Email: Getting the Timing Right

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GRAPHICMAIL – The clock is always ticking in email marketing campaigns. If you want to connect with prospects in today’s crowded marketplace, you have to make sure you’re sending the right message at the right time.

But with email checking habits varying from person to person, how can you determine that exact moment when recipients are most engaged, most likely to be in their inboxes and most likely to take the action you want?

Sending timely, relevant content is critical in a landscape in which most people on a website are just there to research (though many of them will eventually buy from you or a competitor). This means you have to listen, you have to educate, and you have to help them on their conversions path – all at the right moment in the purchase cycle.

Many bulk email marketers try to bypass reality by relying on applying an urgent calls-to-action on everything they send. But this strategy can backfire if your emails hit the inbox at the wrong time or if you are not allowing a sufficient period for subscribers to read and react.

So here are a few of our favorite ways to achieve optimal synchronization with customers’ time preferences and requirements:

Provide advance notice — If you’re sending out an on-the-day sales event notice then you can expect the majority of subscribers may not even be able to read it or take action before it’s all over. While you might not want to let your competitors know too early about your special events, you also want to give your customers a chance to shop before its history. It’s up to you to find where this fine balance point is.

Specify dates and times — While the phrase “Special offer today only!” has a lot of zing to it, the first question your audience might be asking is; just when exactly is “today.” Remember that many of your customers may only be opening the email days after you’ve dispatched it, and then it’s either already too late, or even worse, it’s not too late but a lack of basic information is preventing them from purchasing.

Send at the time that people usually respond — You can track your responses by time and so understand when customers may be more likely to be opening your emails. By analysing the timing data, you can group individuals who habitually open and/or click at specific dates and times and then be able to better optimise your sending timing to that specific segment of email subscribers.

Adjusting for buying cycles can be particularly tricky, since they vary due to many different reasons. But you can change your email timing from guesswork to fact and improve your general response rate by following these tips.

Cross-published at the GraphicMail blog.

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