Not a single person in your audience wants to be clumped into a data pool. We all want to be seen and understood as individuals – while marketers need to see people in terms of segmented data. The best of both can be achieved by creating audience personas. While an audience persona doesn’t get you to know that Colette likes two lumps of brown sugar with her non-dairy coffee every day, it will get you to know that Colette has her coffee at 10am rather than at 8 or 9 in the morning.

The question you should be asking next is why is Colette waiting till so late in the day for a brew – and that’s where your audience persona comes in.

Colette is a single mom of an energy-driven five-year-old, and she works from home. She’s also a loyal consumer of your brand. Here’s where these two facts meet:

Our busy single work-from-home mom is up in the morning to check emails before getting the little one ready for school. This is not the time to send her your email campaign even though industry experts are telling you to get that email out first thing.

The email scans before a school run are just that – they’re scans where she’s looking for the most critical information. Once she drops her kid off, she’s back at her desk and finally having a cup of coffee. Your job, on the other hand, is to keep holding off on that “send” button. Right now Colette is all about knocking out some tasks during the critical 3-5 hours she has before her son gets back. Right now her focus is on work.

Colette then picks up her son, tends to him. Maybe it’s time for lunch or a snack. Then she’ll attempt to get some work done, but it won’t happen because she’s distracted by the needs of a hyper-playful five-year-old. You, on the other hand, are getting closer to hitting that send button.

The next few hours are a tug-of-war for Colette between trying to get things done and trying to be a mom too. Thoroughly exhausted at about 8pm at night, she’s finally have tired out the little one and will be looking for her first real break of the day. She’s now having a tea and biscuit break and investing in herself.

Now you can hit send.

At this moment, Colette is exhausted. She’s taking a desperately needed break before she does or does not get back to a few lingering tasks. This is the time she’s going to invest in herself. If she’s going to make a purchase in order to reward herself, now is the time she’s going to do it because (a) she feels she has earned it and (b) she knows she has some uninterrupted time to herself.

However, if your mom was a stay-at-home mom, the email campaign you would send would be around 9 am after she dropped the kids to school. If your consumer is a mom of a smaller child, then you wait till nap time, which is around 1-2pm.

Audience personas are key for understanding the psychology that drives behavior. Understanding this behavior means that you’re working in flow with your consumer’s lifestyle, rather than against the grain.

It is a far more effective strategy to send out email campaigns at different times based on who that target audience is. The content of that campaign may need to change as well. So far example, you might send two women the same email campaign at the same time at 7pm or 8pm. This is generally the time women get to relax, but your goal of each campaign will differ. For the mom, it’s about not feeling like a failure. For the single woman, it’s about feeling successful. Your images should reflect those two tones even if you’re sending otherwise the same campaign.

Now if you’re sending that to a dad, 8pm at night is the worst time because his family duties have kicked in. The best time to send him anything is during lunch or gym hours when he has a chance to browse uninterrupted.

The same sorts of adaptations are necessary if you’re catering to a small enterprise or start-up, or even wildly successful entrepreneurs. Both sets of people are at a stage in their life where they’re incredibly busy with high demands on their attention. If you’re going to send them anything, make sure it’s short and sweet, with consistent and timely delivery.