Timing is Everything — Reach Your Audiences When They’re Likely to Read and Act on It

Timing is Everything -- Reach Your Audiences When They're Likely to Read and Act on ItMea culpa! I made one of the most common (and most avoidable) nonprofit marketing mistakes yesterday — sending out my bi-monthly e-news during vacation week for at least 50% of school districts nationwide.

It wasn’t a crisis. After all, people are always out of the office, and I get about auto-responders to that effect every time I publish the e-news. Usually those represent about 1/2% of my mailing list. But yesterday, I got auto-responders (which I have my assistant read to ensure we capture key info from the recipient, such as a new email address, she’s moved on, she’s out that day or two) in the 1% range, most telling me that the recipient is out of the office this week.

1/2% is no crisis. I’m not gnashing my teeth. But if you can reach that extra 1/2%, why not?

Obviously, you can’t avoid vacation weeks like that if you have a daily or weekly e-news, advocacy alert or other very frequent campaign. But whenever possible, make sure you reach your audiences when they are working and ready to read or act.

Here are some basic guidelines on what to avoid when scheduling an e-mail or mail alert:

  • School breaks of a week or more; check your district’s calendar and those of a few other districts
  • Federal holidays
  • Extended holiday periods (Xmas week, 4th of July week, etc.)
  • Core conferences in the fields your audiences represent (for professional audiences, and only if you segment out audiences by trade); for example, don’t try to reach foundation CEOs or program officers during the annual Council on Foundation conferences, or fundraisers during the AFP annual meeting.

Anything else to avoid? Please add in the Comments link below.

Timing is everything. Here’s how to do it better time-of-day wise: Best Time to Send Out Your E-News–An Aha Moment.

Missing out on the Getting Attention e-newsletter? Subscribe now for in-depth articles and case studies on nonprofit marketing.

Nancy Schwartz on April 24, 2008 in Email and E-Newsletters, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 2 comments
Tags:

  • John Sadler

    I have always believed that timing is one of the unavoidable truths in this life. It does not matter if you are talking about relationships, business or any other aspect of waht we do. When the timing is right is the only time it happens right.

  • Bob Roth

    Timing is very important. It is also very difficult to make objective rules for since it wholly depends on the audience and the call to action.
    For most product/service broadcasts, I have found that early in the week (and often weekends) receive the best open rate and response rates. MailerMailer in the recent email study also supported this evidence.
    The reason? Early in the week our weekends still linger in our minds and we are willing to take a moment to open a non-work related email. As you get closer to the end of the week, we have to press harder to complete our work and are looking to escape the computer ASAP.

<< Back to Main