You’ve targeted your ideal prospect and written a personalized and compelling email – but to win new business from senior marketing decision makers you need the prospect to open and reply to your message.
The day and time your email is sent has a major impact on your success. Several studies confirm the best days and times to send emails, but these have primarily focused on B2C emails and have used only open rates to make their recommendations.
This 2014 Yesware study of 500,000 emails, on the other hand, explicitly measures B2B sales emails and bases day and time recommendations on response rates.
Best Day to Send a Cold Email
Many people believe that Mondays are better days to send sales emails since prospects are back in the office. Fridays are believed to be poor, since many decision makers are thought to be on the golf course or at their beach house.
Yesware’s research says otherwise and found replies to be equal across each weekday. This is great news for sales reps that have been cramming their outreach into four weekdays.
As a consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business, I set up sales cadences with six email touch points. The first four messages and the sixth (and final message) are sent on weekdays.
But, I experiment with the fifth message and send it on a weekend. Absurd? This same Yesware study found that weekend emails are 10% more likely to be opened over weekday emails, likely because 80% fewer marketing emails are sent on weekends.
Best Time of Day to Send a Cold Email
Does time of day matter when sending out cold sales emails? Absolutely. The aforementioned Yesware study found that the best times to send cold emails were:
• early mornings (between 6 and 7 a.m.)
• evenings (around 8 p.m.)
Reply rates during these times were around 45%.
I have a two-pronged outreach approach that includes both emails and phone calls. Many people wait to check their voicemails until right before heading home from the office. So I send the voicemail follow up email around 8 p.m., giving the prospect more time to check and hear the voice message I left. When it comes to introduction emails, (ones not following up a voicemail) I send in the early morning.
Keep in mind that each situation is different; if you’re not receiving responses from morning and evening emails, try after-lunch and even later evening emails. Because many senior decision makers tend to work very early or very late, it’s not uncommon for them to respond outside of “regular” hours.
Useful Tools for Scheduling Emails
Good news: Sending emails at specific times does not mean getting up super early or staying up late. Today’s sales development platforms and tools allow you to schedule your emails in advance.
SalesLoft is an excellent example of a program that gives you the ability to set up a multi-touch sales cadence and schedule your emails to go out at specifically designated times.
The added benefit of using such a platform is that you can send your emails at optimal times based on your prospect’s time zone.
Measuring Your Success
An email campaign, like any other campaign, demands careful measurement of results to determine what’s working and what’s not. When looking at results, however, do so in terms of your reply rate—not the number of people whom simply open your emails.
Unfortunately, open rates can be quite misleading. Your tracking tool might record an open when your prospect hasn’t actually opened the message and vice versa.
A better way to measure your outreach success is to use your replies as the metric. To calculate, take the total number of positive replies and divide by the total number of messages sent. Keep in mind; a 50% open rate with a 1% reply rate will lead to fewer opportunities than a 5% open rate with a 10% reply rate.
As you can see, there’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to writing a sales email and deciding when to send it for the best chances of receiving a response. But you can increase your chances for success by:
• Experimenting with “off hour” weekday and weekend emails
• Using tools like SalesLoft to set up a sales cadence and schedule your emails; and
• Measuring success by tracking replies – not opens
These three tactics will help determine areas for improvement and change your sales email strategy as needed. After all, no two prospects are going to be exactly the same.
Christian Banach is an advertising agency new business consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.