When launching a new business, timing is everything. This is definitely the case for eCommerce companies, especially since digital consumers are more engaged now than ever before.
When a customer is clued into communication from your company around the clock — via email, social media and other channels — it makes determining “smart timing” somewhat complex. The best way to figure out when to send your marketing promotions comes down to a variety of factors, including consumer behavior, segmentation and the purpose of the email itself.
Why is it so important to nail down timing? As you probably know, email marketing has a high return on investment (ROI). In fact, it’s possible to get an ROI of 4,300 percent with a well-oiled email marketing strategy, especially if you’re following industry best practices and focusing on customer experience.
What’s more, email marketing can boost sales, but the most successful campaigns must take timing into account — when a customer is most likely to click or make a purchase — for the best results.
First Things First: Segmentation and Consumer Behaviors
Before you determine when to send that email, it’s important to determine to whom you’re sending it. Leveraging a data-driven marketing strategy to gather analytics is the first step in any sensible plan. You need to know your target audience quite well before you put together an email marketing schedule that will garner the best results.
That’s because different age groups, genders and demographics all have different patterns of buyer behavior — a millennial shopper might not be as inclined to click on an email before 6 a.m. as, say, a baby boomer. Not only will gathering information about your target consumer help you understand the right time to send certain emails, it will also help you determine specific messaging.
There are tons of resources out there to help you untangle the specific behaviors of your target audience. Forty-four percent of consumers in both the U.S. and Canada check their personal email accounts between one and three times per day, and it’s still the preferred method of communication from brands.
That means that there will be multiple “prime times” during the day when you can send a carefully crafted campaign to their inbox. People are most inclined to click on emails that contain a discount or a personalized offer. You can leverage customer data — like demographics or purchase history — to entice clicks, even when the campaigns are sent at less-than-ideal times.
Let’s take a look at some very basic statistics about when different demographics of consumers engage the most with email campaigns. Young consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to read email throughout the day and during everyday activities; three-quarters of them say they check their inbox while watching TV and while in bed.
Still, the vast majority of baby boomers prefer email communication over other kinds of marketing, so you don’t want to edge them out. Across the board, campaigns gain the highest open rates within an hour of when they were sent, regardless of the demographics.
The Best Days to Send eCommerce Emails
Like other industries, eCommerce companies find that the most successful email campaigns are sent during the week — with Tuesdays and Wednesdays showing the highest open and click rates. It’s also important to keep in mind that consumer interest in marketing emails drops significantly on the weekend, probably because people are less likely to be engaged with their inbox.
The Best Time to Send eCommerce Emails
According to a study by Experian, the most successful times to send an email campaign is between 6-8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight on weekdays. But here’s another important facet to consider. You need to target your core consumer at a time when they’re not being totally bombarded with email offers from other stores. So, offsetting the time you send your emails — say, shooting for 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. — can help capture your target customer’s full attention.
Author: Erika Brookes
Erika Jolly Brookes is the CMO at Springbot where she leads all brand, product and marketing campaigns and communications. Before joining Springbot, Erika was the vice president of product strategy for Oracle and vice president of marketing and communications at Vitrue. Previously, she held other executive-level marketing positions at leading technology companies like MindSpring, Earthlink and Rackspace. In her limited free time, you’ll find Erika running through Atlanta with her yellow labrador Sunny or sharing marketing insights on Twitter: @ebrookes.