We continue the series of articles about email marketing. In the first part “Effective email marketing. How to start?” we reviewed how to collect email addresses and how to segment existing contact database. Now we are going to reveal the best time and occasions when subscribers expect to get emails or when they don’t what can be also an advantage. You will also find an overview of top platforms which are used by huge and small companies all over the world.
There is a great deal of controversy when talking about the best time and day to send emails to subscribers, and, to be honest, nobody has the right answer. It all depends on the certain audience and their preferences. But anyway, here are the most common practices which are used by professional email marketing managers.
Weekday. Email marketing platforms tend to divide the recipients into several categories. First of all, it’s B2B recipients, they are employees of other companies which can purchase your products/services or any other interested parties. In this case it is more rational to send email with proposals/news/releases on weekdays because employees usually check the work emails only while being at work. The second category includes those who work around-the-clock, usually, this type includes mostly entrepreneurs. If you know that your subscribers are such kind of busy bees, send the emails on weekends or closer to the evening as other companies have already stopped sending letters by this time, so your newsletter will have more chances to be noticed and read. Finally, the last but not the least category is B2C clients. Their behaviour is far harder to predict as each customer is different. Let’s look closely at this matter.
Talking about global statistics, many companies note that customers are more likely to open emails on weekdays. The emails sent closer to the middle of a week have more chances to be opened as at the beginning of a week users are refreshed after weekends and they put all their efforts into settling their work processes and to do as much work as possible. At the end of a week subscribers are usually more tired so they may check their inbox folder more often to take their mind off work and to find some ideas on how to spend the upcoming weekend.
But we should mention that offers with food delivery, games, entertainment can also succeed on weekends and Friday night as people want to relax and enjoy their time. But in the case if the company has such business, it must make sure to have a very appealing mobile version of the website or a nice and user-friendly application as the majority of orders are made via cell phone.
Many companies send the emails in the morning to catch the user when he has just come to the office and has time to check email before getting down to work. We wouldn’t recommend doing that as your letters will risk getting into the list of “I’ll read it later” and then forgotten emails which will be deleted afterwards as the information becomes out-of-date. In addition, try to avoid sending emails right before employees leave their workplace as most likely they will decide to leave the message for the next morning but they will forget it and the letter will be sent to the trash folder after a while. An average Open Rate increases at the lunch break when users have some time to check their email and to make several clicks.
Keep in mind that after 24 hours spent in an inbox folder, chances of an email to be opened are much lower. Therefore when choosing the right day and time for email marketing, consider trying each day on different weeks to check which day has the highest Open Rate. You can make several tests to different groups of subscribers.
An example for B2C business: select 300 subscribers from one segment with approximate same characteristics. As a workweek consists of 5 days, it is needed to divide them into 5 groups of 60 people. Then just send the same email to each group at different weekdays and check which day has the highest the Open Rate. Afterwards, when you select the perfect day, repeat the test just sending at the chosen day but at different time.
Occasions for special emails
Apart from sending regular newsletters, you should include in the plan letters on special occasions which can be used for encouraging subscribers to perform some action by providing them with some special bonus or a discount.
Below is the list of most common occasions which shouldn’t be missed:
Sales. Of course, it is a must to inform all customers about upcoming sales. Other way, how would they know? They are not supposed to visit your website daily so they expect you to send them notifications about sales. Advertisers provide various coupons, creative materials, banners, create deals before the global sales so that publishers can have everything to attract hundreds of sales. Some of the global sales: Black Friday, Cyber Monday then season sales and others depending on the category of products. For example, department stores hold “Back to School” at the end of summer and traveling companies usually offer deals for early booking.
Personalized email. In this case, you let your subscribers feel that you care about them and don’t forget. It’s not about calling each recipient by their names (it actually annoys some subscribers because they understand that everything is done automatically). One of the most important types of personalized emails is congratulations on the birthday. It is a nice way to remind a subscriber about the company, especially if you provide some nice discount on this occasion. One more thing that you can do to make your mail communication more personalized is retargeting providing that advertiser allows using retargeting as a traffic source. If you have some statistics where you see which leads converted into required actions, you can send letters to those people, offering to continue shopping and providing some recommendations for next purchases.
Occasional. There are some global or country occasions which don’t happen daily or annually and that is why people are ready to spend a little more on them. For example, Olympic Games, World Cup — most of advertisers in the host country will make clothes, souvenirs, food and other stuff with symbolic of such occasions, plus they will definitely offer some special deals, giveaways, coupons and so on. Furthermore, you can look through concert schedules and check if some band/singer is coming and you can advise the subscribers going to the concert. Don’t forget to check the affiliate programs for new some special promo codes which you can also send to subscribers.
Regular. When users insert their email address and click on “I agree to receive newsletters” they usually accept receiving some certain kind of emails which you promise them. For example, the weekly selection of the cheapest Chinese goods, monthly top places to visit for the price of less than US$ 100. If you promote the travel offers, try to select the best and diverse deals every week, thus subscribers will be waiting for emails and will come back to your letters when they will start planning their vacations.
Which email platforms shall I use?
There are many various platforms which provide services of high quality, but each business should select the platform upon their needs. The most important features to pay attention to while choosing are:
List segmentation opportunities;
Analytic and testing tools;
Design of letters and templates;
Integration with your website and other third-party services;
24/7 customer service;
Platform reputation — if it’s poor, mail services can automatically consider your emails to be spam.
The pricing options usually vary depending on which functions the company is planning to use: the frequency and number of emails, the number of subscribers and for which period the company is paying. The majority of platforms offer to choose packages but some can let you select only the needed features and the pricing will be changed accordingly.
The table below compares the price for 1000, 5000 and 10 000 subscribers on the most popular email platforms: AWeber, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, VerticalResponse, Benchmark, Getresponse, SendGrid, Mad Mimi, Mailer Lite.
When choosing an email software, it’s also worth checking if a platform provides additional services as it may save your time and money. For example, Getresponse also includes in the package the opportunity to hold webinars which involves signing up forms, collection of email contacts and the webinar room. Moreover, you can create a landing page for the webinars or for some other reason through Getresponse what’s also convenient as you don’t need to do it via several services. And the last but not the least, apart from regular scheduling opportunities, you can select “perfect timing” feature which will analyze the best time when each your subscriber opens the emails and will send the letters in accordance with this information.
In the upcoming article we will pay attention to the letters design and content, plus we will compile a list of must-have letters which companies and publishers should send to their subscribers to increase loyalty and retention.