What's the best day and time to send outbound marketing emails? How many outreach attempts is "enough"? How long should emails be?

Those and other frequently asked questions about outbound-marketing emails can be tough to answer. But let's give it a shot.

Question 1: What's the best day and time to send emails?

Answer: It depends. But fear not: You can ask yourself some key questions to get closer to the response that will work best for your target audience.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are the audience members of this campaign?
  • What stage of their life are they in?
  • Where do they fall in their company hierarchy?
  • When do they have free moments in the work day?
  • When are they likely to check work email on their phone?

If you find these questions difficult to answer or there is no clear trend, then you either don't know your audience as well as you should (in which case your messaging is unlikely to connect anyway) or your campaign does not have cohesive targeting.

The only objective way to determine the optimal time to send to a given audience is by looking at your data. If you do not have data on optimal send times for your audience, use your best guess as a starting point, then A/B-test to find a better starting point for iteration.

Day of the week seems to matter less and less for marketing emails. However, positive replies to outbound sales emails mostly occur Monday to Friday. And unless your data tells you otherwise, confine your sends to business hours.

Question 2: How many attempts is "enough"?

Answer: Don't stop short; for the best ROI, automate attempts.

The numbers prove that "giving up" after making two to three attempts to reach out to potential customers results in money left on the table.

When sending emails manually, sales reps or marketers might think, "If I haven't gotten a response by now, it isn't going to happen at all." Then, they move on to the next lead on their list. But by doing so, they're missing the contacts that might have the biggest potential for payoff. That's why it pays to automate.

The truth is, there is no "perfect" amount of follow-up sends. It differs for every client and every industry.

However, data from LeadGenius finds that eight email sequences are right in the sweet spot. Of all emails sent by LeadGenius on behalf of clients in an eight-email sequence, 36.2% of the positive replies came after the third send.

When you stop short after only a few email sends, you fail to maximize the value of each lead; moreover, your reps will burn through leads far quicker than they should.

An additional advantage of automating steps in the outbound email process is ensuring that every lead gets the same treatment.

Question 3: How should you space out follow-up emails?

Answer: Persistence and frequency early on can pay off, but patience wins in the long run. Outbound is not a short game. Try this 50-day sequence for a typical 90-day sales cycle:

Day 1: Email 1

Day 2: Call 1 (leave voicemail)

Day 3: Email 2 + LinkedIn profile view

Day 4: Call 2 (no voicemail)

Day 5: Email 3 + Twitter follow/like

Day 8: Call 3 (voicemail)

Day 11: Email 4

Day 15: Email 5

Day 21: Email 6

Day 35: Email 7

Day 50: Email 8

As soon as a prospect responds to this sequence, he/she should be removed from the sequence. A positive response goes directly to a sales development rep or account executive for further development. A negative response removes the prospect from future outbound workflows.

Question 4: How long should the emails be?

Answer: Keep outbound emails short and to the point. There's no firm character-count limit, but if your email exceeds 100 words, you should look for ways to get to the point faster.

Keep in mind that anywhere from 20% to 50% of your outbound emails will be opened and read on mobile devices. Your messages should be simple enough to scan and digest at a glance.

The issue of email content and length is where the art of sales meets the science of outbound. There are many templates, tricks, and techniques to use as guides, but a good place to start is to simply read your emails aloud before you send them.

You might be surprised how different they sound in your head vs. out loud; you'll hear what's superfluous and what gets right to the point.

Question 5: What are the most effective CTAs?

Answer: Opens and clicks only get you so far. In most outbound scenarios, the most desired call to action is an email reply—which is the most direct and reliable way to gauge interest.

To get to that desired CTA, your emails should ask a single, yes/no question that doesn't put constraints or conditions on the recipient; it simply asks, "Are you interested?" The details can be hashed out later. A simple, "yes" means this person is now in your pipeline.

If the prospect does not respond to your first email, you can use content in subsequent emails to offer additional value. The more targeted and higher-quality the content, the more likely the lead is to engage with it.

* * *

I hope those five questions and answers shed some light on topics that have been on your mind regarding your outbound marketing efforts.

No matter how long you've been in sales and marketing, there are always ways to improve your lead generation efforts. Try implementing a few of the tips here to improve your outcomes and results.

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Five Outbound-Email FAQs That Stump Even Experienced Marketers

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image of William Wickey

William Wickey is content marketing manager at LeadGenius. He specializes in growth strategy, crisis communications, and lean marketing.

Twitter: @wwickey

LinkedIn: William Wickey