Whoever says they have the magic recipe for the perfect cadence & timing to deliver marketing communications must know something the rest of the world doesn’t. Unfortunately, there is no real science to it. Multiple factors come into play: business model, industry, products and services, goals, etc. Even, within the same company, target audiences can be very diverse. Customers can be based in different locations, have different work schedules, interests, and methods to engage with brands.
Finding the right strategy definitely takes a lot of trial and error. However, once complete, your ROI will immediately increase. If you are looking for some tips to optimize your email campaigns, SMS or push notification tactics, you are in the right place. Continue reading to find out how you can optimize your communication times.
Under-Communication vs Over-Communication
Before exploring best practices for timing marketing communications, it is imperative to find the ideal frequency and recency for your messages. With today’s Marketing Automation tools, we often send as many communications as possible to catch our customers’ attention. Nevertheless, the fact that we have the ability to send as many messages as we want doesn’t mean we should.
Let’s differentiate two terms and acknowledge why we should avoid them:
- Under-Communication: Although sending a small number of messages might reduce complaints received or decrease unsubscribing rates, this could result in a loss of interest from customers. If they don’t (or can’t) access your offers and promotions, you could go unnoticed and miss important revenue opportunities. In addition, a lack of communication can direct your emails to the spam folder, as the mailbox providers will consider your address as abandoned.
- Over-Communication: On the other hand, bombarding your customers with tons of communications will make them feel overwhelmed. Consequently, they may start ignoring your messages, blocking your address and cease engaging with your brand altogether. The final result – your revenue will decrease due to a high unsubscribe rate, complaints, and a terrible customer experience.
Now that we’ve covered how communicating too little or too much directly affects the performance of your campaigns, you might wonder what under and over-communication means in your particular and unique case. Are 5 emails a week too many or not enough? In order to answer this question, Send Time Optimization is going to be your greatest ally.
What is Send Time Optimization?
Send Time Optimization (STO) is an AI-powered feature that finds the best day and time of the week to send text messages via WhatsApp, emails, SMS campaigns or push notifications. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, it analyzes customer data and behavior to achieve the best delivery time for each recipient in your member base.
Algorithms identify your clients’ history of engagement with your communications, and how they interact with them: open messages, channel used, click rate, day of the week and time, etc. This data allows you to automatically send personalized messages ensuring maximum open rates and engagement.
Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time will create the perfect balance to maintain high levels of interest and engagement with your brand while avoiding the risk of overwhelming your members. This will improve the customer experience, strengthen customer loyalty, and ultimately, boost profits.
Best Practices to Optimize Communication Time
As mentioned above, optimum communication times will vary depending on each company. This is the reason why the first step to improve your communication strategy will involve setting your business goals. Once established, it is time to start working on the best omnichannel marketing strategy to optimize communication time delivery, which will drive your ROI. When personalizing your communications, there are several practices you can follow, which include:
- Collect zero-party data: zero-party data is data willingly and directly shared by your customers with your brand. As they are the ones providing you the information proactively, they are the most reliable among all data types. This form of data collection gives you the opportunity to receive specific characteristics from your customers which otherwise could be nearly impossible to know. This data is often collected during the enrollment process, but can also be provided by members post-enrollment, with incentivized promotions for members to complete their profile. This could include anything from age, gender or time zone to communication channel preferences, favorite time to buy or favorite product or service. In other words, finding the right data will help you create more personalized messages and predict the best time to communicate with each individual customer.
- Segment your customers: once all the data is collected, it is very simple to divide your member base through various customer segmentation models. These can be defined through demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics, among others. For instance, your members can be grouped by their communications preferences and permissions. What’s more, the AI engine can identify your top spending members and their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), and send more frequent campaigns to them, knowing that their conversion rate is above average.
- Design Customer Journeys: automating your campaigns workflow will allow you to monitor customer behavior and send them communications depending on their engagement. For example, if a member doesn’t open your email, they will receive a follow-up after two days. If they click the link, select items, but then abandon the cart, a push notification will be sent to remind them to continue their purchase. This omnichannel journey is totally configurable so you can find the best strategy for your brand and your members. However, it does not end here. Your program will adapt based on these past behaviors and optimize the email frequency, finding the best time to send a message for that member in particular.
- Limit frequency and recency: while frequency determines the number of times a communication is sent in a specific period, recency refers to the amount of time between each communication. As highlighted before, one of the biggest risks of marketing campaigns is flooding your customers’ inboxes with messages. That is why defining a contact strategy is crucial. For instance, you can limit the frequency to X contacts in Y days and decide that Z days need to pass from the most recent contact in order to send the next message. This rule can be applied to your entire customer base, a specific segment, or affect a particular campaign. Once your program starts collecting all the metrics of these strategies, it will be able to automatically determine the best times to send communications regarding frequency and regency.
- Use Micro-Moments Marketing: It has been proven that most consumers use their phones while doing a task, waiting at the airport or while in line to buy a product. These short periods of time when users turn to their devices when they want-to-know, want-to-buy, want-to-go or want-to-do are called micro-moments. Addressing customers in this intent-driven journey is the new model of marketing, more targeted and instantaneous. Identifying when, what and in which channel your audience wants to buy will lead you to the opportunity to deliver more relevant content, ease the purchase process and influence these imperative decision-making micro-moments.
- Test and measure your campaigns: to check the effectiveness of your communications, it is essential you integrate A/B testing into your strategy. This testing compares multiple variants for the same process, which will help you explore your members’ tolerance limits. You can test, for instance, your message subject line, content, pictures, link, and buttons. This will identify which days and times have the highest engagement data, open and conversion rates.
Analyzing your metrics will be the ultimate resource to reveal if you are leading a healthy marketing strategy. All these practices, working together with an AI-powered engine, will ensure you optimize communication times to present your members with the ultimate customer experience.
If you want to find out more about how to optimize communication times, have a look at our Automated Demo Platform! Learn through common use cases how Comarch’s Loyalty Marketing Software can help your business maximize your ROI.
Frequently Asked Questions about Send Time Optimization:
- When is the best time to send an email?
There is not a real science about when is the best time to send an email. Each company and its audience should have particular rules. Send Time Optimization will automatically analyze your customer behavior in order to find the best delivery time for each channel and each individual.
- What is Send Time Optimization?
Send Time Optimization is an AI-powered feature that finds the best day and time to send text messages, emails, SMS campaigns or push notifications. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, it analyzes your customers data and behavior to achieve the best delivery time for each recipient in your member base.