Paper, Rock, Scissors

When you're running an offer with a hard deadline, is it better to extend the “open cart” window so that your email subscribers have time to more time to fall under the persuasive spell of your launch content?

Or should you go with a shorter deadline and send several emails a day (aka “Shock ‘n' Awe”)?

This is a “Paper, Rock, Scissors” situation, where each approach has advantages and disadvantages.

When you space your emails out over a longer timeframe, say 7-10 days, you will inevitably get more people opening and reading at least some of your emails.

That's more chances for you to persuade people who maybe weren't initially interested.

On the flip side, many of your readers will see the long deadline and put off making a decision.

The shorter, higher intensity approach is the reverse.

There's less time for your subscribers to digest your content, but they have more incentive to take immediate action.

So which is better?

One of the most direct tests I've done was a promotion I ran where I split a list of 30,000 in half and sent the exact same emails to both halves.

The only difference was the timing.

Segment A had a short, 36-hour deadline.

Segment B had a longer, 4-day deadline.

Both got the same 5 emails.

Shen the results were in, the group with the longer offer window showed a LOT more engagement.

Nearly twice as many subscribers in the B group clicked through to the product page.

When it came to actual sales though, the number of buyers was nearly identical.

Here's my take on this:

With a time-limited offer, the deadline itself is the primary factor in getting people off the fence.

What you say in your emails is important too, but it plays second fiddle to the deadline.

So a shorter window puts the emphasis on the deadline, which is the more powerful motivator.

A longer window puts the emphasis on the email content, which is the weaker motivator.

In the end the results are pretty similar.

The main difference between the two is that the longer offer means more work for you (emails to write and schedule, videos to record and publish, etc.).

It also generates more “noise” for your subscribers, who have to hear about a product they may not be interested in for several days more.

If you want to do a longer, more protracted offer with a lot of “pre-launch” videos and a big long sequence of launch content, knock yourself out.

It probably won't hurt.

However a few emails and a tighter deadline will get the job done just as effectively.