We Tested Suggested Times vs. Link to Calendar in Emails: Here’s What Happened

By Emil Shour

We Tested Suggested Times vs. Link to Calendar in Emails: Here’s What Happened

Throughout my marketing career, I’ve been trained to look for places where automation can help us improve processes in the funnel.

So one of the first things I noticed when I started working at Chili Piper was that our sales team was manually following up with all of our leads who didn’t book a meeting or trigger a call with us through our web form integration.

“Easy win,” I thought. Let’s automate that.

We started sending an automated email to everyone who fell into this “no book” bucket. But something strange was happening.

About 20-30 automated emails in, I took a look into our email analytics and noticed that nobody was clicking through to book a meeting with their assigned rep.

Sigh.

I was chatting with the sales team about these results over one of our daily huddles and 2 people told me they previously had more luck sending people suggested times over sending just a link to their calendar.

Anecdotal, of course, but that was what they were noticing.

So we decided to put it to a test and get the data.

Send 50 emails to with a link to their rep’s calendar, then have the reps send another 50 emails with suggested times in it to book a meeting.

Here are the results.

 

What happened when we sent an email with just a link to the calendar

Here’s what the email looked like when we sent a link to the calendar for someone to pick a time:

 

So when someone clicks on the link, they go to that reps’ calendar and can choose any time that works for them:

 

Here are the results of this leg of the test:

 

I looked into it and the 1 person who clicked the link in the email did in fact book time with our team. So the conversion rate on sending a follow-up email with a link to their calendar resulted in a 1.9% conversion rate.

Ouch.

 

What happened when we sent an email with suggested times

Here’s the email template our team used to follow up with all leads who didn’t book a meeting or start a call after requesting a demo of Chili Piper:

 

Then once someone clicks on any time in the email, their meeting is automatically booked:

 

Since we had to send these emails manually, I put together this very intricate tracking document:

😎

Just by taking a little extra time to put in some effort and make the recipient’s life easier, we were able to 13x the number of people who we got to book a demo with us. Nuts.

In retrospect, I’m not at all surprised that the suggested times email was more effective. I just wasn’t expecting such a massive increase in the action we wanted.

The question I like to ask myself after tests like this are:

  • What can I learn from this experiment?
  • Where else can we apply these learnings?

Here are my quick takeaways from this test:

 

1. We removed friction and made the email recipient’s decision making process easier.

Clicking on a link and choosing a time for yourself isn’t hard at all.

But making my work as the recipient just to click on a time slot that works for me? Much easier in terms of perception.

 

2. We took the time to make a suggestion and people appreciate that.

If you think about it, sending someone a link is putting the work on them. It shows no effort on your part to help find a good time to meet.

And apparently I’m not alone in thinking this way.

My friend and fellow marketer, Benji Hyam, tweeted this a while back and I noticed that a lot of people decided to chime in (most of whom completely agreed with his sentiments):

It feels personalized when you send somebody a list of options instead of saying “here, you choose”.

 

Make life easier for people and good things happen.

Funny how simple, yet effective that is.

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