoon, often after lunch. Again, users are looking for professional correspondence. Attention-grabbing subject lines during these post-lunch hours can boost your content’s visibility.
  • During the early evening, often after arriving home. This is when subscribers check personal emails. Shoot for between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Anything later than 10:00 p.m. will likely be ignored and lost in the morning shuffle.
  • Whenever an email is expected. This is a broad category, but it often falls between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Subscribers may expect a product release or welcome email. Similarly, they may be waiting for their boss to update them on a project.

Knowing these daily routines helps you earn the highest engagement! However, I always suggest that business owners look closely at their open rate data. Different industries have different standards, and every business type has its own standard work week.

What to Consider as You Optimize Your Email Marketing

An office. “Considerations: Know Before You Send.”

Ultimately, an individualized plan is always the best solution.

Businesses must find a schedule that makes sense for their staff and subscribers. They must account for time zone differences and uncontrollable individual variations between subscribers.  Sending emails — especially marketing emails — is a balancing act. While these figures are what the majority reported, you may be in that minority!

First and foremost, remember that email automation is your best friend. This native feature of most modern marketing programs automates the otherwise tedious process of sending emails. This reduces your overhead and keeps your email provider happy.

Secondly, you want to think about your past performance.

Watch Your KPIs

Even high-quality content can fall flat.

Never send an email without first looking at your statistics. Pay attention to those key performance indicators; they’re called that for a reason!

Can’t figure out where to start? Begin by considering your business goals. You can also cross-reference your site’s Google Analytics information. The highest open rates are built on the backs of well-proven data.

Questions to Ask When Finding the Best Time to Send Email Blasts

If you’re still stumped, copy these questions and use them as a guide:

  • Do I have any other marketing channels? You can easily power a successful “off-hours” email marketing push with additional content. Use social media and SMS marketing to hype up that midnight announcement!
  • Is it a holiday? I know! It sounds silly, but planning isn’t always perfect. Always double and triple-check when choosing a time to send email campaigns. Make sure you’re not sending anything important on major holidays.
  • Is it almost a holiday? Similarly, think of the overall placement of your campaigns on a calendar. Yes, that post-holiday rush is real. No, that doesn’t make December 26 a “perfect” day to send an email. People are less likely to engage with anything in the days immediately surrounding major holidays. It makes sense, too! How often do you drop everything to check your inbox the day after Christmas (or whatever your favorite holiday may be)?
  • Is there an upcoming event? For offline retail and many brick-and-mortar locations, the day of the week can be ignored if there’s an upcoming event. This falls under the “expectation” caveat. Subscribers know something is happening and expect to receive an email about it.
  • What’s the subject line? 3:00 p.m. is not the best time to send that email with a “good morning” subject line. Pay close attention to time zone differences and account for delivery delays accordingly. Similarly, always pay close attention to any holiday-specific emails. It’s easy to lose something in the shuffle of a massive content calendar! However, consumers probably won’t accept “oopsie daisies” as the excuse for why your Veterans Day email campaign showed up on November 12.
  • What type of content am I sending? Email newsletters are different from promotional announcements. Similarly, informative content differs from general content. Don’t base your content around blind adherence to numbers. Take time to consider context before you send email blasts.
  • What type of engagement do I want? Similarly, consider your goals. You can’t raise your conversion rates the same way you buffed up those engagement stats. That’s like saying you can make an apple pie with tomatoes. The best days for one campaign may be the worst time for another.
  • … Was it something I did? Finally, ask yourself if something may have happened to cause disappointing results. Let’s face it! We can’t control the world! I’m sure email marketing professionals didn’t plan for the Gmail outage that impacted 2,000 users in April 2020! More recently, some users had email access problems during the early March crash of many Meta-owned services. Sometimes, we have nothing to do with a campaign’s poor performance.

Stop Stressing About When to Send Emails

Overlapping leaves. “Make It Easy: Let a Team of Pros Handle It.”

Of course, there’s an easier way to know the perfect time to send an email.

I founded The Email Marketers to give every business owner a chance to succeed. My hand-picked team of marketing professionals will become your on-demand marketing services, and we know how to make the most of your email marketing.

Forget about what day of the week that campaign goes out! It’s not your problem; it’s ours.

Schedule a free strategy session to see how The Email Marketers can transform your email marketing strategy. I’ll discuss more than the best time to send emails. I’ll deliver a personalized plan to boost your email engagement and amplify your open rates. I won’t forget your click-through rates, either! I’ll tackle every part of your email campaign, and my team will be by your side as your business grows.