Healthcare marketers know that maximizing email open rates depends on several factors:
- Using an authenticated database that is cleansed daily
- Sending to each physician’s "most active" email address
- Developing relevant and compelling subject lines
Optimizing the timing of your deployments is equally important -- and endlessly debated.
Fortunately, we’ve come a long way from "Tuesday is the best day for email." Like most other aspects of email marketing, deployment timing is now data-driven. The more deployment data your email provider has to work with, the better off you’ll be.
First: Time Deployments by Specialty
The data we’ve collected from 30,000 campaigns points to the best day of week and time of day to deploy for each specialty. For example, a primary care provider who works eight-to-five and schedules time for administrative activities may regularly check email during the workday. On the other hand, a surgeon working at a level one trauma center probably reads email only in the early or late hours when she is not in the operating room.
Timing email deployment by specialty is a critical first step, but it isn’t foolproof. Most people who receive an email open it within four hours, or not at all. In other words, if you review data for a number of oncology emails sent on Wednesdays, you’re likely to see good open rates for Wednesday. However, you won’t know if the same email would have been even more successful on other days.
Next: Test Your Target List
Rather than basing your deployment schedule solely on when most oncologists have opened email in the past, it’s better to determine when the oncologists on your target list are most likely to engage with your current campaign. If you’re using a database with an automated testing platform, this should be a straightforward process.
Suppose there are 87,000 oncologists in your database, but your current mailing targets only 10,500. By taking a sample of this group and sending test emails seven days a week and at different times, you can determine which day and time performs best with your audience. You can then use that information to optimize for your entire target list going forward.
Best: Test Anything and Everything
To further improve open rates, every email deployment should be followed by an "echo send" at a later date. Testing this echo send provides additional insight into the ideal deployment timing for your targets. Your echo send may confirm your earlier results, or it may indicate that you need to modify your deployment schedule.
Continuous testing allows marketers to be nimble in their deployments, as well as many other aspects of email creation. By testing subject lines, pre-headers, and calls to action in combination with different times and days of the week, you can generate incremental increases in your open rates from one campaign to the next.
While some database providers may discourage this level of testing because it is labor intensive, if your database includes an automated testing platform, frequent testing becomes easy and cost effective.