Alistair Blevins eMarketing Blog

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Opinion, theory and general chit chat on the wonderful world of digital marketing

Changing times in challenging times…

With financial advisers facing increased time-pressure from worried clients during working hours, should financial services providers be adjusting their e-communications strategies accordingly?

During a recent presentation by Stoneshot, a UK based email service provider, I was intrigued to learn that in their annual IFA survey 50% of brokers said they regularly checked their emails at evenings and weekends, whilst an additional 30% said they sometimes checked their email at evenings and weekends.

This got me thinking. Must we, as a service to our clients in the B2B channel, be adjusting our email strategy to cater for this new way of working?

Out of curiosity I started to dig around in EmailReaction, the enterprise email solution used to manage our email campaigns. Sure enough I was confronted by an ever growing wall of reports which illustrated the fact that early mornings, evenings and weekends (to a lesser degree) deliver healthy open-rates.

Of course, the penny should have dropped sooner. My own email habits have changed significantly in the past six months.

No longer do I have the time to address the bulk of my email during traditional work hours. This task is now relegated to evenings and weekends.

So, what can we do?

Now, I’m not suggesting for one minute that we start arbitrarily sending our emails out between the hours of 17h00 and 21h00 every evening. 

We do however need to be able to occupy that prime real estate at the head of the email inbox at a time deemed most effective for a particular individual.

What I think we can do is pay close attention to our open and interaction rates and identify those individuals and organisations where there has been a sea change in behaviour and act accordingly, in three distinct areas:

  • Content 
    Only deliver what you absolutely know is of value. A shot gun approach will not work with this audience – they will quickly unsubscribe. In essence, make sure you understand your clients product preferences intimately.
  • Delivery
    Try and segment lists into behavioural groups and broadcast at times likely to suits their habits.
  • Frequency
    Everyone is stretched for time, so aside from ensuring the content is ‘on message’ consider different way of broadcasting content, e.g. combining key messages in a newsletter. Package communications in different ways in order to tailor them to your groups identified above.

Will it work?

It should do! By following the three simple points above surely it would be logical to see an increase in email interaction rates. 

In the coming weeks and months I shall be investigating these angles in my professional capacity and reporting my findings on this blog.

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2 Responses

  1. Steve Newman says:

    Hi Alistair,

    You raise some excellent points. Pertinency and relevance are key. Timeliness is also increasingly a factor in reaching out to your audience. If you can reach readers when they are most likely to be reading their email or working online, they are more likely to engage with your communication. The alternative is your email arriving in an already crowded inbox where it may face short shrift.

    To help you deliver your email at the optimal time, some providers like Silverpop allow you to deliver email at different times on the basis of their previous history of email opens. You simply schedule the campaign and the system sends out emails when it thinks best.

  2. alistairblevins says:

    The Silverpop solution to this issue sounds intriguing.

    I will also be mentioning this to our email service provider when I meet with them in a couple of weeks time.

    Good timing has always been important, but never more so than in the past few months!

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