Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In email, your timing is everything.

Timing is EverythingIn real estate, they'll tell you that success is based on only three factors: location, location, and location. It's a simple formula, and it works every time.

But you are in marketing, not real estate. And you're looking for ideas that work.

Maybe you've thought about using emails to promote your business or service. And you should be! It's fast. It's inexpensive. It's a foundation of multi-channel marketing.

But you don't want to deploy the emails yourself because you've heard that the all-powerful ISPs could decide you are a Dreaded Spammer, and then they could yank your email privileges. That would be not good, no sirree.

On the other hand, you've read that the Marketing Sherpas say for every $1 spent on email advertising you should get $43 back in sales. Sounds good. Maybe even Great! But if you don't reach that level, are you a failure? What does it take to get to that level?

Maybe you should stick with the gal what brung ya—traditional print advertising and direct mail. Maybe you should sit this one out until you have a clearer view of what to do and where to go. Maybe you need a team of expensive twenty-somethings who were born with computer mice in their grubby little hands to help you. That's when panic and doubt set in.

WHOA!Whoa, pardner! Stop a moment. Take a deep breath.

You're in marketing, right? By now you should know that there is no such thing as magic fairy dust. One person's magic fairy dust is another person's dust allergy. You need to test, record and analyze.

Timing is to email what location is to real estate. Your job as a marketer is to find the optimal time of day and day of the week to deploy your email.

So what is your "Optimal Time?" Unless you've tested, you simply don't know.

Obviously, you have to consider when your audience would be most receptive. A pizza company should do well on a Friday or Saturday night, or before the big TV football game. But a company promoting motorcycle gear might do better on a Saturday morning when people are thinking about taking a ride.

Timing is EverythingSometimes testing leads to non-intuitive results. Poolawg.com, a Colorado-based retailer of billiard supplies, tested emails every day of the week and several times during the day. After extensive analysis, they found that late Tuesday mornings worked best for them. Their open rates soared 200% and their conversion and click-through rates tripled. Michael Feiman, president, explains "Customers are far more likely to open an email if they are already online."

However, Pittsburgh-based nonprofit SponsorChange.org found that 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. got more volunteers and more donations. Why? They reason that being first in the in-box (first in the morning, first after lunch) was their winning formula.

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