What Is the Best Day to Send Emails?

Somewhere, in the world just on the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical day for sending emails. The messages sent to customers and prospects on that day get more responses and generate more revenue than any other email. There is only one problem for marketers—catching a leprechaun is easier than identifying that day

Somewhere, in the world just on the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical day for sending emails. The messages sent to customers and prospects on that day get more responses and generate more revenue than any other email. There is only one problem for marketers—catching a leprechaun is easier than identifying that day.

I know that finding that special day is important to marketers because they consistently ask me, “What is the best day to send emails?” For some consultants, this is a perfect segue into a sales pitch. Finding the best time to send emails is a project that can take months of testing. For me, the question is extremely challenging because I am not an “it depends” consultant. I am a teacher who happens to consult. Showing clients how to solve marketing problems is what I do best. My clients operate in continuous improvement mode. We work together to identify what works best and then dig deeper to improve on that.

The real answer to the question is this: The best day to send an email is the day that the recipient is most likely to act. This is not the answer people want to hear. They want a day of the week, not a response that generates more questions than answers:

  • How do we know when a person is ready to act?
  • What action should the recipient take?
  • Can’t you just tell us what our competition is doing?
  • Aren’t there best practices for choosing the day to send emails?
  • Why is this so hard?

If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it! Since it is and they don’t, doing it well gives your company a competitive edge.

How Do We Know When a Person Is Ready to Act?
People act when they have a need, real or perceived. Timing emails to match when people are most likely to act requires behavior analysis. Reviewing historical data to see what prospects and customers do before they buy gives insight into action patterns. Once the patterns have been identified, test copy and timing to find the most effective messages and delivery.

Well-crafted emails create perceived needs. Reading copy that speaks directly to the individual motivates even the toughest prospect to complete the next step. Invest in good copywriters and designers who can create messages that appeal to multiple senses. Timing becomes less important when the needs are clearly defined.

What Action Should the Recipient Take?
Most emails are blasted out to customers and prospects in hopes of generating some revenue. Products or coupons are posted in a gallery to be sent to everyone on the list. This shotgun approach gets sales so marketers keep doing it until subscribers die from email fatigue. The only actions for the recipient are to buy or not buy.

Buying action doesn’t create customer loyalty. A good email marketing strategy is designed to get people involved enough to be loyal. It includes actions like asking, learning and sharing. The ownership established by participating in a marketing program that include more than “click to buy” increases lifespan and lifetime value. Test emails that include call to actions beyond buying to see what works best for your business.

Can’t You Just Tell Us What Our Competition Is Doing?
Implementing a marketing strategy based on your competition’s activity is risky. What if your competitors aren’t testing to find the best methods? Ignoring your competitors’ activity is equally risky. What are they telling your customers and prospects? Monitor what your competitors are doing by subscribing to their emails, watching online reviews, and shopping their business (when being a secret shopper is feasible).

When people are ready to buy, email timing can determine who gets the sale. If your company is sending emails once a week and your competitors are sending them five times, then they are more likely to be in the front of the line when the buying decision is made. Find the right balance between what you know works and what your competitors are doing to keep your business in the forefront.

Aren’t There Best Practices for Choosing the Day to Send Emails?
There are always best practices. The top three have to work together to get the best results. They are:

  1. Analyze behavior to find the factors that move people into the sales funnel.
  2. Test different strategies to find the best message and delivery time.
  3. Monitor competitors for content and delivery to insure that your strategy is competitive.

In addition to monitoring specific companies, services like the Who’s Mailing What! email archive provide additional insight. Last month the email activity by day and industry was:

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

Total

Retail

15%

15%

15%

15%

18%

10%

12%

100%

B-to-B

17%

21%

20%

21%

17%

3%

2%

100%

Non-Profit Fundraising

15%

19%

13%

23%

23%

5%

3%

100%

Financial Services/ Investments

4%

9%

30%

4%

48%

0%

4%

100%

Travel

13%

21%

17%

21%

20%

6%

2%

100%

Insurance

24%

10%

19%

0%

48%

0%

0%

100%

Looking at this gives you an idea of when your customers and prospects are receiving competitive messages. You can use this information to create tests that will go head to head with the competition or you choose send times when the competition is less likely to be present.

The magical send day remains elusive, but hopefully this post helps you find the best strategy for your business. Investing the time and effort required to understand more about the things that make people buy from your business is guaranteed to deliver a good return. The more you know, the better you can serve and the less likely they will shop elsewhere.

Social CRM Starts With Best Customers

If best customers — approximately 20 percent of your customer base — account for 80 percent of sales, then one would think identifying and striving to create a unique experience for those shoppers would be the goal of nearly every marketer on the planet.

I’ve been reading a lot about social CRM recently. Lots of talk about combining data and intelligence from multiple channels, how to merge and understand structured and unstructured data, and the critical role algorithms play in helping brands anticipate a consumer’s next move. But what struck me most while reading through the numerous articles and analyst reports was the apparent lack of focus on identifying and catering to best customers.

If best customers — approximately 20 percent of your customer base — account for 80 percent of sales, then one would think identifying and striving to create a unique experience for those shoppers would be the goal of nearly every marketer on the planet.

While I’m not suggesting brands abandon their efforts to leverage social media to connect, engage and influence all consumers, I am suggesting they think more strategically around identifying best customers and creating unique and special experiences for those customers. So, how should brands approach such efforts? Start with the following basics:

  1. Listen: To build a unique and engaging experience, listen to and understand the kinds of conversations customers are having and, specifically, what they’re saying about your brand. Insights gained through listening can often identify a shared passion (be it travel, sports, music, finances, etc.) that’s essential in engaging best customers in ongoing conversations.

  2. Learn: If your brand has a loyalty program and robust data, you’re already a step ahead. If not, you’ll want to conduct some proprietary research across your best customers to understand how they use the social web, and to inform your segmentation and marketing strategy further. This research will also be critical in developing enhancements to your existing programs and developing new social programs that not only appeal to your segments, but offer value.

  3. Engage: By now you’ve gained a good understanding of your key customers and influencers. The next step is to build a truly unique and special experience for them, leveraging all touchpoints: website, email, customer service desk and presence on social networks. Take the time and effort to build a lifecycle communication program for every segment, paying attention to community management. Rethink your loyalty programs — perhaps shift your focus from promotions to rewarding best customers for participating with your brand — be it their community contributions, social network activity or brand advocacy.

  4. Influence: As you begin to engage your best customers, don’t forget the “social” in social CRM. Leverage social tools to facilitate and encourage sharing and brand advocacy. Flag and thank active customers, and reward them for their advocacy.

Finally, track and anticipate what’s coming next. The greatest benefit of focusing on your best customers is the ability to manage and execute based off the data. Amazing things begin to emerge when you not only know who your best customers are, what segment they fall in, what products they like and how often they use them, but also their email activity, loyalty/purchase activity and social activity.

By analyzing this data, leading brands can build algorithms that drive lifetime value and improve campaign and marketing performance across channels. So for all of your thinking about social CRM, remember that the first group you want socializing their experiences with your brand are your best customers. Make their experiences with your brand memorable, and arm them with incentives and tools that enable them to participate and advocate for your brand.