We’ve been talking about marketing’s most basic definition: targeting the right person, at the right time, with the right message on the blog recently. If you missed the earlier posts on targeting the right person or finding the right message, be sure to read them too. Today, we’re digging into the last portion, finding the right time to share your message.
The truth is there’s no one universal right time for every business or even every marketing channel. The right time is what works best for your audience. Frustrating, I know. However, if you have identified your target consumer you should be able to figure out when to target them pretty quickly.
Make sure your marketing messages align with your target customer’s current needs. For example, if you have a local business that caters to families with children, they’ll likely be looking for things to do with kids during holiday breaks and school in-service days. If you’re a wedding vendor, know when the wedding season is in your community. Knowing your target consumer and their needs help you provide more targeted messaging, which should lead to better results. As with all marketing, start by thinking about your customer. What do they need from you and how can you help make their life easier?
Think about your target customer. What do they do for a living? What’s their typical day like? While you won’t know for sure, you can likely draw some conclusions based on the available information. For instance, if your target consumer is a working parent with school-aged children, they’re probably pretty busy between 6, and 8 am and 5 and 8 pm. In the morning, they’re likely getting kids up and ready for school or daycare and in the evening, they’re probably rushing to make dinner, do homework, bathe kids, and get them into bed. Due to their schedule, they’re not likely going to read or respond to your marketing message during the early morning or early evening hours and that’s probably not an ideal time to try to connect with them.
Understanding your target customer is essential. Without a good understanding of who you’re trying to reach and what their typical day is like, it’s tough to get your targeting right.
Having the right technical tools and set up is key to determining the right time for your marketing messages. You’ll need to have an email service provider that shares analytical data for your account with you. You’ll also want to make sure you’re set up for business social media accounts, not personal. Business accounts provide performance insights and data that your personal accounts don’t. Having access to the data in your email and social media accounts allows you to review the performance and make strategic decisions.
When you’re first trying to determine your message time, choose a starting point based on what you think will work for your target customer. You’ll need to test your email delivery and social media posting for a while to see what’s best for your business.
If you’ve had a website or blog for a while and you’ve set up Google Analytics, you can find out which days you get the most traffic. You can also find out what time of day is best for your audience through GA. The updated GA dashboard includes this information right when you log on. Review your data and find out the day(s) and time(s) that are the busiest for your website. Start your testing with this information. If Tuesday morning is the most active time for you, then send your email or make your social post on Tuesday morning and see how it performs. Next time, use another favorite day/time combo for your send and compare against the first email/post’s performance to see which was better.
As a general rule, I don’t recommend email blasts on Monday or Friday. Mondays are not good because people are coming back to the office after the weekend and trying to catch up and Friday they’re thinking about the weekend and trying to wrap up their week. Now, you may find that Monday or Friday works great for you but in my experience, they don’t perform as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
The most critical piece of this puzzle is tracking performance, testing, and re-testing. If you want to find the best time to share your message with your audience, you’re going to need to test different days and times to see what the performance is like. Test each day, test morning and afternoon. Heck, I’ve seen Sunday evening work well for some industries. And surprisingly, 5:00 am Tuesday worked fantastic for one client. The reason 5:00 am worked is that their target audience was a shipping company manager who started their workday super early. This is why it’s so important to know your audience and understand their day.
Each time you send your email or post, track performance in a master document so you can quickly look back and see the data. Once you’ve done your initial days of the week and time of day tests, use the winner of those tests as your preferred send time/day. You’ll want to re-test periodically and see if performance changes.
If your email service provider allows for testing, you can do split tests or A/B tests and send your email to half of your audience at a time, allowing you to test two days or two times of day per batch. This is usually a paid service but will enable you to optimize your delivery schedule faster.
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