I often write about using mailing lists for blogs and one of the questions I get asked the most is what are the best day to send emails of the week.

To be honest I haven’t paid too much attention to which days my emails go out because up until now my lists were still quite young and not really giving me enough samples to draw any real conclusions.  But now that I’ve been running my mailing lists for a while I decided to take a look at my Aweber stats and see which days have been performing the best for email open rates.

The emails that I send fall into three categories:

  • Blog broadcasts go out for every three new blog posts (and I sometimes don’t post three times a week so the day varies)
  • Newsletters go out in the last few days of the month (again the the day varies month to month)
  • Extra promotions are sent as required to coordinate with other factors

For the purposes of this analysis I’ve grouped all of them together into one average figure for each day of the week.

Open Rates for Two Niche Blogs

First the stats for this blog (the y-axis on the graph is the % open rate).  As you can see Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best, but most importantly Monday and Tuesday are well below the others.  This indicates that my subscribers are probably too busy with their day jobs at the start of the week to open my emails, and so I should try to avoid those days.

My other main blog is in the IT/tech niche (again, the y-axis on the graph is the % open rate).  You can see the open rates are much different.  As it turns out I’ve never sent an email to this list on a Sunday, but Saturdays perform poorly for email open rates and weekends are my worst traffic days by a long shot.  I know that this is because the content of this blog mainly applies to IT professionals working Monday-Friday.

For the other days of the week Monday and Friday are the best performers.  This indicates that I am probably getting good “Monday morning coffee” readers and “Friday afternoon wind-down” readers, but that people are busier in the middle of the week and not able to read my emails as often.

What are Others Saying?

Darren Rowse sends his Digital Photography School newsletter on Thursdays because he has found that to be his best performing day.  I would guess that this has to do with photography being a hobby for most people, and so they are keen to read about it and get some ideas just before the weekend.

Dave Navarro emails his lists on different days – Monday mornings for his Stop Settling Newsletter which is designed to be a Monday morning “kick in the ass”, and Thursdays for his Launch Tips Newsletter.

The Email Marketing Reports website published this article on the topic, which said:

…it’s clear that simply finding some “best day of the week” or “best time of the day” to send your email is a worthy exercise, but only an initial step in optimizing your timing.

However they also make this very important point:

The reported best day for opens is rarely the same as the best day for clicks. And the best day for conversions may be different again. What are you trying to maximize?

So What Should You Do?

Firstly, don’t get hung up on which days to send email when you first start out.  Give it some thought and do a quick analysis of your content and your subscribers, but don’t get stuck on trying to get perfection.

Start sending emails and testing out different days.  If your list is big enough you can use split testing to break up your list into groups and test multiple days with each newsletter you send out, which will get you results faster.  Once you have worked out your best days you can then decide whether to rigidly stick to those days or be a bit flexible.

Finally make sure you’re reading the right stats.  If good open rates are your goal then focus on those, but if you’re trying to convert sales you may find that you can get more overall sales from a day with lower open rates.