In Email Marketing, as in Life, Timing is Everything

Here we look at how RITE applies to your email marketing, specifically Timing and Engagement.

T is for Timely

In email marketing timing is everything. You don’t want to be sending emails to your audience at a time when they won’t be at their inboxes with a chance to open and read your email.

Timely means reaching their inbox at the right time: when they have time to read it.

Your customer’s journey used to be nice and tidy and follow the route of AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. It’s no longer so linear and is more like flight of the bumblebee. Your customer will have looked at up to a dozen sources of information, including testimonials, what you’ve said about the product, what a third-party review site said and so on. For a new purchase online, they want to be as sure as possible that you won’t rip them off or disappoint them.

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At every stage along this journey, you need different types of content and emails, not just a one size fits all. How much do you know about your customer’s journey?

When you send is really important.

Think about when you’re most busy. Think about when when they are most busy. If you’re not sure, ask. Them, colleagues, others in the industry. But ask.

You could have created the most beautiful, well-crafted email full of helpful content, but if you send it at 2.45 on a Friday when someone is shutting up the office to collect the kids, they won’t read it.

By Monday morning their inbox will be full again and your email will have fallen down the waterfall.

T is for Timely - Being Timely With Your Email Marketing

Where is your email read?

Another factor is locationwhere are they reading your campaign. This could be on their smartphone on the Tube on the way home, when they skim through their emails on Thursday evenings, or a Wednesday lunchtime when they sit down to read their messages.

Do they know, like and trust you? Are you a named sender?

Another factor is their frame of mind. They may have a heavy workload, other (personal) priorities or they’re just not receptive at the present time.

From time to time we all get overwhelmed and clear our inboxes.

E is for Engaging 

You want to share information that is truly interesting and relevant to the reader.

This is what you should always aim for in your email marketing – to get as close as possible to your readers and so they feel listened to and understood – but it’s okay to take time experimenting. Many email marketing software platforms allow you to test different aspects of your email campaigns. You can experiment on a small slice of your mailing list, then select the winning formula.

Email Copy

It’s important that email copy is engaging too. Are your readers industry insiders? Do you have acronyms, jargon or terminology that everyone ‘in the know’ uses and feels comfortable with? Use it if it will bring you closer together.

Are your readers formal or informal? They may welcome a style or tone of voice that is warm and friendly. They may prefer a more formal approach. Some research into your customers, who they are and what they like will help you to get this right.

There is no set limit to the length of your email campaigns – it will depend on the format or purpose of the campaign. Carefully structure the copy, though, so it’s easy to read and easy to scan, just as you would with web copy or a blog.

Subject Line

The subject line needs to appeal to their self-interest and be relevant to them.

This may be targeted to a small group, such as this one from Boden to sell a T-shirt: “No horses’ heads here” is from The Godfather films. People of a certain age will recognise the reference and remember that became a saying and a bit of joke. Here, the recipient is going to be over the age of 40. Using an appropriate graphic alongside it will also help.

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Why not start here

In Email Marketing Timing is Everything: Are you already sending email campaigns? If you are using any of the common email marketing software platforms you will find reports on the days and times your campaigns were opened.

Go one step further. Test different send times to see which has the highest open rate.

Are your readers (customers and prospects) on social media? If you’re unsure of the best days or times to send them email campaigns, have a look on social media. All platforms will indicate the time of day your audience is ‘reacting’. The times of day that they’re on Facebook and looking at your content will give you a steer towards what time of day and which day of the week is best for you to send out your emails.

What is ‘engaging’? It may seem impossible, but one place to start is in your own inbox.

Look for the most engaging emails sent to you. What did they do RITE?

Did they get it right because they show empathy, appreciation or insight? The best emails feel as though they were written just for you.

Analyse the emails you get to see what works and then adapt it for you.

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Even a long email campaign can get the message across quickly if you use subheadings, break the copy up and use a variety of formatting.

Can you scan your email and get the main points across in 5 seconds? That may be what your reader does on their preview screen before deciding they should read it more slowly. If you can get the message across anyway, great. They may not have time to read this one.

Check out these related articles (and video) to help you get started.

How to Get Your Email Marketing RITE

Why your Buyer Personas Need the Sales Team’s Customer Insight

Get the Right Message and Get Their Attention