How to Get Your E-Newsletter Read: Timing Matters

By Madeline Jacobson

In an earlier post, we talked about the importance of crafting a great subject line for your e-newsletter, so we figured we should talk about the importance of timing when you’re sending out that newsletter. The truth is, you can have the pithiest or most intriguing subject line ever, but it won’t matter if you send it at the wrong time and it gets buried in your readers’ inbox.

When Shouldn’t You Send Your E-Newsletter?

If you’re working diligently on your newsletter into the late hours of the night and hit send on your masterpiece at 3am, you’ve sent it off into the Dead Zone. Studies on email open and click rates show that sending emails between 10 pm and 6 pm is an ineffective strategy because people aren’t checking their email late at night or early in the morning. Plus, your email is likely to get buried amidst all the other emails sent after your reader logs out in the evening and before they look at their inbox in the morning.

While some businesses might think that a prime time to send their e-newsletter is in the middle of the day, between noon and 2, this time period also has a relatively low open rate for marketing emails. Sure, a lot of people are on their lunch breaks and looking at their phones or browsing the web, but they’re more likely to look at news or, say, play an addictive downloadable game than they are to look at promotional material.

As far as days of the week go, Saturday and Sunday are the worst for sending e-newsletters because people are more likely to be out doing weekend activities away from their computers.

So…When Should You Send Your E-Newsletter?

There’s no exact science that can tell you the best day and hour to send your e-newsletter to your particular audience (although marketing analysts sure are trying). However, there are a few general trends that you should pay attention to.

The highest email open rates are in the middle of the week—Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday—with Thursday having the highest overall rate by a narrow margin.

Between 2pm and 5pm tends to be a good time to send e-newsletters, because readers may experience a lull in their workday after lunch and be more inclined to read material that’s not strictly related to their job. After work hours is best for sending out “consumer promotions” about discounts and special events, but it may also be a good time to send an e-newsletter if you’re in a leisure-related business, like hotels or outdoor sports.

How Do You Figure Out the Best Time for Your E-Newsletter?

Know your industry. This may sound like an obvious point, but be aware of how the industry you’re in can affect e-newsletter open rates. For example, early in the workday people tend to be more receptive to opening emails related to leisure-based topics, such as an e-newsletter from a travel company or a yoga studio. People are more likely to open e-newsletters related to topics that may involve a bigger investment and require more consideration, such as insurance and education, after work (between about 7pm and 9pm). Think about why people might be interested in reading your e-newsletter, then put yourself in their shoes and think about what time of day you’d be most likely to read that material.

Know your target audience. It’s also essential to know what kinds of people you’re targeting your e-newsletter towards and to think about when they are most likely to be checking their email. For example, if you’re targeting people who work in the automotive industry, they may be less likely to have time to check their email during the work day than people who work in marketing. Figure out who you most want to reach and look at general email opening trends for their demographics.

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