When is the best time to send your b2b prospecting email?

Posted on: September 1, 2020

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Category: Prospecting

When is the best time to send your B2B prospecting email?

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Do not hit send – at least not before you’ve taken a look at this.

This is one benchmarking tool you won’t want to sleep on.

It’s based on real-life data from over 2.5 million B2B prospecting emails sent to over 70 industries in the last six months.

In an instant, you can drill into the data to see exactly when you will get the best open rates, response rates and lead rates for the sector you are just about to reach out to.

Forget broad brush strokes this is sector insight by day and by hour.

And it can make a huge difference.

  • Between the worst time to send across all industries (25.57% open rate)
    Tuesday at 15:00 (consider yourself named and shamed)
  • And the best time (35.84% open rate)
    Wednesday at 13:00 (take a bow)
  • There is a whopping 40% uplift in open rates
    (definitely worth waiting less than a day for!)

Park that outreach to the automotive sector, hold the front page on that publishing prospect and blow the whistle on your sports and leisure mail: why waste the chance to skyrocket your open rates by 40%?

Read on for invaluable insight.

What a difference a day makes: the best time to send prospecting emails by open rate and lead rate

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be drawing out insight from our Best Time to Send tool.

We’ll look at industry segments and give you instantly actionable tips that ensure you reach out to your prospects precisely when they are most receptive.

Right now, though, we’re going to break things down more generally by looking at what our latest data tells you about timing your approach to post the best results.

And the best time to send for the most opens is…

Well, we’ve already given that away with the spoiler above. 

No need for a drum roll: you already know that – across all industries – the best open rates are available at 13:00 on a Wednesday.

Yep, slap bang in the middle of the middle day of the week.

(Note to self: book a late lunch next Wednesday and schedule in some quality time with Outlook when the big hand is on One).

Open rate by day

Looking at open rates by day, there’s only a 5% variance during the week – with Tuesday (at 31%) the least effective and Friday (at 32.5%) the most.

Not really a lot in it.

And, in terms of volatility (or variance in open rates by the hour), each weekday paints a broadly similar picture of a span ranging across 7 and 10 units (e.g. from, say, 30% to 37% or 30% to 40%).

Open Rate by Day

Which is to say that the secret to posting open rate increases will not be found by preferring one day over another.

Open rate by hour

Let’s take a look now at time of day across all industries and all days.

Open Rate by Hour

Here the differences are much more marked with a clear split between mornings and afternoons.

  • That lunchtime lull seems to be very much a full-blown siesta as open rates plummet from two onwards.
  • The early bird really does catch the prospecting worm – emails sent in the morning get significantly more opens.
  • But, it’s important to note that it is not a case of the earlier the better – emails sent between 12:00 and 14:00 get by far the most views.

This overall trend varies little when applied to individual days – all show the same increase in opens in the morning and a sharp decline in the afternoon.

Open Rate by Day and Time

Each day can be almost exactly mapped on to the next.

There’s a slight mini peak before office hours that dips gently from 09:00 to 11:00 before peaking between 12:00 and 14:00. After hitting rock bottom at 15:00 things gradually recover as the afternoon passes into early evening, but the open rate remains lower at all times than at any point in the morning.  

  • The morning hours of 08:00 to 14:00 have an average open rate of 32.8%
  • Between 14:00 and 15:00 this dips to 30.6%
  • And things bottom out between 15:00 and 18:00 at an average of 26.3%

On average a prospecting mail sent in the morning will receive 25% more opens than one that is sent in the afternoon.

And, of course, without an open your chance of new business enquiries are zero.

Let’s take a look at how lead rate plays out against the time and day of sending.

And the best time to send for lead rate is…

The potential variance between lead rate and time of send is vast. 

If you thought the wins available through open rate fluctuation were impressive, then make sure you are sitting comfortably for the next stat.

  • The lowest lead rate is 1.40%
    (Friday at 16:00)
  • The highest is 4.53%
    (Monday at 10:00)
  • That’s a 224% increase
    (i.e. you will get more than treble the number of leads if you send your mail at one time rather than another)

Lead rate by day

The effect of the day alone on lead rates – as with open rates – is absolutely minimal, with just 4% variance from day to day.

Let’s see if lead rate follows a similar pattern to open rate when we consider it across all industries by hour of send.

Lead rate by hour

The shape is, indeed, familiar – but there are some distinct differences.

  • Although open rate hit a mini peak at 08:00 before dipping until 12:00 and 13:00, here we start low but peak very soon between 10:00 and 12:00.
  • By 13:00 lead rate has dropped and there is a similar trough to open rate across the afternoon.
  • Again, there is a rise toward the close of the day.

Let’s plot the two together to see this more clearly.


Here you have lead rate (in orange) overlaying open rate (in blue).

It is clearly visible that lead rate has its peak much earlier than open rate’s and that the afternoon is a comparative tumbleweed zone for both.

So, when is the best time by lead and open rate to send a prospecting mail?

Looking at data across all industries the sweetest spot, regardless of what day it is, falls between 10:00 and 13:00.

Although open rates are at their highest between 13:00 and 14:00 the likelihood of these becoming leads has diminished to such an extent that there really is no need to take a late lunch after all.

Get your prospecting done by 13:00 and you can enjoy a long – rather than late – lunch. There’s nothing happening in the afternoon.

(Assuming you have someone else in place to respond to all those enquiries pinging in, that is!)

Tell me more

In the next few posts, we’ll start interrogating the data to see if the industry variables can fine-tune this picture.

Because what really matters is not the general time that is best for prospecting but when you should be hitting send on your lead generation mails to each industry you reach out to.

Stick around, there’s loads more insight to be had.

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