How Marketing on the Weekends Goes Beyond Football
October 18, 2017 | Kaleigh Moore
A while ago, I heard about an apocryphal (I hope at least) email strategy around sending marketing emails geared toward women during football games on Sundays. The idea being that while these prospects might be watching football, they may not be all that interested and therefore checking devices and phones, browsing emails.
My first thought was: “That’s dumb and pretty assuming, because there are a lot of women who really like watching football.”
But it got me thinking about emailing on the weekends in general (and my own email-opening habits). For me, I open work email seven days a week–and Sundays are typically a relaxed day where I’m spending a chunk of time either on the computer or looking around on my smartphone.
At some point in the day, I check my different email accounts, and even though I don’t respond to work-related messages until I’m back in the office, marketing messages sometimes catch my eye.
It turns out: I’m not alone in these habits. Data shows that 75% of Americans check their work email on weekends. What’s more: Only 20% of high earners (making more than $100K per year) will not open work email on weekends.
So what are the implications for the B2B market?
Sending B2B Promotion On the Weekend
It turns out that the weekends might be for more than just football.
Data from Smart Insights shows that entrepreneurs (and workaholics, self included, I guess) tend to open and click on B2B emails more during Saturday and Sunday. Take a look at the chart below to see just how significant the jump in engagement rate is over the weekend:
This indicates an important reality for B2B marketers: Even though the target audience may not be in the office over the weekend, they’re still mentally “plugged in” to work-related issues – meaning that the emails you send during this window don’t go unnoticed.
Plus: Since many other B2B companies are sending during the week, sending over the weekend presents an opportunity to capture a less distracted audience. When you’re the only one popping up in the inbox (or when you’re at least part of a smaller group), you have a better chance of standing out in this otherwise noisy and crowded environment.
Ultimately, we need to remember that although it’s business-to-business marketing, in reality, there are people behind those businesses that are making decisions.
So when we think about creating a strategy to reach that audience, people are still at the core of those efforts. And, the data doesn’t lie: People are still engaging their work brains on the weekends (whether that’s entirely healthy or not.)
From here, let’s look at some examples of effective weekend B2B marketing materials so you can get some ideas on what your next campaign might look like.
Examples and Ideas: B2B Marketing Over the Weekend
When it comes to weekend marketing efforts, things are a whole lot simpler thanks to marketing automation tools.
Even if you’re sending an email campaign on a Sunday, you don’t need to be at your computer during the weekend to launch it. Using tools like automated email means you can schedule those campaigns to go live at the specified date and time.
You can even capitalize on the weekend context of sporting events within these campaigns. It adds a bit of a tie-in for your message and takes a more relaxed tone (compared to a formal, business-centric marketing message). In the two examples below from B2B software company Citrix, we can see how they did just that.
In this interactive assessment for their GoToMeeting product, Citrix puts an engaging experience in a low-stakes environment using a quiz format. During the assessment, the user gets to participate and learn more about his/her company meetings, while on the back end, Citrix learns more about their audience from the responses submitted through the assessment.
You could easily build out a similar assessment and promote it within an email campaign that’s scheduled to send on a Sunday.
Citrix created another fun piece of engaging weekend content (this time a video) and used the sports context to add a relatable human element to their marketing message. As viewers watch the video, they can identify who fills the different personas outlined within their office.
This video was even televised nationally and linked to the meeting MVP assessment.
Now, does your weekend campaign have to be sports-related? No. There are many things happening on the weekends that you can capitalize on within a marketing message. Think holidays. Think week-ahead prep. The possibilities are endless.
The main thing to remember is: Weekends are not off limits.
B2B Social Media Strategies for the Weekend
Let’s talk a bit more about weekend posting strategies for B2B companies.
Maybe you’re wondering, “What all should our company post during weekends? Is a different overall approach needed?”
First, the frequency and nuts and bolts of the posting strategy for B2B marketing on the weekends. Two specific platforms to cover with large, engaged audiences are Facebook and Twitter.
CoSchedule data shows that weekends are a peak time for engagement on Facebook, with the optimal posting times being 9 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. On both Saturday and Sunday, engagement is 32% higher on average. You wouldn’t want to miss out on this high-activity period, would you? No, of course not.
SocialPilot found that on Twitter, the hours between 12 pm-6 pm perform best in regard to engagement across all days of the week (that means Saturday and Sunday, too.)
After several weeks of keeping our eyes on B2B companies’ weekend posting habits, we found that many B2B companies post anywhere from one to five times per weekend day on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
That’s a key number in terms not too much, not too little. While some don’t post on the weekends at all, the median was around two a day.
Now, these data points aren’t hard and fast guidelines, but they do provide a jumping off point for testing. Your unique B2B audience might follow different patterns, but it’s a good idea to start working within these parameters when you begin experimenting with a weekend posting strategy.
Now, let’s look at an example from a company that already has a weekend social media strategy and see how their approach is different during the weekdays vs. weekends.
Wista: Weekends vs. Weekdays
During the week, Wistia, a video hosting service for business, posts on social media with actionable how-tos, like we can see in this example from Twitter. In this tweet, they’re teaching how to improve sound quality in video recordings.
We also see teaching in this weekday example posted on Facebook. Here, they’re sharing some time-saving secrets for video editing, which is again relevant to their video-loving audience.
On the weekends, however, we can see Wistia’s strategy shift a bit. Rather than trying to educate or work on moving their audience members down the sales funnel, they share more story-based content that talks about company values, brand culture, etc.
We can see this in a tweet they shared on a Saturday that talks about company culture and making family time a priority for employees.
What we can notice about this B2B social media approach is this: Weekdays when potential leads are in the office and thinking about the business are for more educational content. Weekends are more for laid-back, story-driven content that doesn’t always employ a hard sell.
It’s an interesting approach that lets the B2B brand stay top-of-mind with leads seven days a week, but without always blatantly trying to push sales or lead gen efforts. This strategy is worth considering as you develop your own weekend posting approach.
You may wonder, “LinkedIn?”. Good thought.
LinkedIn can be seen in a similar fashion in terms of weekday v. weekend. People are constantly popping on LinkedIn due to groups they belong to, article mentions, or just connection requests.
The mere fact that a potential buyer could be hopping on the network for a bit on Saturday should be incentive enough for your brand to also be present. Again, though, it’s a balance. Will someone want to pour over research about scalability and ROI? Maybe. But, also, probably not.
Would they want to read about an interview on a current, lighter industry topic? Watch a two-minute video introducing a new concept? That seems warmer. Maybe post an upcoming industry event that’s attention grabbing? Also warmer.
What else do you need to consider when creating a weekend marketing plan?
Let’s quickly review a few of the best practices for B2B marketing…just for a quick reminder.
- Personalization is important. When you integrate data from your CRM (even a first name helps!), you create a more customized experience.
- Short is good. On weekends, people are often scanning and moving quickly from one piece of content to the next. Design for consumability and keep messages/experiences brief.
- Include a CTA. At the end of your message, ask the reader to do something, like to sign up for an event. This captures the forward momentum you just built up.
- Try a relaxed tone. Weekends are an opportunity for you to test a more relaxed, friendly tone with your audience. If you haven’t tried this before, this might be the right setting for experimentation.
Also keep in mind that each audience is unique, and so it’s best to approach this strategy in a testing mindframe when you’re getting started. You may find that for your B2B demographic, the weekends just don’t translate. But you may also be surprised to find that the weekends are a great time for your campaigns. Unless you test it, you’ll never really know.
Weekend Marketing: Worth Testing
As you and your team start thinking about how you can tap into the weekend, remember the best practices that you’ve found work well for your past messages and incorporate them here, too. During your experiments with things like interactive assessments, videos, and experience-based messages, make notes of which formats convert best. Let the numbers be your guide.