You know that annoying habit telemarketers have of calling right when you’re in the middle of dinner? It’s no accident.
Timing isn’t everything, but it’s pretty important... to everyone but email marketers, who seem to ignore the issue entirely. A recent ClickZ column enumerated over 50 -- that’s right, five-oh -- to-dos when planning an email marketing campaign. Not once did my esteemed colleagues pose the question: When do you hit the send button? In a rush to conduct business in Internet time, we’ve forgotten customer time.
Not that I’m singling out my ClickZ colleagues. Why isn’t anyone asking this? Broadcast marketers think about this constantly; so do the folks who run cola ads in movie theaters right before the feature. A PR pro would never issue a press release on Friday afternoon after the issue’s put to bed. It’s not just placement, and it’s not just relevance. It’s timing.
Timing influences just about everything we do. It influences the macro stuff, such as getting up, going to work, eating, and sleeping as well as the more subtle, refined decisions that incorporate the elements of a successful email campaign: targeting, optimization, personalization, messaging, calls to actions, and analysis. Ever left someone a voice mail message when you knew you couldn’t reach him (and didn’t want to)? Accidentally on purpose run into a colleague in the hall you’d been wanting to speak with? Worn a snazzy new suit the day of the big meeting? Come in early (or stayed late) to conference in with the other coast?
I’ve yet to hear of anyone taking timing into account in planning an email campaign. If you are, I’d love to hear what you’re doing. In the meantime, here are some timely ideas that could be incorporated into a campaign without too much fuss -- and could up your return on investment (ROI).
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Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.
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