Customer Development and Research

What Does the Clock Say? – The Best Time to Send Research Invites

Whether asking people to have a quick chat, share their thoughts or take your survey, one of the most important keys to success is the right timing. (Just like it is in almost every part of life, but let’s not put the ‘Coelho hat’ on just now.)

SENDING OUT EMAIL INVITES

If you are lucky enough, you might have a nice, long list of email addresses of target customer samples or your existing users to send your invite to. But however easy the ride seems, there are some bumps on the road. Beside pro challenges like picking an attractive subject line, scheduling is not easy either.

Mailchimp created some graphics based on their own data that shows the following:

  • Tuesday to Thursday are the best days to send emails (some of my former experiences are in line with it)
  • The most active hours are between 2 and 5 PM. 

Screen Shot 2012-05-15 at 8.34.09 AM

daysofweekgraph (1)

As this handy, thorough infographics reassure this, the best time to get your invitation email opened is either between 8-9 AM (think local time, of course) or 3-4 PM.

Obviously, this is mainly meant for people on a regular daily schedule (commuting to 9-to-5 jobs, running errands etc.). For kinky segments like workaholic startup entrepreneurs who are online 24/7 but have a short attention span or for groups ‘on duty’ (think parents at home), you have to get more creative.

By ‘creative’, I mean empathic. Try to imagine what and when your target customers do on a regular day. What’s even better, try to talk to a few and estimate a good time slot for them.

Obviously, the best solution – as almost always is – to run an A/B test. If you have a mailing list or contact database, don’t use all your ammunition for one shot. Create sub-groups and send the invites at different times of the day or different days.

‘FISHING’ ON SOCIAL MEDIA

If you are spreading the invite on other channels, do your homework. Think about the chances of your target group seeing your post where you invite people to take your survey or have a chat with you.

Remember, hacking your call to action post onto external sites/groups/pages is challenging itself as there is a high chance your message will land on some tiny sidebar box along with other people’s messages. Timing is key.

Also, there are some calculations (see below; note: based on EST time zone) that may guide you when it’s best to post on different Social Media sites. Keep them in mind.

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If you want to read more, Buffer also had a very thorough article on the topic which slightly differs at some points from what’s said above. However, generally, they advise an afternoon rule-of-thumb and Thursdays.

Again, increase your chances by posting to different pages at different times, or sharing your post multiple times. (E.g. catching up, saying thanks to those who helped and asking for more people, referring back to it etc.)

USING SITES LIKE MTURK

Actually, this is interesting. When we posted a CTA to get young US parents as interviewees for a project lately, we just launched the batch ‘for fun’ at first as we assumed that no one would call us that early in the morning. (It was like  7-8 AM if we take an average US time zone compared to our time zone).

However, we started receiving calls and our Skype was on fire all the (week)day, with people calling from totally different parts of the country. (As far as I remember, it was a Thursday.) We guessed that parents do wake up early and probably already sent their kids off to school / kindergarten.

We had similar experiences on other days, too. However, when I had an other project beforehand, I had much more success during the night (CET) while didn’t really manage to reach people during the day.

I guess that as for MTurk, people are more ‘motivated’ to reach out to you. You don’t have to make that much effort to get people’s attention when it comes to timing – it is better to keep the batch active as often and as long as you can.

The only exception is when you want to exclude some segments (like unemployed people) that people otherwise not be sincere about on the phone. In this case, you have higher chances to get the right people if you activate your CTA outside of normal work hours.

Remember, timing is key. In most cases, you have one shot and you had better make it right.

 

 

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