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Chris Webb, QA SpecialistMarch 3, 20214 min read

The Best Time To Send An Email According To 10 Years of Data

sending emails

Each day, the average office worker receives 120 emails, and over 306.4 billion emails are sent worldwide1. These figures might feel a bit overwhelming, but not surprising given email's amazing ROI, accessibility and an increasingly mobile world. But in this opportunity lies some bigger questions for anyone using email marketing; standing out in a crowd of 306.4 billion is no easy task.

So, where to start? Just where you'd expect: getting someone to open your email. That's it - just getting them to open it. And you'd be surprised how many things influence this, given that they haven't seen your email's body content yet. Everything from the subject line of your email, how well the recipient recognizes you or your brokerage or brand, how often you email them, and a host of other factors. But possibly the most important factor is also the one that most of us may get wrong:

When should I send?

When do you send emails typically? If you're like me, you send most of your emails during weekday business hours. I grew up in the 80's, and still remember how intrusive it felt to have a telemarketer call during dinner, or a really late knock on the door. I think most of us still use "business hours" etiquette, whether it's phone calls, texts, or emails. A quick look at a week of emails sent from rezora shows this in our sending habits:

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Each day shows a generally "normal" distribution of emails during business hours, with the most frequent time period for sends being around 10AM. Around 75% of emails sent from rezora are sent between 9 AM and 5 PM, and most emails are sent on weekdays, gradually increasing as the weekend approaches. And this feels like common sense: send your emails after someone has their morning coffee, or before they head home for the day. It's only polite, right?

Here's where things get interesting though - let's take a closer look at a typical Tuesday, and which times have the best open rates:

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And the trend shown above holds true every day: the best open rates are not associated with emails sent during business hours, but rather with the emails sent early morning or late evening.

What gives?

It comes down to a discrepancy between when we typically send emails, and when we are most receptive to engaging with them as recipients. Think about your average weekday. For me (and for many people2), it's not during the day at all: it's at night before I sleep, or first thing in the morning when I wake up. During the day, I receive a lot of emails, and I have less time to really engage with them while I'm working or busy. But in my downtime, I'm less distracted, and have more time to really engage with emails, notifications, etc. I might be in bed in the morning or sitting on a couch in the evening enjoying the quiet opportunity to catch up from the day.

As with so many things in real estate, it comes down to location. In this case, your email’s position in the recipient’s inbox. Your most recently received emails are on top, and this provides a boost to their open rate over those "below the fold", so to speak. Recipients generally spend less and less time looking at emails as they work their way down, so you want to be on top.

So, when should I send?

The perfect time to send your email is just before the recipient is most likely engaging with their emails. How much of a difference does this make? A lot as it turns out: up to 58% more people could see your email's content by changing nothing but the send time. So, when should you send? In general, the highest open rates occur in the evenings, particularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Want to really stand out? Try a Sunday evening around 10 PM. You'll also likely not be disappointed with the results if you aim for the 5 AM weekday "bump", and your click-through rate will often see an increase then too.

Now, that's not to say that emails sent at other times always underperform - each person's contacts are different, and your particular audience might engage best during the day. The type of content also matters - people engage with listing-centered marketing a bit differently than how they engage with more general content. It's best to use email marketing tools to check when your recipients are actually opening your emails, and then begin to send just before that time.

This is generally the approach to email marketing that we advocate at rezora: start with some best practices, view the results and use them to make small effective changes over time to improve. Focus on your send days/times, send frequency, subject lines, and building a strong, engaged sphere of contacts -- all of these are the most important things that influence whether someone sees and opens your email.

Emailing someone outside of business hours may feel risky, but email is special. Unlike a phone call or a knock at the door, people don't mind getting an email in the early morning or evening. Emails wait quietly in your inbox until you're ready for them - very polite indeed