I'm always amazed by the fact that this question gets asked! Why? Look at the number of replies and the variation in the answers. I know when I get an email and I look at the subject and open it when I feel like it. If anyone who replied does it differently, I'd be surprised. So my answer to this question is,,,, you can't accurately predict when the person who gets your email will open it. That said send emails when it is cost effective and convenient for you and let the person at the other end worry about what they're doing. If it's urgent they'll know it's coming before they get it and they'll be waiting for it and open it right away. If you're the one who thinks it is urgent and they don't they are going to open it when they want. If I'm sending an email that it vital to someone then I call them and tell them in advance so they don't delete it. I get 300 emails a day and most never even get opened, only deleted.
You already got some amazing responses! A lot of people responded with "it all depends on the target audience" and "never Mondays or Fridays" which I agree with completely based on the results we've encountered for clients.
We find that B2C emails tend to do be most opened during leisure times like lunch or evenings. B2B does best on an early Tuesday morning, say, 8am PST so you are one of the first emails at the top of their inbox when they get in to work and still in coffee drinking mode.
As a business owner myself, I'd personally agree with Steve Ashton regarding CEO/owner level tending to open more on the weekends/Sunday as it's easiest to comb through the stuff that is not critical to business that very day it was received but still interesting stuff that I'd like to review when I have free time. Examples of this may be: product offerings, informative news regarding industries I'm involved in, etc.
It depends on your audience. We mostly email to B2B's and Tuesday's seem to be the most successful days between 9am and 12 noon. We also avoid the end of the month and the first couple of days in the new month. Here are some interesting stats from the Marketing Profs that may help at http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2012/8524/b2b-email-marketing-best-practices-and-trends.
While I generally send my monthly enewsletter out on a Tuesday or Wednesday (I also aim for the 2nd or 3rd of the month, since everyone else mails on the first), people are so inundated these days that they'll open it when they have time to read. I know from feedback that some people don't get to my newsletter for several weeks ~ or in a few cases, until the following month!
What's most critical is that you have 1) a targeted opt-in list of people who've chosen to receive email from you/your business 2) excellent content, and that you 3) keep the email as brief as possible, within the parameters of the information you need to share.
Chris Sabanty comment is the most insightful comment so far: but I presume you are talking work related. If you are operating internationally then think about timezones. As a UK based business I send bulk mailings at 2pm GMT to hit UK prospects as they come back from lunch & hit US EST at the same time (US people tend to start work earlier than European.) Never do a Monday, Friday is good for responses as people like to clear their desks at the end of a week (sorry Daryl) and then I would back Andrews assumption ... if you are tagetting CEO/owner level , I get more responses on Sundays as they pick stuff up on various devices, archive and then deal with when they have some spare time ... responding on Sundays before their next week starts.
Never email the French anytime in August.
Is it your plan to send email sporadically or to commit to a schedule of regularly distributed emails? If you are a sporadic emailer, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at 4 p.m. local time is about as close to perfect as you can get. Workers are winding down from the day, catching up on emails, setting their schedule for the next day. If you are sending emails on a regular basis, focus more on content to build a following. Once your readership is engaged, it really doesn't matter what day you distribute, they will be looking for you.
Agree on the basics from mailchimp (good service btw), but it really depends on what you are say and who the audience is, obviously things like timezone and day of the week will impact. But it boils down to the audience profile and message... are they prospects or customers, are they business or consumer? etc etc. ultimately you need to analyse when they are most likely to look at the offer you have.
for example.. People are more likely to look at special offers for restaurants at the weekend if you send something to them from the 'hump day' (Wednesday) onwards, as you get closer to friday, depending on the profile of the eatery it may have less value if you send on a Friday (say for a high end restaurant, as people going to this type of place will probably book further in advance).
So in short. Message and audience profile will determine when is best to send... happy to help if needed.
It's different for every business. For example I find my NeverColdCall.com newsletter to get a very poor response on Mondays, probably because sales reps are tied up in sales meetings and the like. You really need to test it out for your particular situation.
I agree with the above comment that time zones can matter too. Check out Campaign Monitor as a sending solution, as far as I know it's the only one that geo-tags each new subscriber by IP address and then you can send by time zone.
Well there is no perfect time. According to industry standards do not send emails on Mondays or Fridays. (At least try to avoid) Some people suggest sending early mail in the morning which allow your potential clients to see it first thing in the morning. Others suggest after the first coffee when users are more fresh. I suggest you test and monitor the results!! Hope this helps, if you still have problems let us at Studentbrands.co.za help :)
You might want to look at these charts - a few months back but interesting. http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/when-is-the-best-time-to-send-emails