Our friends in the Indian eCommerce space are gung ho about the current boom !  Never before have so many Indians – both in India and overseas filled up their shopping carts and proceeded to check out. Never have Call to Action buttons seen so much action.

 

Which brings us to one of the most important communication vehicles these propositions ride on……….daily mailers!

 

Digital direct marketing communication – your one on ones with potential buyers are not  as easy as ABC, but if you have been following our blog, you would’ve picked up the juiciest bits on email template best practices  and  set up a fantastic email template. You know the importance of deliverability and other success metrics and you are sure your recipients are definitely receiving your email campaigns….there’s just one more question you need to ask yourself…. are they reading them?

 

Some of the key considerations which email marketers must take into mind while creating a “read & respond”  campaign are:

 

  • Relevance:  making the content relevant to each recipient. If a recipient knows that when your brand arrives in their inbox, this email is definitely something they have expressed an interest in and want to read, they will act on that.
  • Segmentation: The best way to implement relevance is to effectively segment your database so you know what your customers are interested in and therefore what content will be the most relevant. You read a lot more on relevance on our blog soon!

 

You are now ready with that killer content, a solid Email Service Provider (ESP) behind you – btw choosing an ESP  can be quite a task , here’s hoping you’ve done it right , what next?

 

Ask Usain Bolt,  what the importance of timing is? No seriously, a great proposition, even with A/B split  tested subject lines and creatives  can turn horribly wrong if the timing is off . Common sense – nope …….experience !!  ( The school of hard knocks third semester )

 

A well timed campaign – other criteria remaining the same –  can work wonders on the open rates and further on the ROI of the campaign. Unfortunately, there is no formula or overall ‘ideal time slot’ which you can follow to achieve this elusive ‘golden hour’.  There are a number of factors that go in to your decision: what time is best to hit the send button? ( btw with a good ESP – it would be the Schedule button )

 

Timing – Day and hour depends on the answers to the following questions.

 

Who are your audience?

 

For a B2B audience, it doesn’t take an Einstein  to work out that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the optimum days. As we all know, Mondays are spent getting back in to the swing of work after the weekend and Friday sees offices winding down for the next weekend. Saturday and Sunday are redundant as offices are closed. Days before holidays are = Fridays and days after holidays are = Mondays irrespective of what days they fall on !

 

For B2C email marketing, timings are very different.  Very dependant on the demographic of your audience.  One can safely assume most prospects will mainly be checking their personal emails in the evenings, during lunchtimes and over the weekends. However it is best to test which brings us back to segmenting!  B2C sending can be a bit of a gamble without thorough testing of your specific target audience. Homework must be done and learnings interpreted. A great ESP will be able to deliver dynamic content with different propositions scheduled at different times of a day or even different days.

 

Is your campaign seasonal?

 

For the B2B sector, marketers must avoid sending their campaigns over school vacation season, long weekends  and of course  the many holidays that we have !

 

Again advice for the B2C sector is entirely opposite. If relevant, a seasonal approach can boost additional sales and therefore revenue. Most campaigns are timed to address seasonal offers!

 

So much for planned marketing communication…

 

However, there is another aspect to timing in direct digital communication.

 

Timing can never be as important as it is when the ‘Prospect ‘is on the verge of becoming a ‘Paying Customer’ …many a sales person have rued their chances – having communicated a little later than they should have.

 

The optimum time for any recipient to receive your communication is when they have shown an interest in your brand or product. Using Automated mails  or  trigger campaigns, based on browsing behaviour or when they last clicked on or opened an email gives you a clear indication as to when to send the email and what content to include.

 

A typical scenario of such lost opportunities would be apparent in a colleague’s recent experience  on a  very popular  online store. As he described it  “ I was on my way to check out and proceed to pay when I saw this dangling banner in the right column : Sign up for our newsletter and  get 10% off. I paused, thought I could save this 10% by signing up and using the voucher code. So I smartly opened another browser, signed up and waited for the voucher. About an hour later, neither my inbox nor my  spam folder had  any sign of  an email from these guys . I gave up hope and eventually had lost all interest in buying that item at 10% higher than I could’ve”.

 

A simple Triggered email could have, rather, should have been used here  to enable interest being converted to action  at the point when the customer is most engaged.

 

Another cyclic practice is communication with non responders. Winning back non responders should be taken up as a part of your communication calendar and a definite cog in your wheel .

While still on timing, or should I say while there is time – it would be good to remind you to look for patterns in your open and click-through rates or other email metrics. Whether certain offers work better when sent at some time or another? Are there any influences that make your campaigns more successful, like salary days ( beginning of the month ) ? Are you responding to your customers at the optimum moment?

The only way for you to determine what works best for you is to, as always, test, test, test!

 

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