“What time should I send my B2B marketing emails?”
At Pardot, that’s a question we hear a lot — but there’s no “one size fits all” answer. Fortunately, however, it’s actually very simple to get an answer specific to your company.
Start by pulling reports of your email open rates from the past six months, and then use the worksheet below to create a couple quick scatter plots based on open rates. Most likely, there won’t be a single send-time that is optimal for all of your prospects, so consider segmenting your lists by time of open — for example, “opened between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.” versus “opened between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.”). When you look at these segments more closely, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to determine the best send time for each grouping.
If you want to get even more granular, print out several copies of the worksheet and fill it out for different types of emails (e.g., newsletters, event invitations, etc.). You may find, for example, that people are more likely to open certain types of emails in the morning and others in the afternoon.
More Things to Consider
There’s nothing like using your own historical data to determine what works best — but it certainly doesn’t hurt to brush up on general B2B email marketing best practices. Here are a few more factors to consider when you’re sending business emails.
Weekdays vs. Weekends
Especially in the B2B world, weekends aren’t the best time to send successful emails — and because inboxes often accumulate a ton of messages over the weekend, emails sent on Monday (when people are trying to catch up) might get less attention. Similarly, people tend to “check out” on Friday and ignore emails that aren’t urgent. For a closer look at how this affects open rates, take a look at MailChimp’s research on average open rates by day of the week.
If you live in the United States, you already know Americans probably won’t be checking their business emails on the Fourth of July. But what if you work for an international company? Chances are, you don’t know every single holiday celebrated across the globe, so be sure to do your research.
Whether you’re sending emails to people across the country or across the world, make sure you’re taking local time into consideration. If you do business in multiple time zones, try segmenting your lists based on location — that way your optimal send time won’t be skewed by what erroneously appear to be late-night email opens.
Just because someone opened your email doesn’t mean they read it. I recommend using marketing automation to take a deeper dive into your top-performing emails’ engagement levels. How many people actually read them (i.e., had them open for 10+ seconds), and how many just glanced at them? For example, if you find that people are more likely to open your emails in the afternoon but less likely to spend time reading them, you may want to adjust your send time.
Here’s what email engagement and activity reports look like in Pardot:
Do you have any other strategies for optimizing your email send times? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions, and success stories in the comments. Plus, if you’d like more worksheets to help you make the most of your email marketing strategy, click the banner below to download The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing.