Monday, 25 April 2011

When should you send emails?

Emails are slightly more likely to be opened when people are at work, particularly on their lunchbreak. This is changing though as people get more access to the internet on their mobiles, so are more prone to open their emails on the way to work or while at home (often while watching TV).

However a major study by Mailchimp shows that people are more likely to take an action resulting from an email if they receive the email over the weekend. This is probably because they have more time to consider the email and take action over it, particularly if it involves an action that requires typing (trickier on mobiles than on laptops/desktops) such as paying for something, booking tickets or signing a petition.

Takeaway for me:
  • Weekdays - best for informational / brand building emails that don't require an action
  • Weekends - best if you want people to buy something or do something

Friday, 15 April 2011

How to stop your email list from dying

It's common for organisations to build up an email database or a Facebook page, which they then forget for a while and abandon. At Blue Rubicon we've been doing some comparisons of how people react when you start using the database again, and there are some interesting common patterns:

  • Response rates are significantly lower than they were previously. One email list we're reviving had a 35% average open rate in summer 2010 - which has fallen to 25% in the first few emails we've sent to it.
  • Unsubscribe rates rise significantly compared to previously
  • Bounce rates increase - because people have moved job or changed email address for another reason
When we've investigated these, they are unsurprising. People have forgotten who we were, so didn't bother opening our emails, or, worse, unsubscribed. And if they moved job they forgot to tell us that they'd moved, because they hadn't heard from us for a while.

The best advice to keep email lists and Facebook pages alive is to regularly (i.e. at least monthly) contact them. This helps by:
  • Reminding people how wonderful you are so that even if they don't open the email, they remember that you are there. So they don't unsubscribe, and they'll occasionally engage.
  • Reminding people to tell you when they move email address.
If you have let a list go some months without being emailed, then the best ways to revive it are:
  • Start with content that reminds people of why they are subscribed. So if they subscribed for local news, start with an exciting bit of local news
  • Make sure that the emails come from somebody they know
  • Take it easy - if they haven't heard from you in months then only email them once every few weeks at first, otherwise it will feel like a shock