By JD David
As an old colleague used to say, “NO!” is the second-best thing you can hear. Sure, it’s a sign of failure – but it frees you from having to wait by the phone (or email) for a response. “No” is liberating. It rids of you of that anxiety caused by the urge to send “just one last e-mail.” It allows you to know exactly where you stand and provides the ability to just move on if you want.
What could be more frustrating than being told “no?” Absolutely nothing.
I don’t mean that absolutely nothing in the world is more frustrating than hearing “no” – I mean that hearing absolutely nothing is more frustrating than hearing “no.”
But here’s the thing…there are literally dozens of reasons people don’t respond to your email. Only one of which is that they think you are a bonehead and they want nothing to do with you. But another – and much more common one – is that they simply just didn’t see your email. Either because they were too busy or it came at a high-volume time and got so buried under the avalanche of other emails that it never saw the light of day.
See – most people send email when it is convenient for them. Not when it is convenient for the reader. A more productive approach is to invest the time to figure out when they do pay attention to email – and start hitting their inbox then.
There are all sorts of studies discussing the optimal time of day when most people read email. But you aren’t actually concerned about most people’s email reading habits. Just a few specific prospects. Our analytics team has done dozens of A/B and other tests measuring all sorts of factors both to determine what approach is most effective for reaching the masses – but also to determine what approach is most effective to engage specific individuals.
The knowledge is certainly not gained overnight – over time, patterns emerge. Once you put the effort in, you discover that the same people regularly open email at the same time. And then you can iterate with the others.
Not only do you end up increasing your overall open rates, more importantly, you begin to identify other specific email habits of specific prospects enabling you to be more nuanced when the time comes to connect with them directly.
Eventually, if you are using an analytics tool, you have a database of not just when a prospect opens an email – but a bunch of other useful ROI-generating insights, as well.
For instance, knowing that a prospect typically accesses email in the morning via mobile device, not only informs you as to when to hit their inbox, but also to avoid sending something too content-heavy. It may even be a reason to try a different medium – like a video or a podcast – since both are easier to absorb over a phone than a PDF.
Analytics can provide the ability to ascertain which specific pages investors consistently skip over in your marketing deck, providing enough ammo to convince a colleague to simplify that multi-dimensional eye chart that only he seems to understand. Or…discovering that a prospect has spent virtually no time on your materials – which may save you the expense (and embarrassment) of dragging your PM across the country for a low probability meeting.
Bottom line…it’s no longer necessary to guess how your audience behaves. They “give you” all of the information you need. In exchange, you endure much less wasted time, generate higher response rates and even get to reduce the number of confusing graphics in your materials. Everyone wins.