I glanced away from a dazzling fireworks show to see whether a friend had responded to my text. That’s when I saw the message below.

Apparently, my trial of Patterny was due to expire on New Year’s Eve. And the email notification was a reminder - not just about the expiration, but also about how subject lines and timing make all the difference when it comes to email marketing.

In this case, I’d already given Pattenry a try and decided against it. But had I been on the fence, seeing this negative email appear at 10pm in the midst of a fun New Year’s Eve could have made the decision for me.

What if Patterny had skipped the 10pm New Years Eve email message and opted instead for a mid-morning email on Jan 2, with an inviting subject line such as, “How was your Patterny trial, Erin?”

I may have been motivated to open that email and offer feedback - an interaction that would have been another opportunity for them to win me over.

Some advice, based on this experience:

  • Never drop a dead end in your prospect’s lap — Even a cancellation can be presented as an invitation with the right wording.
  • Avoid times of day that will lump you with other automated emails, and time your email so that the prospect is likely to be able to act on it,
  • If you’ve gotta send non-urgent negative messages, consider suppressing them on holidays. (Yes, you might need to manage this individually by country.)

Have you learned any similar best practices in using email to market a product?