Just like in Journalism 101, learning the 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When and Why – is important in digital marketing too, because digital marketers are professional storytellers. In this post, I will focus on the “WHEN” as it relates to digital marketing. My inspiration for this post was the fact that it’s summertime when so many companies decrease or even stop their marketing efforts – which, by the way, has been proven to be a bad mistake.
So let’s take a look at the importance of “when” – whether it’s the time of year, month, week, or even time of day – and see why “timing is everything” in digital marketing, too.
Why Timing is Everything in Digital Marketing
TIME OF YEAR
There are plenty of “rules” about marketing that people follow, sometimes a bit too blindly. For example, the old chestnut about cutting back on marketing activities during summer vacation and the November/December holiday season.
But now that our smartphones go everywhere we do – even to Grandma’s house during Christmas – your target audience can almost always be reached. And they may even be willing to check out digital marketing messages during those times (especially during Grandma’s vacation slideshow from Branson, MO).
Digital Marketing Q1: January through March
In the first quarter of the year, you’re (hopefully) executing things that you planned in Q4 of the previous year. Target audiences may be dealing with the post-holiday blues or financial struggles due to excessive gift-giving, or just plain “back to work” malaise.
But each of those scenarios provides you with an opportunity to hit them with all the right early-year messages:
- Customer acquisition: Kick off the new year with a bang! It’s time to try something new!
- New product/service: New year, new you!
- Savings offer: It’s a long year ahead, let’s make sure you stay within your budget!
- And of course, the ever-popular New Year’s resolutions.
Digital Marketing Q2: April through June
By springtime, your marketing activities should really be in full swing. In fact, those kinds of messages dovetail nicely with the weather and outdoorsiness of the season.
Snow is melting, temperatures are rising, and flowers are blooming. It may seem like the world is being reborn and refreshed, so those are some good messages to try:
- Customer acquisition: It’s springtime – let’s rejuvenate your business!
- New product/service: Spring into spring!
- Savings offer: Savings are in bloom!
- It’s also a great time to refresh your website or even your brand.
Digital Marketing Q3: July through September
The dreaded summer vacation months. It’s the time when – traditionally – marketers slow down or even stop communicating with their customers and prospects.
MISTAKE! Of course, there are plenty of messages you could be (and should be) sending out, whether they’re summer-related or post-vacation, back-to-school related:
- Customer acquisition: Head back to school/work with confidence!
- New product/service: We’re setting off fireworks with our latest offering!
- Savings offer: These hot deals are sizzling with savings! (Sorry about that one.)
- Total honesty can work during this time, too: “You might be sipping your favorite adult beverage on the beach right now. So why are you reading this? Because you’re good at what you do and you care about your company’s success.”
Digital Marketing Q4: October through December
Days getting shorter. Temps getting colder. And lots of holiday planning, cooking and shopping to do. Who has time to think about work?
Better be you! You want to finish the year strong, tally up how well you’ve done, and do your planning for next year:
- Customer acquisition: Finish the year strong – and start next year even stronger!
- New product/service: Here’s a gift from us to you!
- Savings offer: Last chance to save this year! Holiday pricing!
- Plenty of holiday themes to go with, from giving thanks to family love.
TIME OF MONTH
If you’re thinking on a monthly basis, think like a car salesman. You want a strong first week to build momentum so you don’t have to stress about meeting your quotas in the last week.
This is where plenty of research and knowledge about your customers and prospects is key.
Always be aware of your target audience’s monthly schedule. Do they typically do their spending early, middle or late in the month? Or is it a constant thing for them?
TIME OF WEEK
This particular issue is probably one of the easiest to analyze because most working folks are in the same boat. So, think about how receptive you would be to marketing messages on these days:
- Monday = Don’t bother me, I’m recuperating from the weekend and wishing it was longer.
- Tuesday = OK, buckling down to start really getting stuff done.
- Wednesday = Hump day! Still working hard, but now there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
- Thursday = Still going strong. Even thinking about a celebratory drink or two this evening.
- Friday = Counting the minutes! Weekend weekend weekend!
That’s why many studies show that those three middle days are probably the best options for sending out marketing messages. But again, with so many of today’s working people online 24/7, chances are good you’ll catch them paying attention every single day.
TIME OF DAY
Don’t use yourself as the example in this scenario, because you might be a morning person or an afternoon person or a night owl – but your target audience is likely a mix of all of these.
The kind of message you send can be tailored to the time of day, and that’s a worthwhile path to go down. However, remember that not everybody views your messages immediately. For example, lots of folks “triage” their email inbox – scanning through, reading the most urgent or intriguing emails, and “saving the others for later.”
Because of that behavior, make sure you stand out from the crowd!
Digital Marketing Leads the Way!
As the digital world gets more trackable and data-driven, digital marketing is leading the way. The timing of your digital marketing efforts can be an important factor, so give it some thought when you can. (I suggest immediately!)
Have you thought about the impact of timing on your digital marketing efforts? Do you have any “timely” success stories to share?