What’s the secret of great comedy (and direct marketing)

You may have heard the joke where one person asks the other ‘what’s the secret of great comedy?’ Before the other person can finish replying, the questioner blurts out the answer;


Whilst reading a post on another blog about the golden rules of direct marketing, it occurred to us that timing should be included in this list, along with all the other usual suspects like getting the readers attention, adding a PS, split testing, follow ups and so on.

Now, timing may not strike you as being top of the ultimate direct marketing checklist, but its already a key factor when carrying out email marketing, which lets face it, is an electronic branch of direct mail. Email marketers know from their own experience that the optimum time to broadcast their email could be a Wednesday morning, Friday afternoon, or Sunday evening.

Of course, direct marketing is not as immediate nor tactical as email marketing, so time-based targeting down to the hour of day isn’t possible.

But it is perfectly possible to:- Plan your mailing so it will be received on a specific day of the week; a midweek for b2b perhaps, or Friday for a consumer offer on leisure or eating out at the weekend. Or how about a dreaded Monday morning to promote help and support for businesses, or financial services to money strapped consumers?

  • Schedule a mailing for a specific time of the month. We’ve come across even micro e-commerce websites which have seen how sales would usually increase just after the last Friday of the month, just after most people get paid. There’s no reason why mailings cant use the same principle.
  • Identify key seasons or times of year to promote specific offers. If you’re not sure what to promote when analyse monthly sales for each of your main product lines, and cross check with website traffic as further proof of seasonal peaks or troughs.
  • Respond tactically to topical events or news. Have the basic elements of a campaign in place ready to be completed and adapted at short notice, even if its only your covering letter that changes. How many domestic holiday providers were ready to capitalise on volcanic ash clouds, collapsing tour operators and industrial action earlier this year?

These are just a few examples of how to use timing to get more from your direct marketing campaigns.

And by the way, we’ve scheduled this blog post to be published here and on Twitter on a Friday lunchtime, just in time for a little light reading over your sarnie!