One of the hottest topics in the industry, is timing. There are many aspects to which the concept can be applied, but for today’s conversation: we are discussing it in the sense of when to post, send, etc.
There are a range of insights, available from a range of platforms, that allow you access to certain portions of your consumer’s mindset and lifestyle. Specifically timing related, you can discover what days and times your audience is most active on which platforms.
This can be helpful when beginning social media efforts, but as you establish your activity around this timeline—throw variations in. Test other days and times that might not be your first, or even fourth choice from this data. These audience insights signify that your consumer is online, but not necessarily that they are receiving your message. They may be bombarded by a barrage of other content, or be accessing the platform for other predetermined purposes.
Posting outside of your audience’s peak activity period is not a death sentence. Remember: hashtags, location data, and engagement rates factor into algorithms more than time. A successful post outside of your top timeframes can still hit your audience, whenever they’re online.
Blog Posts & Web Content
Like social media, website hosting platforms often provide quite detailed information as to when your site experiences the most activity. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the best time to post your blogs and other web content. Other promotional efforts should point back to your website, and sometimes your blog in particular.
Often, it is effective to post links to your blog content on social channels, or to share them in your email efforts. This ensures your content is seen when you want it to be, without having to schedule it as strictly.
Unlike social media, your website is private property. Your content exists on its own timeline, and amongst only what you decide. It will be buried only by the future content you plan to include.
E-Mail Blasts & Newsletters
This is a fairly fluid rule, but generally: if you’re offering something, you can hit them when they’re busy/active; if you’re asking for something, get them when they’re less likely to be preoccupied. Make sure your subject line suggests one or the other.
If you’re offering a great deal, free literature—something valuable—and your email reaches the inbox of your target when they’re preoccupied: 1. they open it, and accept it as welcome distraction, 2. they recognize it, leave it unopened, and return when they have the time.
If you’re asking for them to fill out a survey, or make an appointment—something even remotely taxing—try your best to reach their inbox at a time when they’ve completed all their other tasks for the day, or week. Give them the time to get to it, when they can. This will: 1. let your target know you value their time, 2. ensure you get a more thoughtful, engaged read and response.
Of course, once established, play around with your days and timing. Most programs offer A/B testing functionality, which can be employed to help optimize a variety of variables. Including time.
Planning the timing of your marketing efforts is a fairly new concept. Timing in the editorial calendar sense, not so much. But considering the exact time at which your consumer receives your message? That’s a relatively modern luxury.
Of course, television advertising is where it really began. Deciding when, and when not to air your commercial(s). If you’re attempting to reach a stay-at-home parent, daytime slots would likely be effective. If you’d like to reach a school-aged child, during the school year, not so much (unless you really want to reach the ones that stayed home sick). A busy professional? The nightly news could be worth the investment.
In print, the concept of timing in the scope of this article doesn’t exist. Of course you’ll consider the time of year, but that’s about all you can control here.
So, Is It Everything?
Timing is not everything. Print media, and other outlets where this kind of timing isn’t an option, can still be widely successful. The insights available to us regarding time should be considered, and used to establish a baseline of consistency. Once developed, test the waters of time that surround your islands of peak activity. You never know what sunken city, or buried treasure you’ll find along the way.
Being active outside of peak times creates potential for new audiences, at new times. Sticking exclusively to the timeline of your existing audience can be extremely limiting. Content can, and should, be used to expand your horizons. Not just maintain them.
What advice do you have for scheduling social posts, email blasts, and other time controlled content? Let’s work out some more ideas in the comment section below!