As an email marketer, you want your messages to show up when subscribers will see them first – at the top of the inbox instead of buried under a mountain of competing messages. Figuring out when to send emails so subscribers will see them is a starting point for email optimization. But if you stop there, you’ll miss a huge opportunity to use this data for greater segmentation and personalization. 

That’s what will make your email break through cluttered inboxes and attract attention and engagement.

Aren’t send time and open time the same?

Not quite. Send-time data uses message opens as a proxy for checking email and suggests general sending times when subscribers are most likely to see them. But this method could mislead you into basing important decisions on faulty data:

If the subscriber doesn’t enable images, the email won’t send the ping, and the open won’t get recorded. You could end up missing a big chunk of data if a sizable number of subscribers seldom or never enable images.

That’s why you need to factor in “moment of open” data. It detects and reports opens based on proprietary elements within the email that get activated when a subscriber opens the message. 

How open-time data can optimize for accuracy and engagement

Send time tells you when someone opens your email. (See the note above about inaccuracy and under-reporting). Open-time data, integrated with dynamic content, opens the door to deeper segmentation and personalization that can drive the results you want – more clicks that lead to purchases, registrations or whatever action your email should deliver.

You can use open-time data in many ways to drive greater insight and engagement, but these three use cases illustrate how it works:

1. Make email personalization more personal and urgency more urgent.

Adding a first name to the subject line or message copy barely moves the needle these days for engagement. What does? A dynamic content module that changes time-of-day greetings (from “Good morning, Jacinta” for someone who opens an email at 9 a.m. to “Good evening, Jacinta” at 9 p.m.) 

Open-time data also helps you get customers moving by using temporal terms (“today,” “tonight,” “tomorrow”) instead of expiration dates, which can be more abstract in the imagination.

2. Test to find the highest engagement time. 

Many people check their email first thing in the morning, even before they stumble out of bed. But is that when they’re buying?

Suppose you send a juicy upgrade offer for a mobile phone service. People might see and open your email at 9 a.m. but not be prepared to act on it.

If you set up sending times using open-time data, you might learn your email gets more traction when your recipients are on their lunch hours or in the early evening, when they have time to consider it seriously.  

3. Keep customers updated on key developments.

This can be a game-changer this holiday season, especially if expert predictions come true about a surge in online ordering, home delivery or curbside/in-store pickup. 

Suppose you send a shipping notice at 3 a.m., based on STO, and your customer opens it at 2 p.m. In the intervening team, the package got delayed at noon. That 3 a.m. email is out of date, but your customer won’t know it based on your email.

Using open-time info, the customer who opens the email at 2 p.m. will see the updated content showing the revised delivery date. 

Making this data work for you

We’re making it easier and more effective to access and tap into this data for your email campaigns and journeys with our new tool, Insights. Want to learn more? Request a personalized demo!

Consumers are becoming more wary about sharing their personal data, even as marketers are finding out just how valuable advanced personalization can be for their bottom lines.

That doesn’t mean personalization is doomed. But marketers do need to be smart about how they gather data, and how they personalize experiences.

Many of these tactics are detailed in Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization. Below, we’ll show you how consumers are shifting their attitudes on data-sharing and why advanced personalization using real-time data doesn’t rely on consumer-provided data to create email messages that are unique to each subscriber.

Consumers are Conflicted about Sharing Personal Data

Data security is on consumers’ minds, whether it comes from the 1.4 million fraud reports to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the estimated $14.8 billion lost to cybercrime or the growing number of laws regulating data collection and privacy, such as GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act.

These three recent studies underscore shifting consumer attitudes about personalization and data-sharing:

Maybe not the best news if you’re gathering consumer data for personalization efforts. But consider that consumers are still willing to trade data for perks like better prices, discounts and exclusive offers (71%), especially if they trust the retail brand and its privacy policy (73%). 

That means marketers have to work harder to show the value of sharing data and to build trust with their customers – like writing a clear privacy policy in plain language, making it easy to find and sticking to it. 

Advantages of Using Real-Time Data

The Relevancy Group’s blockbuster 2019 report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, found personalization using real-time data generated upwards of $20 in additional for every $1 spent on it; considerably more than adding the customer’s first name to the subject or message content or using behavior like web visits and purchases.

The beauty of this real-time data is that you can use it to automatically add or change content based on users’ email activities. You can personalize the content based on your subscriber’s open time, location or other environmental factors.

Here’s one example: At 9 a.m., you send an email promoting a hot new product to your entire subscriber base. It sells out by noon. What about the people who open your email at 1 p.m.? 

“You snooze, you lose” is not good marketing philosophy! 

Instead, combine open time with real-time inventory data to automatically update your 9 a.m. email. Instead of seeing the original product image and copy, your latecomers would see a note that the product had sold out, but they could ask to be notified when it’s back in stock. Or, you could swap in a related in-stock product, again based on live inventory data. 

New Report Details Real Results

Personalization based on real-time data helps you deliver better customer experiences every time. Preference and other customer-supplied data will always be important to your email program. But you can still create unique messages for your customers using real-time data you collect from the email environment. 

Find out how in this new Liveclicker report, Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization. It details the personalization tactics that deliver the best results and shares stories of two big-name brands that used real-time data to hit their goals.

We’ve been talking a lot about how advanced personalization can help you earn upwards of $20 for every $1 you invest in it.

That’s all well and good; but what if you don’t know much about your individual subscribers? What if there’s large portions of your mailing list missing data in fields commonly used for personalization? How can you achieve advanced personalization if you don’t even know the basics like a first name?

Good news! It’s still possible to make a more personal email experience even when most of your ESP fields are empty.

All you need to start personalizing your email is to have a subscriber open one of your emails. That will unleash a wealth of real-time data you can use to craft messages that are more relevant and engaging than a static broadcast email.

3 Powerful Data Points You Can Fall Back On

  1. Time of day: This single bit of information gives you a wide variety of options to personalize your email. Here are three examples:
  1. Open location: This yields another rich vein of information you can use to personalize your emails. It uses the opener’s location data to zero in on their location and serve up locally useful content. Here are two suggestions:
  1. Device used: Device tracking can detect which subscribers open your email on a smartphone or tablet and customize even further by type of device. Use it to add a tap-to-text function to make acting on your emails more convenient and less frustrating.

A Liveclicker client used tap-to-text to help mobile customers sign up easily for a special entertainment package. (See how in this free reportTactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization.)

What If You Don’t Have Open Time Data?

Take a step back and use segmentation to help you get that first open. It’s important that your newest customers open your emails because they generally are your most active subscribers. If they don’t, that’s an early warning that something’s amiss.

If you already send a welcome message or series of onboarding emails to your newest opt-ins, you’re a step ahead. You just need to identify those subscribers who didn’t open your emails and send an email that nudges them to open.

Send a poll to new subscribers. This can pique their interest more effectively than a standard promotional email. Plus, it can help you collect supplementary preference data along with time-of-day data (see No. 1 above). 

A live poll collects immediate subscriber feedback and lets them see how they compare to other respondents. It’s an easier request than asking them to buy something if they’re not ready for that commitment. 

You can add a poll to your welcome message or to one of the emails in your email onboarding series. Or, follow up a one-time welcome message with another email containing the poll.

When your subscriber opens the email and clicks on the poll, you’ll collect two kinds of data: the open data you need to start personalizing, and whatever information you collect from the poll, which you can use for more personalization or for customer segmentation.

Testing will show you when to send it and what kind of poll content is most likely to get people to participate.

One Caveat: Be Transparent When Collecting Consumer Data

Today’s consumers are less willing to share some personal kinds of information, an Advertising Research Foundation report says. Although its research focused mainly on website information-gathering, you can assume that skittish attitude might translate to email, too.

Before you ask for personal information, be sure you really need it for your business goals. If you do, explain clearly why you’re asking for it, what you will do with it and how you will protect it.

Data-security laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act require this. But it’s also good business to assure your customers about the data you collect.

One of the beautiful things about email is how versatile of a tool it is for marketers. It can complement any campaign, target any audience, and support any part of the customer journey.

But email has traditionally had one key shortcoming, at least compared to other marketing channels and tools: it’s not great for creating urgency or building immediate anticipation.

Fortunately one simple tactic, embedding a countdown timer in email, can mitigate that weakness and create the compelling ‘fear of missing out’ feeling that marketers love so much. Read fast, this blog will self destruct in 10…9…8…

The Power of FOMO

The inclusion of urgency in marketing is a time-honored art that has evolved into a sophisticated science. As marketers have come under more and more pressure to drive immediate contributions to the bottom line, they’ve needed to find new ways to generate quick conversions.

From broadcast commercials to direct mail, display ads to Facebook posts, marketers’ messages are often jam-packed with urgency. Act today! Download now! Register before it’s too late! Order before we’re sold out!

There’s a reason marketers try to build a fear of missing out within their campaigns: it works, especially among digitally-connected consumers and younger generations.

Nearly 70% of millennials report experiencing FOMO, and 60% report making purchases because of it.

As Eventbrite reports, “For millennials, FOMO is not just a cultural phenomenon, it’s an epidemic. In a world where news feeds and social media broadcast what friends are experiencing, the fear of missing out propels millennials to show up, share and engage: a driving force behind the experience economy.”

Leading verticals able to take advantage of this sensation include travel, events, and food/dining, though it has a place among almost any industry.

Email: Fuel for the FOMO Fire

Email is an incredibly effective marketing channel, but traditionally has not been the go-to tool for inciting FOMO.

The channel lacks some of the capabilities that make catching the eye and inciting an immediate action easy. There’s no emotional music cues, no eye-catching stickers, no spoken dialogue, and little exciting video.

But the situation isn’t hopeless. It’s still possible to inject exigency into the inbox and increase conversion rates.

One of the most effective options for generating this urgency is to insert an email countdown timer.

From rocket launches into outer space to time bombs requiring immediate disarmament, there’s something about a ticking clock that builds up unmatchable and anxiety and anticipation.

This simple yet powerful tool is the perfect way to motivate immediate action in your email marketing. Just a few of the things you can do with it:

It’s never been easier to insert active countdown timers into your emails. Innovative real-time email technology means your embedding a countdown clock in email can look great on any device. Timers can be customized to display time ticking away down to the fraction of a second. Expertly-implemented timers even adapt to the client they’re opened in to display a live running clock or a still image that refreshes every time the email is opened!

3…2…1… GO!

Subscribers aren’t the only ones “on the clock.” Marketers are also racing to get ahead, differentiate their email experience and drive conversions. The good news is that results-generating tactics like embedding countdown timers in email have never been more accessible.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to add urgency and FOMO to your emails! (See what we did there?) Click here to see the power and capabilities of countdown timers in email for yourself.

Creating the perfect email isn’t a dream anymore.

In recent years, technology has opened new paths to consumer interaction in the inbox – bringing rich media and deeper content personalization mainstream. The movement of software and device maturation towards customer experience is helping marketers deliver better message content and template functionality. This move has positioned email as number one business-to-consumer channel of choice for almost all digital communications.

Email is the #1 activity on the Internet – even over using a search engine. It’s also the #1 activity on mobile devices” (Marketing Growth Strategies, Litmus)

Marketers consistently rank email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion and retention” (Gigaom Research)

Consumer experience is a key factor in email marketing’s growth. Static email content has grown to become dynamic and still grows as real-time functionality can identify recipient-level variables to deepen message personalization. Segmentation has also evolved – from historical to forward-looking demarcation.

A forward-looking approach is a cornerstone to basic inbox personalization at scale. Real-time information is used to trigger content delivery within an email template to heighten recipient interest. Segmentation in this process happens at the moment the email opens, rather than before the email sends. Each email is individually personalized based on live recipient data, rendering uniquely in each inbox.

How Does Live Data Scale Email Relevance?

With real-time email technology, live data pulls directly from the email recipient each time the email opens. The data is analyzed and filtered instantly, pushing back the most recent and relevant content to openers. By positioning segmentation at the inbox rather than before the send, personalization is fluid to the point of open, not limited to pre-send information within the campaign workflow.

Uncoupling segmentation from predefined lists allows more interactive content within an email campaign. Images, omni-channel marketing data, custom feeds, website content, and live CRM data are pulled in real-time to create the highest possible relevance for openers. Live data filters automate segmentation, reducing the need for list building.

Pre-defining lists for an email campaign comes with a certain amount of disconnection between the company and recipients. As data ages in a CRM, it has a natural amount of attrition that atrophies messaging personalization. Pre-defined segmentation also inherently ignores the context and setting of where an email opens regarding the recipients – diminishing relevance before deployment.

Where is Live Data Used?

Live data can be used to increase relevance for all types of email content. To date, companies using real-time email technology are leveraging time, location, device, and inbox client data to tighten email context. Live data helps recipients open more interesting emails, also giving marketers an edge technically on rich-media delivery. Device and software identification assists in delivering the appropriate video or animated image to email openers to prevent broken emails in the inbox.

What Email Elements does Live Data Affect?

Email elements with imagery are the most affected by live data. Because HTML text is hard coded into an email, contextual content technology does not currently change the text within an email template. However, live website, social media, or weather information pulled for an email are refreshed within embedded images, mimicking text-based content.

Example: Live Data in Email

Live data in email

Live data makes a big difference in email relevance and can be as simple as cross-channel inclusions, like Instagram photos. 

Can Live Data Replace List Segmentation?

Yes and no. Segmentation based on real-time variables that overlap with CRM information would need consideration, but live data does a better job of enhancing pre-existing data segmentation than replacing it. Using historical in conjunction with moment-of-open information is the perfect mix of context for the email recipient.

When is the Best Time to Involve Live Data?

Anytime.

Live data integrations into an email can be as simple as configuring the logic and pasting a line of HTML into an existing email template. Simple implementations like social media feeds or weather are implemented in less than a few minutes. Although, similar to any marketing campaign, customizing images and element display can take extra development time.

Advanced integrations like real-time account-level information delivered in graphical form naturally take more time to configure and test, but create a lasting impression on inbox performance.