Direct-to-Consumer Spotlight: How Nomad Goods Used Smart Send Time to Boost Email Open Rates Upwards of 30%

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What’s a leading indicator that helps you know that you understand your audience? High email open rates. High open rates mean you’re most likely sending relevant messages to the right recipients. They mean your readers are delighted and interested in your subject lines, the content you share with them, and the images, videos, and other creative elements you send to accompany your messages. If your subscribers keep coming back to read your emails, you’ll likely see that bear out in high email open rates. 

Not only do high open rates indicate you’re messaging the right audience with the right content. They’re also key to ensuring you have good deliverability metrics so your content will continue to reach your subscribers’ inboxes. 

So how can you achieve high email open rates? 

I recently talked to Chuck Melber, marketing director at Nomad Goods, to learn about how they’ve achieved open rates well above 30 percent. 

Read on to learn how Nomad Goods, which takes a resourceful, minimalist philosophy with the design of their durable and portable electronics, has applied a similar level of excellence to their email marketing strategy. 

Best practices for ensuring high email open rates

The first step to achieving high open rates is to make sure you’re sending your content to an audience that will be interested in receiving it. You can do this with list cleaning and segmentation.

List cleaning involves removing unengaged and inactive profiles from your email list. 

Chuck told me that Nomad’s first step towards achieving high open rates is to regularly clean the brand’s email list to make sure they focus on sending emails only to customers who are engaging with their content.

“We keep a well-cleaned list. Our active send group is probably only about 25 percent of our full email list at any given time,” Chuck said.

"We keep a well-cleaned list. Our active send group is probably only about 25 percent of our full email list at any given time."

Chuck Melber, marketing director at Nomad Goods

Segmenting your list also allows you to select engaged profiles for your messages. At a minimum, creating an engaged segment to which you’ll send your emails will ensure you retain good deliverability.

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The next step after you create an engaged segment of people who will likely be interested in your emails is to A/B test subject lines and the content you plan to send. This will help you to hone in on the type of content your audience finds to be the most helpful and relevant. 

When you’re ready to become more advanced with your segmentation strategy, you can target your list at an even more granular level. For example, you can use Klaviyo’s predictive gender feature to show a matched gender hero image for your male and female segments. Doing so will enable you to create even more personalized experiences, which will help you nurture the relationships you’re building with your customers. 

But what if you’ve already done all of these best practices? How can you take your audience targeting to the next level? 

How to dig even deeper with data science

Reaching your audience at the exact right time is one way to push your open rates up even higher. The time at which you send your emails is one of the many things that affects how many people will open your message. 

Before using Klaviyo’s Smart Send Time feature, Nomad, like many brands, was sending email in the morning. 

“We had always operated on a ‘send in the morning’ mentality. We tested sending emails at noon once, but we never did a full-blown test of different send times,” Chuck said. 

Nomad’s exploratory send with Smart Send Time was their first full test of email send times. The exploratory send tested every hour of recipients’ local time zones and found the best local hour to send for Nomad to send their messages. 

Chuck said he was surprised when he learned that 8:00 p.m. local time was the time that generated the highest open rates for the brand. At first, he was skeptical, since the new send time was such a departure from Nomad’s normal morning send times. But the data showed late evening sends were producing higher open rates than any other time of the day. 

“The fact that we ended up with an 8:00 p.m. optimal send time blew my mind, but it definitely improved open rates. It was a shocking test, but the results validated it over and over again,” Chuck said.

"The fact that we ended up with an 8:00 p.m. optimal send time blew my mind, but it definitely improved open rates. It was a shocking test, but the results validated it over and over again."

Chuck Melber, marketing director at Nomad Goods

How good were the results? Adhering to Klaviyo’s suggested send time of 8:00 p.m. in recipients’ local time, Nomad is now averaging open rates of 35-40 percent, compared to 30 percent before they used Smart Send Time. 

By optimizing their send time to reach their audience at a time they’re most likely to read an email, Nomad is opening the top of the engagement funnel with their customers. 

When I asked Chuck what he thought the biggest benefits of using Smart Send Time were, he said, “Our open rates bumped up, which ultimately has a trickle-down effect on deliverability and our funnel as a whole.”

"Our open rates bumped up, which ultimately has a trickle-down effect on deliverability and our funnel as a whole."

Chuck Melber, marketing director at Nomad Goods

Even though the results have been great, Chuck isn’t using Smart Send Time for every email. When he needs to send something right away or if his content is time-sensitive, he schedules it without Smart Send Time. 

“Besides, if our email always hits at 8:00 p.m., they’ll catch on,” Chuck said.

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Other ways to use Smart Send Time results

Once you know the best time to send your emails to your audience, use that to inform when you send both your one-off email campaigns or your automated messages. 

Automated emails (flows) usually contain a mix of time-sensitive content that needs to feel organic and messages that arrive after a significant delay from the event that triggered them. 

For example, the first message in your welcome series should arrive immediately after someone subscribes, and the first message of an abandoned cart series should arrive within a few hours after someone failed to complete the checkout process on your site. 

But the subsequent emails in those series might not arrive for a few days after the initial email is triggered. With those emails, you have the opportunity to send them at your optimal send time. 

Chuck said Nomad has experimented with using their optimal send time with messages beyond the first in a series of automated messages to further optimize and refine the experience they’re creating for their customers with their automated email flows. 

“We’ve even taken to implementing Smart Send Time into some of our longer lead flows, like predicted next purchase and post-purchase, and we’re seeing some great results,” Chuck said.

"We’ve even taken to implementing Smart Send Time into some of our longer lead flows, like predicted next purchase and post-purchase, and we’re seeing some great results."

Chuck Melber, marketing director at Nomad Goods

Final thoughts

Nomad isn’t the only company that’s seeing boosts in their email open rates as a result of using Klaviyo’s Smart Send Time feature. In an analysis of the first 1,000 brands that tried out the feature, our data science team observed a consistent improvement of eight percent in email open rates. 

Changing the time you send your emails can be a big shift for your business, but using your data to understand the best time to send your messages to your audience can take your email strategy to the next level. 

“We were nervous at first, but the proof is in the pudding,” Chuck said. 

Learn more about how brands are using Smart Send Time to improve their email open rates.

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