Email newsletters form a central part of any cohesive digital marketing strategy.
These subscription-based initiatives drive brand awareness, increase visibility, and facilitate open and honest communication between brands and consumers.
But to get the most out of newsletter marketing, you need to maximize your newsletter open rate. This is why email newsletter frequency and timing are so important.
How often should you send out a newsletter?
It can be tempting to send out a newsletter every time a new idea hits or every time you have a minor announcement, but it’s best to practice restraint.
On average, the best frequency for newsletters are no more than twice a week and at least once a month.
In fact, more and more consumers want to receive emails from brands.
61% of consumers want to see at least one email a week from brands they follow.
So sending out a weekly newsletter is what most audiences want.
What’s the best day to send a newsletter?
Our research shows that the best day to send a newsletter is on a weekday. This is when most people are at work and where we see the highest number of email opens.
The very best email open rates (22%) occur on Mondays, but as you can see from the table below, there isn’t too much variation among the weekdays.
|Day of the week||Open Rate||Click-Through Rate||Click-to-Open Rate||Unsubscribe Rate|
The worst days to send marketing emails are on the weekend. But again, the difference in open rates between the weekend and weekdays is pretty marginal.
What about the best time to send a newsletter?
The highest email open rates occur during regular working hours before tapering off into the evening.
In fact, our data shows that around 53% of email opens take place between 9 am and 5 pm, excluding lunchtime. Of the remaining emails, 16% are opened between midnight and 8 am, 7% during lunchtime, and 24% between 6 pm and 11 pm.
When it comes to which specific hour of the day has the highest open rates, research gathered by SuperOffice suggests that sending an email at 3 pm is your best bet.
What’s a good newsletter open rate?
It’s important to appreciate that average open rates can vary depending on your particular industry and niche and even on the countries you’re sending emails to.
But, as a general benchmark, you should aim for a 21.5% email open rate.
The following table shows the average open rates across different industries in 2021:
|Industry||Open Rates||Click-Through Rates||Click-To-Open Rates||Unsubscribe Rates|
|Advertising & Marketing||20.5%||1.8%||9.0%||0.2%|
|Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting||27.3%||3.4%||12.5%||0.3%|
|Consumer Packaged Goods||20%||1.9%||11.1%||0.1%|
|Restaurant, Food & Beverage||18.5%||2.0%||10.5%||0.1%|
|Government & Politics||19.4%||2.8%||14.3%||0.1%|
|Logistics & Wholesale||23.4%||2.0%||11.7%||0.3%|
|Media, Entertainment, Publishing||23.9%||2.9%||12.4%||0.1%|
|Real Estate, Design, Construction||21.7%||3.6%||17.2%||0.2%|
|Travel, Hospitality, Leisure||20.2%||1.4%||8.7%||0.2%|
|Wellness & Fitness||19.2%||1.2%||6.0%||0.4%|
Clearly, what counts as a good open rate varies significantly from industry to industry. For example, email marketers in the education industry can expect a significant 28.5% open rate, while those working in the retail industry can expect a more modest 17.1% open rate.
Remember that a high open rate isn’t the be-all and end-all of a successful email marketing campaign. You should always interpret your open rate in relation to other key email marketing metrics, such as click-through rate, click-to-open rate, and unsubscribe rate. If your newsletter open rate is high, but so is your unsubscribe rate, then maybe your readers don’t think your content is relevant enough.
Test and see what works best for your audience
While it’s helpful to use existing research as a starting point, the only way to truly tell what day and time is optimal for sending your newsletter is to run some A/B tests to see what works best with your specific audience.
Email A/B testing involves sending one variation of your newsletter to one subset of your subscriber list and another variation to another subset of your list and then determining which version of the newsletter gets the best engagement.
In the context of trying to determine the best time to send your newsletter, this means sending your newsletter to one subset at time/day X and to another subset at time/day Y. You can then compare the two to see which yields the best open and click-through rates.
It’s also a good idea to run tests to determine the sweet spot for the frequency of your emails. If you currently send a monthly newsletter, why not experiment with a weekly newsletter? Or if you already send weekly newsletters, why not try daily emails?
Whenever you run email A/B tests, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your unsubscribe rate and spam complaints. If these rise dramatically, it may be time to cut back to more moderate experiments.
A/B testing your email campaigns with Campaign Monitor couldn’t be easier. Our email builder lets you create two variations of your newsletter, which will then be sent automatically to two subsets of your email list. Once the test has run its course, the best-performing variation will automatically be sent to the rest of your subscribers.
As with any type of email, the frequency and timing of your newsletter play a significant role in whether it gets opened.
We’ve seen that subscribers like to receive newsletter emails at most twice a week and at least once a month. In general, weekdays are the best time to send a newsletter, and there’s some evidence to suggest that sending your subscribers an email at mid-afternoon will maximize your open rate.
However, there’s simply no substitute for testing when it comes to figuring out how frequently and at what times you should send your newsletters. Every subscriber list is different, and what might work best for one audience may not work so well with another.
Wondering how to improve your email marketing? Try our Get Your Score tool! It’ll show how your metrics compare to others in your industry, and tips on how to improve your metrics.