From the Trenches: Timing Does Matter
At Zinio, a digital publishing retailer, we send a lot of e-mail to our customers. And having personally founded the Email Experience Council, I love that we rely so much on e-mail. But I have to say, being on the front lines of e-mail marketing definitely has created a new appreciation for the industry best practices that so many of us thought leaders and strategists spew at conferences and events.
As an e-mail marketing expert, I hold many beliefs about e-mail marketing best practices. List segmentation, welcome and onboarding messaging, relationship marketing, and multichannel integration are among my favorites. However, as a chief marketing officer with a revenue target on my back, I admit I've been tempted to toss aside some of these prized best practices in lieu of a quick batch-and-blast effort to push our revenue over the top.
Is timing everything? Yes
Lately, I've been thinking quite a bit about strategies relating to the correlation between the time people opt in to your Web site or list and when they receive their first e-mails. While we all know that you can’t wait more than a month to send that first e-mail, does the "old" best practice of 48 hours or less for the first message really make a difference?
The answer is an unequivocal “yes.” Over the past few weeks, we've tested the timing between the e-mail opt-in and the first e-mail message. Here's what we've found: Waiting more than 48 hours to send that first e-mail reduced response by more than 60 percent and, in many cases, more than doubled the bounceback rate. Reducing the time from 48 hours to 24 hours increased response by more than 23 percent and almost completely eliminated bouncebacks.
Our big takeaway: Even with list growth activities, 24 hours can make all the difference in the world. So, if you're on the front lines like me, do yourself a favor and invest in a strong and immediate welcome message. Not a page that sits on your Web site, but an e-mail delivered directly to your new and excited reader who can’t wait to do business with you.
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Jeanniey Mullen is the chief marketing officer for New York-based digital publisher Zinio and its sister publication, VIVmag, an exclusively digital luxury lifestyle magazine for women. She's also the executive director of The Email Experience Council, the world’s largest e-mail marketing trade organization. Reach Jeanniey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Zinio's blog here.