On the face of it, email marketing might strike you as outdated.
In reality, cold email outreach can boast some incredible success stories. And it can have an ROI that can’t be matched by any other digital marketing strategy.
Notice how I keep saying can?
The mistake most people make with cold outreach is that they refuse to take figures and cold hard data into consideration, and believe all it takes is, well, sending an email.
Ask yourself this: how many marketing emails do you see in your own inbox? And how many do you actually open, let alone read?
The average open rate across most industries hovers somewhere around the 20% mark. Click rates are usually somewhere between 2% and 4%, very rarely more.
Not the most reassuring numbers, I’ll give you that.
Going back to the question I just asked above: which emails do you actually open? Is it the ones with the subject lines that interest you most? Ones that come from specific companies? Ones that arrive during a specifically slow time of the day, when you are not in the mood for much else than browsing emails?
Sticking to that last point, let’s explore how important timing is for sending cold emails, and what you can improve to get your open rates just a bit higher.
Timing Is Not Just About the Time of Day
When we say “email timing”, the first thing that pops into most minds is the same question:
What days and what times of day are we talking about here?
Let me put something out there first before we get into the nitty-gritty of actual data.
Day of the week and time of said day are NOT the only factors you need to consider when sending an email.
Yes, there are a million studies out there that deal with these questions specifically, but there is more to the matter than “if I send my email on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, I will have 0.5% more opens”. I also just made that figure up, so don’t quote me on it.
More on that later, for now, let’s answer the burning questions:
- The best day for sending emails is Tuesday.
- The second best day is Thursday.
- The best time to send email is 10 AM.
- Another good time is 8 PM.
- And 2 PM also works well.
- The best day of the month to send emails is the 5th.
- Followed by the 12th.
- And the 7th.
- Don’t forget to account for the different time zones of your leads.
To quote Megan Marrs: That’s the advice, now ignore it.
For example, the workaholic will most likely be checking their email over the weekend, over a morning cup of coffee, which means that overnight email might be the best timing. A busy self-employed parent might not get to check their email before Friday night, at which time four of your messages in their inbox will not make them feel kindly towards you.
If you only take away one thing about email marketing from this article, let it be this: your audience deserve their own preferences.
In other words – you can start by sending out email according to the above schedule. But then you need to test what works for your audience and work with real data based on your own leads and segments.
No one else will ever be able to tell you what times will work, you have to figure that out yourself.
What Does Demographic Have to Do With Email Frequency?
Depending on the age of your leads, you might want to take something else into account.
As we get older, we perceive time going by faster than it used to (since we have lived longer, a year becomes a smaller part of our time on earth, hence the fast forward feeling).
Younger audiences perceive a year to last a fair bit longer.
In email marketing terms, this translates to don’t send your older audiences as many emails as you would your younger demographic. They will perceive it as pestering and rushing. Not the case with teenagers and young adults, who will often appreciate more emails in a week.
Draw on Your Own Data, Rather Than Case Studies
If you want to perfect your email timing, you will have to reach into your own data stores, and start assigning timeframes to certain audience segments.
If your list comes from an unfiltered source, you will rarely know anything about the people you are sending these blasts to.
The trick is to start getting to know your audience better. Previous engagement metrics are a great source of information, and you can also add a custom (and very brief) survey to your outbound emails. Granted, not many of your leads will take the time to get back to you, but those who do will provide some very valuable insights.
What’s Even More Important Timing
Don’t for a second think that when you send your emails is not important. On the contrary, it is very important. However, a perfectly timed bland email with the wrong message will be worth less than an ill-timed email offering the lead something they actually need and want.
That’s why you need to add the following spices to your perfectly timed email stew:
- Spend more time on your subject line than on the actual content. Subject lines are often emphasized as the most important part of a correspondence and for good reason. They will either get you that open and click, or mark you as spam. Never stop testing, adjusting and working on your subject lines, even if you find one that works extremely well.
- Emphasize the benefit for the user. One of the first lessons they teach in outreach school is “always focus on what the recipient is getting out of the deal, not why you need them”. Make it very clear in your message what experience, solution, the emotion they will be getting if they complete the action you are funneling them towards.
- Showcase examples of the people/companies they could become. By providing examples of satisfied customers and success stories, you will be selling more than a product or service. You will be serving a successful lifestyle, which is something most leads will want to buy into, rather than a simple out of the box sales pitch they get from other companies on the daily.
- Make them feel rushed (but not too much). Invoking a sense of urgency will get your leads to move faster, but don’t make them feel they need to make a purchasing decision on the spot. A 48-hour window usually does the trick.
The Value of Following Up And Timing It Well
Follow up emails tend to have better response rates than the original message.
Not following up is the biggest mistake you can make in email marketing.
And considering the fact that you can easily set up automatic follow-ups, all you need to do is come up with the right schedule, and leave the rest to Autoklose.
- 48 hours after the initial email: if the original email is time-sensitive or urgent, your best bet is to follow up within the two-day margin.
- Within 5-7 days: if there is no urgency to the message, but you want to nudge the prospect to take action.
- Every 3 months: staying in touch with your leads is important, so don’t let the line of communication die out. This is your time to catch up and remind them you are there should they need you.
- Send your follow-ups in the middle of the week: you don’t want to end up on the Monday morning pile and simply never get an answer.
How to Tell If Your Timing Is Right
Despite the benchmark open and click rates listed at the top, you shouldn’t try to measure up to them right from the bat.
You are looking to achieve a slight increase in the following metrics with each new batch of emails you are sending out:
- Improved email open rates
- Increased website traffic from email
- Increase in brand name search
- More offline inquiries
- Increase in spam email you receive yourself
As with any other digital marketing tactic, you need to give your email efforts enough time to start working. Once you find a timeframe that works for your audience segments, work on roping in wider audiences, improving your landing pages even more, and optimizing your sales pitch, sales funnel and actual offer based on the streams of data pouring in.
No rest for the wicked, and never let up – success usually comes to the weary and brave.