What Are the Best Times to Send Cold Emails?

Melanie Balke
April 12, 2023

Writing a cold email is nerve-wracking, isn’t it?

You’re putting everything you’ve got out there — where important people can see — and you’re just hoping that someone cares. As far as email marketing goes, it’s one of the most nail-biting experiences out there.

And guess what?

You still have a long way to go when the message is written!

The process of planning and scheduling your cold email campaign is just as important as writing it. The perfect body copy doesn’t mean much if your recipient doesn’t see the message!

Before stressing yourself out, though, take a peek at today’s blog post!

I’m breaking down the best times to send cold emails. What’s the best day of the week to send your precious B2B marketing emails, and how does the clock impact your sales process? Keep scrolling to learn the answer to these questions (and more)!

What Is a Cold Email?

Overlapping foliage. "The Basics: What Is a Cold Email?"

To start with the obvious: A cold email is one of the many types of business-to-business (B2B) email marketing. As a B2B endeavor, a cold email has a different target audience from its more common business-to-consumer (B2C) campaigns. In fact, many cold emails are sent to unknown — or, per its name, “cold” — leads.

What Does “B2B Email Marketing” Mean?

As its name suggests, B2B marketing focuses on the behind-the-scenes relationships companies form with one another. Conversely, a B2C marketing campaign is meant for a broad consumer audience.

In less stuffy terms: Let’s say you’re writing two letters.

Both are meant to persuade someone to try this fantastic new chocolate. The first is for your friend, who really, really loves chocolate; this is your B2C marketing email. The second letter — your B2B example — is being sent to your uncle, who runs a candy store.

Who Are Cold Emails For?

Now, back to the main topic!

Unlike most B2C email campaigns, most cold email outreach goes to strangers. While it’s not entirely uncommon to send a cold email to an informal business acquaintance, most messages are meant for unknown business professionals.

By initiating this contact, a sender hopes to form a professional connection with the recipient.

However, the inherent distance between the sender and the recipient is the key pain point of most cold email outreach. Forming relationships is hard enough in person; adding a layer of digital anonymity on top is just begging for headaches!

To close the gap, many cold sales emails are a careful mix of a witty subject line, a catchy hook, and personalized content. And all of that is great, but you can’t make a sale if your pitch fails to land.

General Tips About Timing Your Emails

A view of the ocean from a boat. "The Basics: What Everyone Should Know."

Now that we all understand what a cold email is, it’s time to talk about time!

There are plenty of differences between B2B and B2C marketing emails — from the target audience to the tone of your messaging. But, guess what? There are still a few tips that apply to all email marketing!

Don’t Send Emails on Holidays

A Menorah. "Avoid Holidays: Don't send emails when most people won't read them."

It may seem like a silly “water is wet” statement, but some people don’t know about this essential tip!

When you’re sending emails — whether they’re B2B or B2C — you should always avoid sending important messages on holidays. That’s not to say you can’t send anything. Many brands send friendly holiday greetings on the day of the celebration, but these messages rarely include important information.

International businesses should also consider worldwide holidays. For Americans, the big holidays are Christmas (December 25), Easter, Independence Day (July 4), and Presidents’ Day. However, if you’re working internationally, consider your audience’s cultural celebrations (i.e., Boxing Day and Diwali).

Don’t Send Emails at Midnight, Either!

Overlapping foliage. "Time It Right: Don't send emails when everyone is asleep."

You’ll also want to avoid sending cold emails — or any emails, for that matter — at unnaturally late or early times. The general consensus is to time your deliveries between 5:00 AM and 7:00 PM. Otherwise, your messages are likely to be ignored.

Know Your Recipient

Sometimes, you should ignore the rules.

Many important decision-makers have atypical working hours. Some people prefer to work in the early morning, while others are night owls. Know your audience and tailor your emails to suit their schedule.

And, yes, this does mean that some emails might go out at 2:00 AM or on a holiday. It’s up to you (or your marketing team) to know the recipient, though! I can’t help you with those specifics.

Know Your Time Zone

An antique globe. "Get It Right: Know Your Target's Time Zone."

Here’s something that will surprise no one: The best time to send an email is when the recipient is awake!

The world — and even some countries — is massive, which means there are different time zones to consider. Before you start tinkering with the fine details of your email timing, ensure everyone is getting their messages in accordance with their time zone.

Let’s face it: Most people don’t want to read your marketing emails at 2:00 AM.

What Is the Best Day to Send Cold Emails?

An open notebook calendar and a penvil. "Timing Emails: What Is the Best Day of the Week?"

Before you decide on a time, you need to have a day. Obviously, you (probably) won’t be sending emails on December 25. But what about all the other perfectly good days of the year? And — more importantly — what about the days of the week?

Now, this section must be prefaced with a warning. The information I’m about to present is generalized; it won’t work for everyone. Some people have variable work schedules, which makes targeting even more essential. However, following these guidelines usually improves the outcome of a cold email campaign.

The “Big Picture” Data

Putting aside the type and content of an email, data suggests that different days yield different outcomes, namely:

  1. Tuesdays have decent performance, making them a good choice for secondary campaigns
  2. Wednesdays are neither good nor bad and have high returns for food service workers
  3. Thursdays are the most profitable day, particularly in the e-commerce field
  4. Fridays have low conversions but high click-through rates

Different industries also have different “ideal” email days. The most prevalent (and unique) example of this is the education sector, which sees better results on weekends. Sundays are especially profitable days to send cold emails to education workers.

What About B2B Emails?

Again, results will vary depending on your day and target audience.

Nonetheless, multiple studies have investigated the day-to-day results of B2B email marketing, and the results are fairly consistent. The biggest takeaway for cold email campaigns is that mid-week emails perform the best, while Mondays and Fridays often face slumping stats.

Thursdays and Tuesdays are some of the best days to send cold emails, and Thursdays tend to rake in higher response rates. Comparatively, Tuesdays have some of the highest open rates.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a low-competition day of the week, choose Mondays. Yes, that’s one of the odd days out, but the data doesn’t lie! Workers are more relaxed as the week begins, and that means they’re more likely to open your emails. Now, you won’t see the highest open rate on Monday, but you’ll see a decent amount of (eventual) replies.

What Is the Best Time to Send an Email Campaign?

A wooden hourglass. "Timing Emails: When to Send a Cold Email."

With the day out of the way, it’s time to consult your clock.

In the most general sense, you should send cold emails between 5:00 AM and 7:00 PM. In other words: Shoot for standard business hours.

Of course, nothing in marketing is that simple. There’s more nuance than that, and you’ll want to check that your recipient actually works a normal schedule. As I’ve said before — and cannot stress enough — plenty of important employees work nonstandard hours, and creating personalized emails includes verifying the recipient’s schedule.

One of the first rules of timing is choosing something that makes sense. Ergo, you want your outreach campaigns to hit inboxes when the recipients are working.

The Early Morning Sales Email

A sunrise. "The Early Bird: Try Sending Cold Emails at the Beginning of the Work Day."

Along these lines, one of the best times to send cold emails is, surprisingly, around 8:00 AM! At this point, most people are sitting at their desks and starting the day. They’re looking for anything they’ve missed, and they’re probably still a coffee or two away from being fully awake.

All of these factors add up to a massive win for marketers!

Some clever subject lines can turn these early messages into eye-catching open rates. And you’re not limited to that first hour, either. Studies by Adobe (yes, as in the Photoshop people) show that the slow morning hours of 8:00–10:00 AM all perform well.

Some studies have shown positive results as early as 5:00 AM, but that depends on the recipient. Early birds will love these emails, while night owls are unlikely to even notice them. To make a long story short: Choose the time slot that matches your recipient’s lifestyle.

This is, of course, assuming you’re sending emails during the week and not on the weekend…

Beating the Rush

A burger. "Later Gators: Catch the lunch rush crowd with afternoon emails."

Now, the problem with success is that everyone wants to imitate it. The early morning email campaign will get results, but it also faces stiff competition.

Want to avoid drowning in your competition’s messages? Think outside the box!

Afternoon emails — more specifically, those sent between 2:00–4:00 PM — are similarly engaging and have less competition. However, you’ll need more cunning to secure a slice of this segment’s slightly lower click-through rate. You should also get your best marketer on board to really refine those call-to-action links!

The Late Risers

Finally, you can catch plenty of industry leaders by contacting them at the end of the day. These entries on your email list should be targeted between 4:00–8:00 PM, just as they leave the office.

Now, unlike early emails, these end-of-the-day messages are risky. So, I can’t stress the importance of knowing your audience enough!

What Does It Mean?

Overlapping foliage. "What It Means: Wrapping Things Up."

So, what is the best time to send a cold email?

Honestly, there’s no single answer. People are not homogenous, and everyone has different habits. The optimal time for one person may be the worst time for another! Likewise, the goal of your campaign plays a crucial role in timing your content.

Email marketing is hard! There’s no way to avoid that fact.

Fortunately, The Email Marketers can help. My team of experts knows everything about reaching inboxes, and we can analyze the data for you. Together, we can amplify your email open rates and supercharge your marketing.

Ready to get started?

Give me a call, and we’ll schedule a free strategy session with you. And don’t forget to check out my other blog posts while you wait.