Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spark with Afternoon Delight Email

According to a GetResponse analysis of 21 million messages, you should send out your unsolicited marketing email when target recipients are looking at their inboxes but they’re not receiving much other email.
     Before dismissing this advice as no more than common sense, appreciate the details of the findings which will help you use them. About 24% of email opens occur within the first hour after delivery. With each hour that passes after delivery, the rate of opening of these unsolicited messages drops substantially. The rate of opening is about 10% during the second hour, 6% during the third hour, and 5% during the fourth hour.
     I believe there are two related explanations for this:
  • People generally start out looking at their most recent email and then work back until they run out of interest. The longer the time that goes by after you send your message, the greater the probability it’s buried out of reach. 
  • People treasure the latest information. Even if your recipient makes it to the day-old message, there’s a fair chance they’ll consider it less valuable. In the GetResponse analysis, the open rate for day-old unsolicited retail marketing messages was less than 1%. 
     The two-step process, then, is to as accurately as possible:
  • Discover on what days of the week or month and then at what times during these days your target recipients are likely to be looking at their email inboxes. 
  • Get on the mailing lists for other retailers who send email marketing to your target recipients so that you can plan to avoid the competition for the recipients’ attention. 
     …or, taking inspiration from lyrics to the pop classic “Afternoon Delight,” aim to “make the sparks ignite” by sending out your messages between noon and 6 PM. In the GetResponse analysis, this had the highest email open rate for a six-hour block, and the highest click-through rate was for the six-hour block following, 6 PM to midnight.
     Research suggests different schedule guidance when responding to inquiries: Do it as promptly as possible. InsideSales.com, Harvard University, and Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University researchers say retailers don’t respond quickly enough to inquiries. They looked at internet contacts which could turn into leads for B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) sales. They found that firms responding to inquiries within one hour were about sixty times as likely to move clearly toward a sale than those waiting a day or more.

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