Utilising Send Time Optimisation (STO)
When it comes to your email marketing strategy, one of the most pressing questions you find yourself asking is: when is the very best time to send an email? While we would love to be able to tell you that the best time to send out your emails is at half past 2 every other Thursday, unfortunately send time optimisation is a slightly more complicated beast than that.
Email habits naturally vary considerably from person to person, and, as such, there is never going to be one single time of any particular day that is going to best target all of them. With today’s world of online marketing, social media and mobile forms of communication, there is an overwhelming amount of competition for attention from a multitude of marketers dumping endless streams of messages in inboxes the world over. We, as consumers, are quite rightly fed of it – and as such, as a marketer, getting your emails read by the masses is harder than it has ever been before.
So, have you considered send time optimisation to give yourself a fighting chance?
What Is Send Time Optimisation?
Many of the big email providers now offer send time optimisation analytics features as part of their package, and if yours doesn’t, then you really need to consider switching to one that does. The send time optimisation features essentially analyse the behaviour of your recipients to deliver to you a prediction on the very best time to send the email to every subscriber on your email list.
What happens next is that, once you have composed your email or newsletter and have it ready and scheduled in your outbox, your email provider will send out those newsletters to your recipients in a completely staggered fashion, so that arrive in their inboxes at the precise day and time that they will most likely be opening their emails.
Over time, the programme should adjust this delivery time in accordance with any differences in behaviour that it detects from your recipients – without you ever even having to keep an eye on it yourself, which, it has to be said, is very convenient for all involved indeed. It is an absolutely invaluable resource for marketers, since it only takes a single click, and then you just sit back and allow the technology to handle the rest.
How It Works
One of the best known and most widely used email service providers is of course IBM’s Silverpop. They have indeed taken the challenges of send time optimisation to a new level of accuracy. By tracking response times, as well as click-through activity, Silverpop’s software is able to determine the absolutely optimal interactive moment in which to deliver messages to particular contacts within your email subscriber list.
By enabling send time optimisation with Silverpop for your email campaigns, you are also able to choose between types of optimisation that you think will work best – i.e. either optimised by day of week, time of day, or both. By choosing time of day, you are essentially opting to bombard your whole email list over one 24 hour period, where each of your recipients will receive your email at a particular time of day that is based on their past behaviour. The longer you’ve had your audience, the more accurate the time will be.
If you just go for the day of the week option, then you email will be sent out to your subscriber list over a 7 day period, on the particular day that has been determined by the software to be the optimal interactive day for each contact.
If you choose both, then these two features will combine to spread your word to inboxes at the precise day and the precise time that is deemed to be the most likely that each recipient will interact with their emails.
A Key To Success
Email marketing is one of the hardest nuts to crack in the world of online promotions. Even though you subscriber list will have at some point willingly given up their details to you in order that you may send them emails, the likelihood is that they will have also done the same thing with countless other companies, so you still need to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to reduce the chances of your recipients hitting the delete button even before they’ve opened your message.
Send time optimisation helps you to get noticed by getting your message delivered at the precise day and time that your prospect is most likely to be engaged. Even if you’re new to an email provider that offers this service, you can start using it straight away. MailChimp, for instance, has 4 million users world wide, and the chances are that some of the email addresses on your list already receive emails from other MailChimp users. This means that MailChimp already has target information to provide a recommendation for the best time to send an email, even if you sign up for the first time today.