When is the best time for email marketing to reach leads? Maybe you’ve heard it’s best to send emails out during the small hours of the morning so they’re fresh and ready to read when your prospects wake up. You might have heard it’s good to aim for just before or after lunch when leads have a break in their routines that makes lead gen emails more memorable. Or maybe you’re sure it’s best to send them at the end of the day when you have less inbox competition.
It’s a bit of a trick question: There is no single ideal time for email marketing.
There is, however, a best time for your email marketing to go out. Your challenge – and the challenge for your marketing automation consultant – is to find out when that is. Marketing automation lets you test email elements, including timing, to find out which hours are golden for you.
Think about how your leads interact with you to get some preliminary ideas for when you’re most likely to get their attention. Do most of your customer service calls come in the morning? How about your site traffic: Is it heaviest in the afternoon? Once you establish these patterns, run split A/B tests to see if email marketing parallels those trends.
Different Markets, Different Clocks
Here’s where careful segmentation can also work wonders for your lead gen success. Market segments aren’t always uniform in how they respond to email. Consider how the characteristics that define segments might affect timing. Time zones are useful knowledge if you work internationally, for instance.
Different specializations within the same industry can affect timing too. A pizza parlor and a bakery both use ovens, but they’re active at very different times; the baker starts his day at 4:00 in the morning, while the pizza-maker’s at her busiest at lunchtime. Test within segments to find the ideal mailing times instead of assuming that what’s good for one group works for everyone.
After rigorous testing, you’ll probably notice another aspect of your email marketing that’s highly time-sensitive: the subject of your emails. You might find, for instance, that your leads are less receptive to subscription offers at lunchtime when they’re not yet ready to commit to filling out forms but respond well to them in the morning when they’re fresh. The same leads may give a sales-oriented message a warmer reception at noon and pass it by in the morning when their in-boxes are filled with offers.
A Movable Feast
The hour that’s golden for you today may not be the one that works as well six months from now. Marketing automation technology lets you keep testing and gives you real-time feedback so you can chase perfectly timed emails and get a more enthusiastic response for your lead gen activities.
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