RAAK_Blog-Header_ Inbound Marketing

Does ‘the best timing to send an email' exist at all?

Whether you are a marketing director or an online manager, whether you work at an agency or are on the client side, you'll probably have asked yourself ‘when is the best time to send a newsletter?'

Good email timing does indeed have an effect on the performance of your campaign. But come to think about it: is doing an A/B test on the perfect timing for your email campaign the best you can do? We doubt it.

Let us give you some context. We were in a meeting with a prospect who said to have tested their email performance on 30 different moments in time. They found out that their campaign peaked on Friday at four in the afternoon. We congratulated him on the effort invested, but left him staggered when we asked him if ‘he was 100% certain this was the most reliable way to go'?

To be frank, even though few companies do this kind of thorough send-time testing, it is a key driver in email marketing. But finding out that the perfect timing is Friday at four in the afternoon, is only relevant for the company you are working for, not for the people you are mailing to. Knowing the best timing only says: if I handpick 10 people from my database, I can only guess that Friday afternoon at 16:00 sharp works best. 

It ‘s hardly a secret that the best digital experience is a personalized one. We personalize salutations, content, CTA's, … but why aren't we doing that for email timing?  You'll probably know the technique under the term drip marketing. We already talked about that strategy 2 years ago. 

Ready to start personalizing your email timing? Just check out these 5 tips…

  1. Kick off with a basic testing strategy to plan your next couple of campaigns. You can follow one of our previous posts on the subject to get started.
  2. Start gathering the open/clicks/conversions, whatever your KPI is, on a personal level, not on a campaign level.
  3. Track your chosen KPI back to your end user in your database. You should be able to open up any contact in your database and see their interactions with a timestamp.
  4. Eventually you'll see a clear pattern emerging when that specific contact interacts via email with your brand. Pinpoint the best time for each contact (ask your database partner for assistance, should you need it)
  5. Stop your ‘blasting' campaign. Focus on drip campaigns, which are triggered on the best timing per person.

Bonus tip 1: Using a benchmark to base your timing upon? Stop doing that immediately, and start finding out what timing is best for your receiver.

Bonus tip 2: Want to go for a permanent setup? Install an analysis tool which measures the KPI's and adapts the timings automatically.

Conclusion

Email timing 1.0 was still about blasting. 2.0 was more about thoughtful timing. Email timing 3.0 is about tailoring the send-time according to your reader's needs. If you successfully implemented the above, know that you solved a part of your big data challenge, because you analyzed a whole lot of data, and delivered an easy output. 

Posted on
Jun 24, 2013