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Schedule your digital marketing for maximum impact

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Digital marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. And whether you’re using email marketing, content marketing, social media (or any other form of digital marketing) it’s still relatively new and there’s a lot to absorb. So advice on how to schedule activity for maximum impact could be useful.


Best times to BlogThis infographic by highlights peak times for posting online, and I thought it might offer some useful insights. But then I started to ask a few questions: Are peak times the same in South Africa as in the USA? What are the demographics of the sample? Are my target market’s habits likely to conform?


There is no quick answer. These “best times” can’t be definitive. As Dan points out himself, they may be based on vast numbers of research results, but they are just generalisations. You need to test your audience to see what works best for them.


Take, for example, the 11 pm peak shown here. People use their mobile devices to go online at home, on the couch and in bed; that we know. We also know that many people check their email last thing at night. So I’m very happy to accept that there could be a spike at around 11pm. That’s bedtime for a lot of people.


But if your market is older, younger or in training for a big sports event, posting that late could mean you miss your mark, that they’ve been in bed for hours.


I’ve never suffered from insomnia and I’m not a student, so I can’t imagine being up and online at 2am, but that’s just me. Your target market won’t necessarily share my habits. But if they do, posting your article at 2am won’t help your visibility. On the other hand, if you’re targeting 22-year olds in the entertainment industry, this might be your prime time.


The peak of interest between 8 and 9am, on the other hand, seemed to make perfect sense.   I know the productivity experts tell you not to check your email first thing – they’ll tell you this let’s other people’s priorities drive yours. That’s all very well and good, but it’s my job to worry about your priorities - I’m in the service industry! So I usually check my emails first thing. Then I catch up on an online newspaper and social media.


You, on the other hand, may take one look at your early morning inbox and simply hit the delete button repeatedly, missing any alerts to new articles.


Two weeks ago I posted an article first thing in the morning, and the response wasn’t good at all. In fact, it was the worst response I’ve had in ages. Not a single comment. (Of course, it might just have been the article! If you missed it, please and let me know if it wasn’t up to standard. I thought it was packed full of valuable information, but maybe I got it wrong. Or maybe the timing just wasn’t right.)


The moral of the story is that you need to test what works for your specific target market. Your target isn’t an amorphous blend of statistics and you need to discover how best to reach them.


This isn’t a new insight; it’s marketing 101. So it would be naïve to expect a quick and easy answer when it comes to online marketing. There may be some general guidelines, but your target market will respond to you in way that defies broad generalisation. Make sure you know what they’re looking for, and when they might be looking for it.


Just by the way, today I found more research that cites afternoons as the best times to post. They argue that traffic starts to increase around 9 am but it’s better to wait until 11am to post. They also suggest that traffic fades from 4pm and you shouldn’t post at night between 8pm and 8am. In other words, it completely conflicts with the original research. I wonder who the sample was for this research.


This doesn’t mean that either research is flawed; it just underscores the fact that there is no definitive answer. Take an informed view of who your target market is, when they might be most likely to engage online, then test and measure your results and adjust your programme accordingly. Customise your activity for your particular market.


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Last modified on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 12:40
Ann Druce

Ann Druce

Ann Druce heads up Octarine, a marketing communications and advertising agency, where she focuses on copywriting and marketing strategies for clients in the professional and industrial sectors. Prior to that, Ann spent 15 years in marketing management for major companies including Unilever and Adcock Ingram before joining an ad agency.

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