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Want to know the best time to send emails? Here it is.

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Pretty much every salesperson or marketer who has ever sent an email to a potential customer has had this thought: if I send this now, will it hit their mailbox at the right time to get a response? Communication with your current or potential customers, sending newsletters or lead nurturing – for all of them, the timing is crucial.

In outbound sales, there is nothing more important than proper timing. This is because improving any part of the entire process can lead to more sales and revenue. The outcomes of your cold email campaigns have the biggest impact on your overall results, partially because they come so early in the process and partially because they are not set in stone. And this is why it is crucial to know: what is the best time to send emails?

This article is the answer to this burning question. If you are too busy to read the whole thing, feel free to jump straight to Growbots Sending Time Optimizer.

Why is it so important to know the best time to send an email?

Automating this process costs nothing, and finding the best time to send emails can be one of the easiest ways to improve your positive response rates while also generating more revenue. For instance, there have been cases where the time of day your email is received can mean the difference between a 2% positive response rate and a 4% positive response rate

Just by sending your emails at the optimal time, you can effectively double the revenue generated from a campaign without any extra effort. While this is a great idea in theory, most companies simply haven’t tested every variation to discover the best time to effectively reach the customer

Of course, big data sets can be incredibly useful to help find trends that normally would go unseen by someone working with limited information. So when you want to find the best time to send emails, it is a good idea to look through the hundreds or few thousand you have already sent. A better idea though, is to take advantage of what we have learned from the over 1,000,000  email campaigns sent using our platform

When looking for the best time to send emails, concentrate on what you can predict and don’t worry about what you can’t?

As far as we’re concerned, there are two different factors that can affect the best time to send emails.

Factors that you can’t predict

We have all been in a position where a sure thing turns out to be anything but, spending hours crafting a personal message, testing it so that you know it converts, and choosing a prospect that matches your customer profile 100%, but yet, you receive no response. Why does that happen? More often than not, an external circumstance keeps them from responding to you. Maybe:

    1. They just bought new software.
    2. Your prospect is overloaded with other projects and activities.
    3. You are selling leads and their PR campaign just went viral, so they have more leads they can handle.
    4. Your prospect is having a bad day because (insert reason here).
    5. Your prospect’s cat has health issues…

No matter how perfect your pitch, there could be a thousand reasons you get pushed to the back burner, but nothing can be done about it, so try not to lose sleep over it.

Pro tip: Don’t push too hard if it’s obvious that someone doesn’t have the time to respond to you. Try to be considerate, but continue to follow up with the contact on a regular basis to see whether the condition changed or not.

Of course, I’m not telling you to give up on trying to improve your tactics. Instead, stop trying to change the things you don’t know much about and concentrate on the things you know you can change.

Factors that you have good information about

Predicting the specific circumstances a prospect might be experiencing when they receive your message is impossible, but don’t give up on optimizing when the emails for your campaign are sent.

When you get right down to it, we are all creatures of habit. We tend to fall into a routine of performing certain tasks at similar times. If you don’t believe me, just ask around your office to find out when most people clear out their emails. For most, it is the first thing they do when they get to work.

If we apply that rationale to email delivery times, sending at the wrong time causes your email to go unread. You probably don’t check your email when you are with you family, for instance, and any emails you receive during this time just get lost in your inbox. On the other hand, when you receive an email in the right conditions, you’re more likely to respond to it right away.

But not everyone has dinner, meetings, or finishes at the office at the same time every day. It would be impossible to optimize your email conversion rate by painting everybody with the same brush in this way. There are many factors which determine when a person is more or less likely to respond to your messages (the size of the company, the industry they work in, and the country they come from – among others).

You want to find the best time to send emails to your specific prospect, not just a day that is good for everybody.

There has been research done in the past on the best day to send emails (eg. Tuesdays are the best), but it hasn’t gone any deeper than that. As avid practitioners of outbound sales, we had been relying on these kinds of insights to optimize the open rates of our emails. At the same time, we were suspicious that they didn’t reveal the whole story. After all, presumably a CEO in Singapore has different work habits than an HR director in Chicago.

So we decided to do some research of our own. Growbots has a platform which automates both the prospecting for and the sending of email campaigns. This means that we had a treasure trove of data including prospect demographics, sending times, and the success rate of campaigns. This is the perfect data set for finding the best time to send emails.

Over one million email campaigns have been sent using our platform and we were able to analyze how successful our users have been at timing their campaigns for different demographics. By using this data, we were able to find the optimal time to target different demographic groups and achieving the best email conversion rates.

Of course, we couldn’t sit on this data for too long without sharing it. To make it easily accessible, we used machine learning to create the Growbots Sending Time Optimizer. Using this free tool, you can find the best sending times for the exact demographics of your prospects.

The Growbots Sending Time Optimizer will tell you the best time to send emails

The Growbots Sending Time Optimizer works on a basic premise: different segments of prospects are more likely to respond to your email campaign at certain times of day, and different days of the week. So what difference does it make if you optimize the timing of your campaign for each segment of prospects? Take this finding:

If you reach out to a Marketing Manager of a medium-sized company in the Finance industry, your cold email campaign has a 2.2% chance of converting when sent on Thursday at 5:45 PM (when they are in the process of leaving the office after busy day), while there is a 4.3% chance of your campaign converting when sent at 8:45 AM on Friday (when they want to clean their inbox before the weekend).

If you put those numbers into our outbound calculator, you will find that simply by changing the time you contact the prospect, you can easily double the revenue from an outbound campaign. Of course, these times are only true for that particular market segment.

To improve your email conversion rate, you need to optimize for the persona you are targeting.

In this example, we used the persona of our tech CEO in Europe, Charlie. Here is a graph of how well messages sent to him convert over the course of the week, based on when they are sent:

Growbot email send optimizer1

Two initial points can be deduced from this chart

  • The probability that he will open your message is not constant throughout the day or week.
  • There is a pattern to when he opens your email

Let’s take a closer look at what we see here.

Probably the biggest thing that you notice is that Charlie most often to responds in the middle of the week, on Wednesday. His peak response time is early, at 9:30 AM. As a European, Charlie gets to work a bit later, but he is most responsive to emails when he is clearing out his inbox in the morning and when the week is already in full swing.

Now let’s see what happens when we keep all other criteria the same but move Charlie to the west coast of the US:

Growbot email send optimizer

There are a few differences, the most visible being there are two peaks. The first is on Tuesday around 11:45 AM and the other one is on Wednesday around 11 AM. From then on, the peaks taper off for the rest of the week.

Charlie is a Silicon Valley early riser, so he is more likely to respond to emails sent the night before, since he clears out his mailbox very early in the morning. At around 7 AM, though, he becomes busy with his daily activities. After Charlie finishes his morning work, just before noon, he regains his high receptiveness. Basically, he’s more likely to reply to morning emails than emails sent the previous night.

What we changed in Charlie’s profile is only the country he lives in – the results differ a lot though. What happens if we change the industry he works in?

Go ahead and play around with Growbots Sending Time Optimizer. It’s time to empower your email campaign with the right timing.

Published on June 8, 2017
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