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Time to Thaw—the Best Time to Send Cold Emails

Updated: February 28, 2024
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Choosing the best time to send cold emails is just as crucial to your outreach success as the emails themselves. You could endure hours of agonizing labor crafting the perfect message, only for no one to ever read it… or even open it. As mortifying as this sounds, it happens all the time.

There are many reasons why your emails might go unread. However, timing is a big one. Sending an email at the wrong time could mean the difference between grabbing someone’s attention or complete disinterest.

So when should you send cold emails?

The painfully boring answer is, it depends. It’s true: the type of industry, location of the recipient, and other elements all play a role in pinpointing just the right time to hit “send.” Join us as we navigate through these crucial factors to determine the best times for you to send your messages to ensure your cold emails get a warm reception.

Possible Hazards in Sending Cold Emails

While choosing the best time to send cold emails is a major factor in whether your recipients read your message, it’s not the only thing that can affect your open rates. There are five main elements that influence open rates and overall engagement, for better or worse:

  1. Subject Line
  2. Sender Name
  3. Send Time
  4. Email Security
  5. Spam Warnings

Cold Email Subject Lines

If you want your cold email to have any chance of being opened, your subject line has to capture your recipient’s attention. Craft subject lines that are clear, concise, and intriguing. Avoid sales-y, spammy, or pushy tones. Focus on straightforward subject lines that highlight benefits and make the email’s purpose clear. Remember, an email is a gateway to engagement.

Your Cold Email’s Sender Name

Cold emails, by definition, are emails directed at someone unfamiliar with your brand, and are a request to take action. The challenge is that the average recipient isn’t likely to read an email if they don’t know who sent it. Always include your name and contact information in the email signature, instead of using generic addresses like info@ or sales@. Use a real person’s name and email address to increase the chances of the recipient opening the email.

Best Time to Send Cold Emails

By now, you know that timing of your cold email can significantly affect open rates. Sending a message outside of regular business hours may result in your recipient missing it completely.

Remember your recipient’s time zone when sending cold emails. Avoid sending emails very early in the morning or late at night when inboxes are less likely to be checked.

Unless you specifically know the inbox-checking habits of your recipients, the best time to send cold emails is during regular business hours. During this time, people are more likely to be checking their emails, giving your message a better chance of being noticed.

Cold Email Security

People are less likely to open an email if it seems suspicious or sets off their firewall. Always use a secure email service when sending cold emails and make sure the recipient knows your digital identity.

Cold Email Spam Warnings

Low open rates could be a red flag for spam detection. Cold emails may be ignored if spam filters have blacklisted your domain. The challenge lies in email servers not being able to directly analyze messages to determine whether they are spam. Instead, they rely on user-generated signals like these:

  • Recipients marking your cold emails as spam.
  • Recipients frequently delete your emails without opening them.
  • Consistent lack of interest in your messages.

If a significant number of recipients consistently ignore your cold emails, your campaign could be blocked altogether.

The Best Time—and Day—to Send Cold Emails

While there isn’t a perfect day for everyone, the best day to send cold emails depends on your recipient’s schedule. There are some (mostly) reliable time frames on certain days that usually yield better results.

Think about how most of us check our emails. On Sundays, we’re usually focused on family time. Saturdays are for fun. Mondays are usually rough since we’re putting out fires from the weekend. Fridays are when people start mentally checking out and thinking about Saturday and Sunday. According to research, the typical best days to send cold emails are Tuesday and Thursday, with Wednesday being close behind.

Recent Studies on the Best Time to Send Cold Emails

Studies published between 2022 and 2023 tend to agree that the best days to send cold emails are mid-weekdays. However, there is some disagreement about which particular day is better.

Best Time to Send Cold Emails per Hubspot

In 2023, HubSpot surveyed over 150 US marketers to determine their best days for email engagement.

  • 24.9% preferred Tuesday
  • 22.6% preferred Monday
  • 21.3% preferred Wednesday

This is a shock, as Mondays are notoriously bad days for cold email—and any email marketing for that matter.

Best Time to Send Cold Emails per Omnisend

Omnisend analyzed three years’ worth of email campaign data from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2021. Tuesdays had the highest open rates at 11.36%. Another shocker—Fridays came in first for click-through rates at 13.58% and open rates at 5.74%

Omnisend also examined the days of the month.

  • The 10th has the best open rates.
  • The 2nd has the highest click rates.
  • The 1st is the top choice for conversion rates.

These dates may be related to the days most people receive their pay.

Best Time to Send Cold Emails per GetResponse

GetResponse analyzed 7 billion messages sent by their customers in the year 2022. The study concentrated solely on active senders with at least 500 contacts. Contradicting Omnisend’s research, GetResponse’s results showed open rates favorable on any weekday. Across all campaigns analyzed, the average open rate exceeded 26%, with Tuesdays having a slight advantage at 27.5%.

What Does It All Mean?

Clearly, what these studies prove is that there is no unanimous consensus on the best time to send a cold email. Research generally suggests that sending emails on Tuesdays during standard business hours can lead to better open rates. However, overall, it’s generally not recommended to send cold emails on weekends or at night.

Ultimately, though, the best time to send a cold email depends on your specific audience.

Best Time to Send Cold Emails to Your Recipients

The best time to send a cold email depends on factors like the recipient’s behavior, time zone, and content.

Learn Your Recipients’ Time Zones

Many businesses serve a global audience, so it’s important to consider your recipients’ time zones when choosing the best time to send cold emails. This helps you know when they’ll likely get your message.

While some email tools can help with this, not all do. If you don’t have the right software or aren’t using any, a good idea is to segment your email list by time zones. This way, you can send your message at the right time for each zone.

Get to Know Your Recipient’s Demographics

For most business emails, regular office hours are usually the best time to send cold emails. But let’s say you have a website focused on popular television shows. In that case, your audience might prefer reading your emails in their free time.

If your audience skews younger, you may consider sending emails later in the evening, due to the prevalence of smartphones.

Speaking of smartphones, the devices your recipients use matter. For example, if they use smartphones a lot, they’re likely to check emails regularly during the day. On the other hand, laptops or tablets are usually used at specific times, for certain tasks, or in specific places. Consider these differences in your cold email strategy.

Best Time to Send Cold Emails—and the Worst

Avoid sending cold emails at the end of the day when people are unwinding and less likely to respond. Lunchtime is also not ideal as people are focused on enjoying their meal. Holidays are another time to avoid sending cold emails as people are more likely to delete them while enjoying their vacation. Remember, timing is key when it comes to email etiquette.

Always, Always Conduct A/B Split Tests

A/B testing involves dividing your email list into two groups and sending slightly different versions of the same email. This helps you analyze which email resonates better with your audience.

Using A/B testing in your strategy encourages experimentation and gradual improvement in your email campaigns.
When it comes to perfecting the timing of your cold emails, A/B testing is crucial. By sending each version at different times, you can identify the most effective approach.

The Perfect Time to Find the Best Time to Send Cold Email

At the end of the day, there is no definitive answer for when exactly you should send your cold emails. Find the best time to send cold emails by experimenting with different timings and track the results to see what works best for your specific audience. Ultimately, creating compelling content will still be the key to success in cold email campaigns—but sending them at an optimal time can make all the difference.

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