Direct Marketing – When to Communicate?

In advising a client about telemarketing recently, I was asked the question “when should we call our prospects to get the best response?”.

A very good question and unfortunately not one that I had a solid answer for. So I hit the books and put some study in to find out if there are any facts or recent studies completed that I could base our decisions on, but I couldn’t find anything. Stuck for info I approached the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s librarians to find out if they had access to any data I could use. The answer was an apologetic no, even the CIM is stuck for this kind of knowledge.

But I can’t believe there haven’t been any studies on this, especially with telemarketing being such an established and profitable business. So, if you know anything on this subject, please share it here. For small businesses this would be invaluable in helping them to get the most from their budgets.

However, some good news on email marketing. Rosalind Gardner’s Net Profits Today blog has a post about the best day to send marketing messages via email. She concludes that it’s different depending on whether you are b2b or b2c. For b2b the preferred day for receiving email is Monday and for b2c it’s a Thursday. However for b2c, Saturday and Sunday are also both very good days.

In terms of response, email marketers have been achieving between 32-38% open rates and 4-5% click rates for both b2b and b2c. I.e. for every 100 emails sent, around 35 people will actually open the email and 4-5 will click on a link to visit your website. How many of those convert to sales is dependent on your product and site design.

APR 2010 UPDATE since writing this back in 2006 I have been working a great deal in email marketing and these stats look incredible and possiby unrealistic. Open rates tend to be more like around 10% and click throughs 1% – at least in b2b email marketing. Perhaps this is a reflection on how heavily companies are now moving to email marketing and the impact this is having on open rates.

In terms of telemarketing, we decided to test various times of the day to evaluate when our targets were most responsive. Based on the test, we would evaluate the overall likely success of the campaign, as well as the most successful time of day.