Has anyone ever asked you whether you’re a morning or evening person? More than just a casual conversation piece, this question is about when you are most awake, alert and enthusiastic about your surroundings. It’s also an important thing to know for marketing communications.
Knowing when your clients are most ‘turned on’ is a practice called day-parting, which has been around since marketing has been around! It is the practice of segmenting the day into different parts to analyze what time of day is the best time of day to deliver a message to a particular audience. The most common segments are by the hour, but some industries segment the day into larger categories based on events. For example, the restaurant industry segments the day around mealtimes – breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night binging (there’s a more official term for it, but let’s be honest, anything after 9pm is a late night naughty indulgence).
A classic example of day-parting, is the soap opera. Why is it called a soap opera? Because stay-at-home moms put their kids down for a nap in the early afternoon and are typically doing laundry or other household chores while they have a moment of peace. All the while watching their daily soap opera. Make no mistake, what is available for you to watch when you get off to work and what advertisements are playing for you when you watch American Idol is all part of the master plan. Buahaha!
So how does this help you with your marketing? Well, think about all the messages you’re sending and if that’s the best time of day (or day of week) to send them. Have you measured what time has given you the best results? What if you are sending your messages at a time that isn’t your best opportunity to capture their attention?
Email marketing is the perfect place to start experimenting with day-parting because most email marketing programs allow you to schedule your email distributions at a certain time of day. The best place to start testing to find your best time of day, is to look at industry standard, which is 11:00am. This is the time that most people have finally gone through their emails from the night previous and are caught up, and they are just about to take their lunch break. Studies have shown that lunchtime and after work are the times that most consumers save their online purchases for, making it the best time to deliver a message if you want it to result in a purchase!
So, starting with the industry standard send out your standard email at 11:00am and then measure the results after 24 hours. Some key stats you should follow to measure this day-part are open and click rate, which you’ll find in your email marketing program reports. Next, try an hour later or an hour earlier and monitor the results 24 hours after you send it. Was it better? Maybe worse?
Once you’ve experimented a bit and tracked the results, you’ll find your own, unique day part that provides you the best results for your email marketing messages. It’s important to remember to keep everything constant when doing this kind of testing. For example, if you sent the first email to your entire client base and then the second email to only women from 35 to 50, your results are going to be skewed as the particular segment you sent it to in the second one has certain characteristics that are potentially not the same as your entire client base.
Give this a try over the next couple of months and find your sweetest hour for marketing to your clients. Let us know how you go and what your personal day part is!