The best time to send prospecting emails to financial service companies
There’s a famous Chinese proverb that states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” A little known Sopro proverb states: “The best time to send prospecting emails to financial services companies depends on the data.”
Less likely to become an inspirational poster, I’ll give you that, but no less true.
When it comes to prospecting, every way you can optimise your outreach, however small, will add up to significant gains as you work your way through the funnel. One of those factors is working out the best time to send your email.
Over the last six months, we’ve sent over 2.5 million prospecting emails to over 70 industries. We’ve analysed the data and produced a helpful tool, so you can optimise outreach for whichever industry you are targeting.
This time, we’re taking a deep dive into the financial sector, to reveal the best times to send based on open rates, response rates, and lead rates.
The challenges of prospecting to the financial services industry
While lead generation is a challenge for every business, each industry has its own unique set of issues. The financial service sector is such a broad church that each niche has its own challenges.
What is common to all is the need for trust and integrity when dealing with this sector, and communicating those qualities in an introductory email can be difficult.
There is also the fact that many financial services can be complex, where jargon and acronyms abound. One of our golden rules of prospecting is to be brief, so navigating some of these complexities in a short message can be difficult.
So there are plenty of challenges, but working out when to send your emails shouldn’t be one of them, so let’s dive into the data and find out when to send.
The data: Best time to send based on open rates
There is a high degree of similarity across the week in the financial services email open rates. It’s almost as if people who work in this sector are fastidious and stable, systematically approaching emails as much as their work.
The vast majority of the open rates for financial companies are between 24% and 32%. At the extremes, the lowest open rate (21.7%) is found between 4 – 5 pm on a Thursday. The highest rate (41.1%) was during Wednesday’s lunch hour: 1 – 2 pm.
So even in an industry where open rates don’t seem to vary too much, we see an 89.6% increase in the number of financial services prospecting emails opened.
Our prospecting email open rates to financial sector companies tend to follow a similar pattern each day, with the exception of that Wednesday spike.
A good start to the day is largely kept up throughout the morning, and most days peak at lunchtime. The afternoon drops before there’s a final peak towards the end of the working day.
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The data: Best time to send based on response rates
Average response rates for the financial services industry sit at 9.6% but the hourly figures differ from this significantly based on when the emails are sent.
The lowest rate is just 4.9%, on Wednesday from 5 – 6 pm. The highest response rate comes at 1 pm on a Monday: 14.4%. This means that your emails are 197% more likely to get a response if sent on a Monday lunchtime than at the end of the day on Wednesday.
Like open rates, the response rates from financial companies follow a clear pattern. The day starts with a fairly high response rate and continues to improve until the 2 pm slot.
After lunch, things tail off dramatically, marking a clear split between morning and afternoon. From 2 pm onwards, responses are significantly lower than the morning rates. My guess is they’re either buried in a mega-spreadsheet for the afternoon or have dozed off after an intense morning of juggling numbers and emails.
An interesting exception to the pattern is the Wednesday lunchtime slot when only 6.8% of emails get a response. This dip on Wednesday is in contrast to the massive spike at that time for open rates.
The raw data shows a similar number of responses received when the email was sent between 1 – 2 pm, no matter which weekday. So the huge number of opens led to no more responses. We’ll have to see what effect it had on the lead rate.
The data: Best time to send based on lead rates
As interesting as the open and response rates are, we’re all here for the leads. It’s lead rates that really show us the best time to prospect to the financial services industry.
Wednesday at 11 am gets a respectable rate of 3.6%. This is actually the SoPro average across all industries, although in one of the most prospected to sectors the competition drives averages down.
The worst rate comes at 5 pm on a Monday when financial sector workers presumably get the Monday blues and ignore their inbox before heading home.
Again, there is a pretty clear pattern to the open rates across the week. Lead rates are higher first thing than at 9 – 10 am, but it’s the 10 am – 2 pm slots that see the real spikes. The best time slot on each day sits somewhere in this period.
As with the response rates, the afternoon is a bit of a graveyard with one noticeable difference: 5 – 6 pm sees an upturn on most days. Perhaps they woke up from their nap.
And our old friend, Wednesday lunchtime? The lead rate of 2.7 meant it was the tenth best slot, out of the 50 available.
Example email template for prospecting to financial companies
Clearly, what time you send your email can make a massive difference to the success of your campaign. However, if you don’t ensure your email is full of awesomeness you are never going to land that sales pitch.
The millions of emails we’ve sent have not only allowed us to work out the best time to send, but has taught us a lot about how to write email copy that lands. Below is a successful template from our archives, showing an initial outreach to the financial sector.