Updated October 6, 2021 - A lot has changed since we wrote this article in 2017! After reading this, you may want to check out this newer post we wrote on the same topic.
It's no secret that we create data in everything we do day in and day out and that it’s used to profile our behavior. Whether that be when we're more likely to take a vacation, buy a book on Amazon, buy a new iPhone, or even if we're about to have a baby. More and more we are finding ways to gain value from previously ignored data.
Take, for instance, one of my favorite movies, "Moneyball." Billy Beane took the A's to the playoffs on a shoestring budget by looking at the data no one else was looking at. Baseball has never been the same since. What Billy Beane did to baseball I've set out to do with communication data. Understand it in every way, shape, and form then help people take action on that data to be more productive.
Understanding my contacts
I started this journey by analyzing my own email archive trying to understand when, from time of day and day of the week, my contacts were interacting with me. I then engaged with some of them to try to understand the behavior underlying their visible activity.
The Recess Person
The image above is a communication profile of a sales leader over the course of one year. We'll call him Joe. When I asked why there was a break between 10-11 AM, Joe started to laugh and responded, "now that I think about it, that's when I take a bathroom break and catch up on ESPN". Talk about being regular for 7 days a week! Note to self, don't bother trying to schedule a 10 AM meeting with Joe.
The Long Lunch
The above highlights an old colleague that loves his lunch break. Let's call him Brian. On Monday, lunch starts a little late at 1 PM since he usually has a case of the Mondays and gets in a little late. Of course on Wednesdays and Fridays, he likes to get in a two-hour lunch. Clearly, if I want to catch Brian, I can either buy him lunch or keep it to 9-5.
Other people are just incredibly regimented. Based on over 1,400 emails sent by this old customer, it's clear that 2 PM is when he clears his inbox. Again, 7 days a week! I didn't ask him if he was clearing his inbox instead of catching up on ESPN from the bathroom, but at least I do know when to deliver my email to hit the top of his inbox when he's paying attention and most likely to respond.
Finally, here's my profile when I was working on building our company as a "nights and weekends" project, i.e. when I still had a paying job. I imagine those late nights and long weekends will be familiar to most entrepreneurs. Do you think reaching me about The Seventh Sense after 8 PM would have been effective?
Want to know what your communication data reveals about you and your contacts?
As the data gathered from my contacts above shows, with each personality and schedule comes a different way of engaging with email. Wouldn’t it be better if you could send emails at the time your subscribers are most likely to open and engage with them?
If you are looking to improve your email marketing strategy, we can help.