October 25, 2013
I’m so tired of reading about the best days and times to send emails.
You’ve all seen these reports or blog posts, so there’s no need to link to any of them and give the folks who release this pointless data any more cred or page views.
But let me get this straight. Email service providers can look at when their customers send email, maybe group the data by industry, and then report when recipients are opening messages. Voila. I now know when to send my email.
In a prior life, I sent millions of emails a week. I paid little, to no, attention to suggestions on what was the best day or time to send these emails. My biggest reason? If my competition read the same report saying emails should be go out at 3 p.m. every Friday, that would be the last day and time that I would send because I wouldn’t want my emails to get lost with others at the exact same time.
This approach seemed to work just fine for me.
I recently was introduced to the idea of “open-time personalization,” where the content of emails changes depending on when each recipient actually opens the message. Unlike sending out emails based on day and time, open-time personalization actually has real value to the marketer. After all, circumstances such as location and web browsing behavior could be vastly different between the time email is sent and when it’s opened.
The email above is a great example of when this could have worked really well.
I play golf (note, I didn’t call myself a golfer). During a visit to the Golfsmith website, I added some products to my cart, but then bailed. What happened next? Golfsmith did a great job using products like Facebook Exchange to retarget me the same products when I wasn’t on its website, but it came up short with email.
First, the email wasn’t personalized one bit, referencing either my recent visit to the website or my first name, assuming I purchased from the retailer before. Next, the email didn’t include the products I left in my cart, which I easily could have purchased between the time the email was sent and when I finally looked at it.
Finally, what also stands out is the fact that if I opened the email a couple of days after the email was sent, the flash sale would have been over and the email irrelevant and a waste of time and money. Yes, even if Golfsmith sent it to me on the best day and at the best time.