It’s the eve of a major international trade show, and you’re setting up your drip campaigns to message all the new leads you’re going to collect before the night’s over. You know you want to schedule the first follow-up email three days from now, but at what time? Staring blankly at the time field, you wonder (and not for the first time), When is the best time to send an email?
Traditionally, determining the “When” likely involved looking at past open rates or reading a few articles online to glean the best send times.
Understanding how critical it is to be at the top of the inbox at the best time for optimal open and engagement rates is fundamental to outbound marketing. Marketing automation platforms are taking steps to solve this for marketers but with two different approaches.
Below, we explain these two methods (one based on timezone and the other on behavior) in further detail.
How Hubspot’s Smart Send Works
For contacts who have previously opened or clicked on an email from your organization, HubSpot stores the IP location information as contact properties (IP country & IP country code). In a perfect scenario, with Smart Timezone Sending, everyone on your list will receive your email at the time that you want your email delivered in his or her timezone. However, the question marketers should be asking is… What if the majority of your recipients don’t check their email at the time you’re sending? If so, your brilliant messaging is going to be buried under a pile of other emails when the recipient sits down to go through his or her inbox, which means they might never even see your email, much less actually engage with it.
Furthermore, VPNs and proxy servers can cause issues with understanding where a contact resides, which lots of business and enterprises use as part of their IT infrastructure for security. For example, if a target prospect is located in Tokyo, but their proxy server is located in California, then the Smart Send will send based on a California time zone. A 16-hour time difference, which derails the grand plan to deliver at a specified time.
Adaptive Sending: The Smarter Way to Send
On the other hand, Act-On’s Adaptive Sending works quite differently than HubSpot’s Smart Send. Adaptive Sending not only analyzes and learns each contact’s behavior on when they open, click, and convert by the time of day and day of the week, but it also allows you to deliver your emails to each recipient at his or her most optimal time based on historical engagement data.
With Adaptive Sending, Act-On learns who opens and engages at which times and creates a send schedule based on the best time to reach each individual. For instance, if a CEO prospect engages with her email most often at 9:00 am PST (after her second coffee of the morning), she will get your email at 9:00 am PST. If a CMO most often engages with his email at 10:00 pm Central because he’s swamped and works way later than he should, he will get your email at 10:00 pm Central.
So what does this all mean from a numbers perspective? Act-On’s customers have experienced a 15-20% increase in open rates. We’ve also noticed a significantly increased engagement from previously inactive contacts.
Act-On Adaptive Sending Outperforms HubSpot Smart Send
While HubSpot’s Smart Send is a better alternative than just blasting out all of your emails to all of your prospects and customers at the same time, it doesn’t provide the level of personalization that Adaptive Sending does. Our solution allows smart marketers to pinpoint the best send time for each specific individual, increasing open, engagement, and conversion rates.