For financial advisors, email seems to be the communication medium that is both despised, and loved, at the same time. Despite the fact that email clogs the inboxes, can commandeer our time, is 80 percent or more junk and/or superfluous, technologically archaic, it is STILL the workhorse communication medium for most financial advisors.
However, during a time where time and attention is a resource in diminishing supply, many successful financial advisors are becoming much more strategic in their use of email. One of these strategic decision points is the best time of day to send an email where the recipient is most likely to engage the email content.
“Engage the email content” is a multi-faceted activity. It involves the recipient doing three things:
- Opening the email
- Reading and understanding the content
- Responding and/or taking action
A recent interesting study from the Email Marketing Tips Blog indicates that the time of day when an email is sent is a critical factor if one wants to be successful in meeting all three of these facets. In the study they analyzed 21 million email messages. Some interesting patterns emerge:
- Emails have the best results within the 1st hour after delivery. This is when 23.63 percent of all emails are opened. But 24 hours after delivery, the average open rate is close to zero.
- Almost 40 percent of all messages are sent between 6 a.m. and noon. This can result in inbox clutter, and significantly decrease results for these emails.
- Therefore, messages sent in the early afternoon have a good chance of being noticed and consequently achieve good results.
- As a general rule, if your recipients are occupied with other activities, they won’t be able to engage while the email is still “fresh”, and your message will be crowded out by more recent messages.
- Generally, there are two top engagement periods: 8 – 10 a.m., and 3 – 4 p.m.
- To further increase the likelihood of email engagement, send your email one hour prior to one of these top engagement periods.
Some Lessons for Financial Advisors
For emails where you want your clients and prospective clients to READ and ENGAGE, consider the following:
- What time of day do your clients attend to their email? For example, if you have a large number of clients who are busy families with activities and such, the late afternoon and the dinner hour might possibly be the worst time of day to get their attention. However, the later evening when parents are settling down might be much better.
- Not sure when your clients read their emails? Ask them. An effective “best practice” is to include this inquiry as part of the new client onboarding process.
- Don’t forget the subject line. In another survey, 64 percent of respondents indicated that they open emails on the basis of subject lines.
Who knows how long email will remain the go-to medium for many financial advisors? With the rate of technological change in mobile devices as well as our changing communication habits and preferences, email might possibly be defunct in a few years. However, for today email still is the king.
Long live the king…but respect when he likes to eat, rest, and sleep.