One of the most commonly studied topics in our space is the best time of day, or best day of the week to send an email. Clearly, if you can increase response rates simply by changing the timing of your campaign, then doing so becomes a no-brainer. (Silverpop's clients, for example, tend to send more on Tuesday morning than any other time of the week.) Figuring out the best time for your product and your list can only come about with testing, but that doesn't stop the industry from continuing to speak in generalities.
The problem with sending all your messages at the same time is that it's a one-size-fits-all strategy. Like a restaurant that only serves one dish, it will do fine as long as every other restaurant serves only one dish. But one day, somebody is going to invent a menu.
A few years ago, eBags did just that. Rather than finding the best time to send to its list, the company found the best time to send to each individual recipient. I wrote a case study about it in my book, and the results were stunning. Using past mailings as a baseline, eBags found that with individually-timed messages:
- Click-through rates grew 20 percent.
- Conversion rates grew 65 percent.
- Average value per order grew 45 percent.
- Overall average revenue per recipient GREW 187 percent.
Without a doubt, the upside of this technique is enormous. I asked Larry Martine, who ran the program at the time why eBags didn't start using the technique all the time. Not surprisingly, he said it was an incredibly laborious and technically difficult process. He said he'd been looking for an ESP ever since that could do it out of the box.
I've shared this case study many times, and it's remarkable how excited marketers get over the idea. With no more effort than any other blast mailing, they can generate lifts in response of 20-200 percent.