Inside Dental Technology
When to Send E-Newsletters
The best and worst times for online communication.
The Internet has dramatically changed how marketers reach their audiences. Although direct mail is still a major force in marketing products and services, e-marketing is running a close second. We all use e-mail to communicate with customers, vendors, family, and friends. Other than the occasional special invitation or a personal birthday card, e-mail dominates in both our personal and business lives. When was the last time you wrote a letter, printed out an envelope, stamped it, and dropped it in a mailbox? Plus, you never knew if or when the recipient would receive your communication.
E-marketing, on the other hand, has tremendous benefits when done correctly and is an ideal delivery platform for e-newsletters. Not only are e-marketing newsletters less expensive to produce and deliver than direct mail, but with e-newsletters, you can also track open rates, what articles have been accessed, and thereby begin to develop a good set of metrics on what is working and what is not. However, there is a different set of rules and things to consider when sending e-newsletters or other e-marketing promotions. You need to do a little homework to make sure your efforts are going to give you the exposure and ultimately the return you want.
One key element, and obviously the last one in the process, is deciding when to “blast” your e-newsletter. We all want our e-newsletter to be the first opened, and timing plays a critical part of the campaign. There are other factors at work when determining the success of an e-newsletter campaign, such as:
• Subject line and company name
• Relevance of content
• Number of articles
• Blast schedule consistency
• Eye-catching graphics and images
• Use of an identifiable and pleasing masthead
• Brand recognition
• Readability and proper use of white space
• Working links to your website
• Opt-out options
While this is not a complete list, these are the most important considerations in a successful e-newsletter campaign. Our experience has taught us that there are no hard and fast rules that we can apply to the dental industry or, in fact, to any other industry. E-marketing companies are all over the map about the proper way to handle e-newsletters, but some obvious considerations are:
• List source
• Subscribed or not (this is critical with some e-mail blast providers)
• B2B or B2C customers or prospects
• Industry type
• Company brand recognition
Again, more considerations could be added to this list. In our industry, you can develop some good insights on timing to send e-newsletters to dentists. You know your customers better than anyone else, and you also know how they operate, when they get to their office, how they work, their schedule, and when they usually go on vacation, take days off, etc. All of this gives you a good profile to work from.
You should think about the times it is difficult to get your dentist customers on the phone or when they like to return calls (other than the obvious case problem). You have a wealth of information regarding your customers’ habits. The task is to use that information to determine the best time for sending e-blasts and e-newsletters in order to get a high open rate and better results.
There is no point in building a form of online communication to send to clients during times where they are more likely to ignore your message. Many different opinions exist in the reports reviewed during the research for this article. One key element mentioned by several marketers was that every industry and target market responds differently. It has been suggested to check your analytics and then test, test, and test some more to better understand what works best for you.
The biggest key is to pick a frequency schedule and stick to it. Change your delivery dates and times based on your test results, and you will find the best days and times to reach your customers.
Reaching Your Audience
According to recent surveys and marketing reports from e-mail marketers, there are, however, some best and worst times to send e-newsletters that are more likely to reach your intended audience.
• Between 9:30 am and 11:00 am
• First Tuesday and Thursday of the month
• Some reports suggest Sunday
• Other reports suggest delivery around lunch time
• The 1st and/or 2nd day of the month
• Last day of the month
• For dental, Wednesdays and Friday may not work well
• Around holidays—day before and day after
• Early morning e-mail delivery has lowest open rate
About the Author
Bill Neal, CDT, is the founder of AMG Creative, Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado.