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Get personal with individual email timing

Meet Marc. He is a 42-year old accountant, married and 2 kids. Marc likes volleyball and tech gadgets. And say ‘hi’ to Anna, she’s 22 and goes to college. Anna is bunking up with her best friend in a 2-room student flat. She works at the local flower shop during the weekend and likes to enjoy student life on weeknights.

Let’s say you are running a supermarket, and you’re having a 50% discount on potatoes. The message is the same for both personas, but the timing to send them your message isn’t. Marc is a family man and does his groceries on Friday night or Saturday. Those are the days that Anna is either working or setting the dancefloor afire at some student party. Most likely, she’ll be doing her groceries on Monday or Tuesday.

That’s exactly why sending out a generic campaign isn’t a good fit for both of them.
The solution? Discover individual e-mail timing.

20150924_generic_vs_individualIndividual email timing is nothing more than adapting the timing of your message to exact moments, so it becomes relevant to your recipients. Ask yourself, what is most important: the content of your message or the context you bring your message in. Let’s be frank: great content is pointless when it’s not relevant at the time of sending. So knowing exactly when great content matches with maximum relevance is crucial for success. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind...

1. Use your sign-up form
In the example above, add a dropdown menu to your form to ask people when they mostly shop for groceries. A clever and easy way to determine exact send timings.

2. Apply demographic interpretation
If you have demographic data you can start building personas and segment your database to whoever fits a certain profile. Then attribute a specific timing to each segment.

3. Learn from email reporting
Test when people interact with your email individually. And yes, this takes time. But start by sending on different days, to test which day works best for your client. Then you can take it to the next level by differentiating the time of day.

4. Consult your purchase data
When you have an online shop, you can clearly see which personas buy at which specific time. By doing so, you can adapt your timing to each segment.

Once you’ve pinpointed the best time for each customer, you can carefully plan the sending time for each segment. In some cases, it’s even possible to couple individual timing with conditional personalization of content. Not all ESP’s have this function, but with automation evolving rapidly, it will soon become standard.


Can you automate the timing? Start analyzing and building up segments and personas to time your email messages. Don’t have an email timing function? Ask for your contacts’ preferences in your sign-up form, and start building segments.

Posted on
Sep 22, 2015