Timing Strategy for your Marketing Messages

19 Nov, 2019 02:14 By: Nikki Hawkes

Timing is everything – right? Well, it may not be everything, but it certainly matters, especially when it comes to getting subscribers to notice and open your emails,  facebook users to like your posts or participants to hear about your biggest announcements.

Why is timing important?

You might have spent hours crafting a beautifully written and visually stunning email for your participants, but if you send it at the wrong time it could go unseen by a large portion of them. The same applies to social media posts, although its more difficult to make predictions on best timing practices with these, as Facebook and Instagram have algorithms that affect the viewership of everyone's posts.

We’ve tried to compile some advice for this, to help maximise the viewership of your marketing messages. 

Best Email Send Time: General Advice 

These general email send time tips are widely accepted by the email marketing community and from our experience in the sports event industry. They are great when you’re starting off, but be sure to read on and see why they won’t always work.

Daytime vs. Nighttime. While this one may be obvious, it’s usually better to send out your email campaigns during the daytime. You know, when the majority of people are awake. not asleep.   Take things a step further and think about the times in a day when the majority of people have a chance to glance at their phone.. Lunchtime, the end of a working day etc..

  • Mad Mondays. The general consensus is that you should avoid sending out email blasts on Monday mornings. Why? People are already bummed out about the end of the weekend. They march into the office and are flooded with emails they’ve collected over the past few days. What’s the first thing they do? Delete those emails of course!   We do however notice a good open rate for emails on Monday evenings.. Maybe it is a runner/cyclist thing with their rest day landing on a Monday, but a well time Monday evening email can be all the inspiration people need to book their next event
  • Weekends. Historically, weekends are the days when folks are out running errands and going on adventures. Weekends tend to have low open rates, so most marketers avoid them like the plague.  We have however noticed a strong open rate on a sunday evening. Athletes have likely worn themselves out and are settling down to look back at the weekend. Again, this can be a lucrative time to entice them into their next challenge.
  • Give Heads Up for Your Race. While 23% of emails are opened within 60 minutes after being sent, there are some lingerers who may not check out your email until a day or two later. To be safe, send out your event info oriented emails 3-5 days prior to a race.
  • Fan Favorites: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday have traditionally been favourite days to send email campaigns, as email marketers seek to avoid the Monday angst and Friday’s itchy-feet. MailChimp for example, confirms that Tuesday and Thursday are the two most popular days to send email newsletters.
  • Mid-Week, Mid-day: The tried-and-true traditional approach of sending out email campaigns in the middle of the week and in the middle of the day tends to do pretty well. General know-how suggests sending emails between 1-3pm (9-11am is recommended as well). It’s safe. It’s reliable. It’s not a bad choice. Just remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. MailChimp suggests 2 pm as the optimal send time based on their data.  

You VS Everyone Else

So most email marketing sites and ‘experts’ on the internet agree that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days to send out an email campaign. Unless your competitors live north of Winterfell, they have probably heard this advice as well. This means that your race information or new event announcement could get drowned among the ‘Weekly Adidas Favourites’ style newsletters that your racers are probably signed up to. 

If you don’t want your newsletter to get lost in the hustle by sending out emails on the “recommended” days and times, trial and error might be your best bet. Although Mondays and Fridays are generally not recommended, who is to say they won’t work for you? 

Demographics: What about ‘athletes’? 

Here at Eventrac we’re trying to help you understand your racer demographics. Understanding your participant demographics is the single most important thing you can do for email marketing success. They’re your audience - you should study habits and cater to them.

The tips above are considered general knowledge for email marketing. But what about the runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes you are trying to target? Some examples of how ‘athlete’ demographics that might override the safe “best time to send” general advice:

  • Too early? Most email marketing articles would claim that 8 am is too early to send an email newsletter, but morning exercisers like to linger on their phones for a few minutes before lacing up their trainers for an early session.
  • The standard mid-week, mid-day also makes perfect sense for desktop users who are opening emails at work. Mobile users, on the other hand, tend to be pretty active even late in the evening. And with people becoming more reliant on mobile this will not always be the case. It’s importatnt to remember to keep your emails mobile friendly to ensure compatibility and achieve a higher open rate. This can be done easily via your Eventrac email platform.
  • For younger runners/athletes, you may not have to abide by the tip about not sending emails at night. Evening emails could work just fine for younger audiences.
  • The much-maligned Friday could be a great choice if you offer on the day signups to your events, with folks looking for last minute weekend challenges. 
  • Weekends don’t have to be off-bounds either. Marathoners? They need the weekends to fit in their long runs for sure, so don’t expect them all to be out partying on Saturday nights and have a lie-in on Sunday mornings. And if you’re really on the ball and spot a snowy weekend coming which is going to ruin everyones plans - shoot! As long as it doesn’t get in the way of one of your events! 
  • Time Zone? You definitely want to customize email send times depending on your demographics time zone, to cater for where your recipients live if you have many international runners going to your events. 

Knowing your audience is important. So try out a few different times and days to see what works best, by keeping track of your open rates and click-through rates, available on the Eventrac Email Marketing Platform. 

Open Rate Dilemma

Are you not getting the open rates you want? Bad open rates aren’t just about your send times. If your open rates aren’t looking so good, consider these factors as well:

  • Do You Have a Standout Subject Line? Subject lines are HUGE when it comes to email marketing. You could argue that subject lines are even more important the email copy, since it’s the subject lines’ job to get people opening your message to begin with. Make sure you have an enticing subject line to give your audience an incentive to read your stuff. 
  • Are You Sending Too Many Emails? People are busy, and theres a lot of competition out there, don’t clog their inboxes and make them think ‘not them again’. 
  • Is Your Message Mobile-Friendly? Your emails absolutely need to be mobile-friendly, end of story.

The content of your emails obviously has to be enticing too. If they’re bored to death after newsletter number 2, they won’t want to open 3 and 4 or even stay subscribed. For more on good email marketing content, see our ‘Email Marketing to Drive Event Registrations’ guide. 

Timing for Different Messages 

If you have a timeline for your event preparations, participant communications should definitely be on there. There are several messages which you want to get across to your race participants in the run-up to your event. Types of messages to send before, during and after your event, can be found on our ‘Communicating with your Event Participants’ guide. 

The power of scheduling for your emails and your social media posts is something you really want to take advantage of, in order to make the most out of your message timing strategy. It can be tempting to want to see something go out straight away, but resist the urge and schedule your messages for the times where you see the best responses. Test different timings, and get to know your audience. I know this guide hasn’t exactly give a definitive answer to the question of ‘when should I time my marketing emails?’ and other messages… which might seem like a cop out! But trust us, the best thing you can do is adapt to your audience as you go. 

 

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