The Absolute Best Times to Reach Small Business Owners & Decision-Makers


best times to reach decision makers
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Poor communication has cost businesses a whopping $37 billion, according to a study by Holmes Report. The study also found companies with leaders who are effective communicators had 47% higher returns over a 5-year period compared to those that didn’t.

Are you losing money because you’re not communicating effectively?

For customer-facing businesses, the answer is simple: improve customer service. 97 percent of consumers said customer service was important when selecting or staying loyal to a brand. One of the most critical facets of customer service is proper communication; communication from leadership to employees and employees to customers.

For B2B businesses, improved communication is crucial for increasing profits and earning client loyalty. But how? It all comes down to time.

You understand the value of your clients’ time – after all, they’re business owners and decision-makers just like you. And, just like you, they don’t want to receive a sales call at 4:55 on Friday afternoon.

When you plan your client correspondence, are you setting aside time that’s convenient for you or best for them?

To avoid missing out on big opportunities, businesses must find a winning communication formula. You could use trial and error or improve your odds with intelligent survey data. SalesFuel’s “Selling to SMBs Study” breaks down the best times to reach decision makers/business owners across several industries. Here are the key takeaways:

Finance and Insurance

Best day: Monday (ideal day for 62% of respondents)

Best time: 9 to 11 a.m. (ideal time for 53% of respondents)

Deep Dive: Financial Advisory Services

Includes: financial planners/consultants, daily money managers, asset management, wealth managers, retirement planning and related financial advisory services

Top product categories:

  • Business startup planning
  • Education savings plans
  • Financial education workshops
  • Retirement planning
  • Wealth management1

Annual advertising budget allocation: 62% non-digital, 38% digital marketing2

Deep Dive: Insurance Agents/Companies

Includes: vendors of home, life, business, casualty, disability, auto and other insurance policies

Best sales months: Oct., Nov., Dec. (Qtr. 4)7

Top product categories:

  • Homeowner insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability
  • Flood insurance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Auto insurance1

Annual advertising budget allocation: 62.3% non-digital, 37.7% digital2

Professional Services

Best days: Tuesdays and Wednesdays (both ideal days for 49% of respondents)

Best time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ideal time for 45% of respondents)

Deep Dive: Accounting Services

Includes: accountants, accounting consultants, CPA firms and tax preparation services

Best sales months: Jan., Feb., March (Qtr. 1/tax season)3

Annual advertising budget allocation: 67.6% non-digital, 32.4% digital2

Deep Dive: Attorneys/Legal Services

Includes: attorneys/lawyers, such as those specializing in estate planning, worker’s compensation, criminal law, real estate and litigation

Best sales months: July, Aug., Sept. (Qtr. 3)4

Annual advertising budget allocation: 67.5% non-digital, 32.5% digital2

Deep Dive: Real Estate

Includes: agents and agencies that market residential, commercial and vacation real estate properties

Best sales months: May, June, July5

Top advertising channels: signage, directories, internet, print1

Top methods of communication: email, telephone, text message and instant message (93% of agencies have a website.)

Top real estate categories:

  • Residential sales
  • Commercial sales
  • Property management
  • Rental services
  • Relocation services
  • Land development
  • Commercial appraisal
  • Counseling
  • International
  • Auction6

Personal Services

Best day: Wednesday (ideal day for 46% of respondents)

Best time: 9 to 11 a.m. (ideal time for 48% of respondents)

Deep Dive: Dry Cleaners

Includes: dry cleaners and related laundry services

Best sales months: Oct., Nov., Dec. (Qtr. 4)7

Target customers: Most customers are drawn from a 3-mile radius1

Deep Dive: Hair Salons / Stylists

Includes: beauty salons and hair stylists

Best sales months: April, May, June (prom/wedding season)22

Advertising response rates (past 30 days):

  • Direct mail: 37.6%
  • Social media: 37%
  • Mobile app/text: 36%
  • Sponsored search results (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.): 34.5%
  • TV: 33.4%9

Deep Dive: Nail Salons

Best sales months: April, May, June22

Top customers:

  • Women 46 and over: 33.2%
  • Women 36 to 45: 21.3%
  • Women 26 to 35: 19.4%
  • Women 21 to 25: 10.4%10


Best day: Wednesday (ideal day for 60% of respondents)

Best time: 9 to 11 a.m. (ideal time for 62% of respondents)

Deep Dive: Department Stores

Includes: traditional regional and chain department stores, but not discount department stores

Best sales months: May, Nov., Dec.11

Annual advertising budget allocation: 74.9% non-digital, 25.1% digital2

Restaurant & Food Service

Best days: Tuesday (ideal day for 62% of respondents), Wednesday (ideal day for 69% of respondents)

Best times: 9 to 11 a.m. (ideal time for 47% of respondents), 3 to 6 p.m. (ideal time for 41% of respondents)

Deep Dive: Full-Service Restaurants

Includes: ethnic restaurants, family restaurants, casual restaurants, diners, bistros, cafes and other restaurants

Best sales months: May, June, Aug., Dec.12

* Full-service restaurants count on certain holidays to drive traffic. Valentine’s Day meals can drive a 67% increase in visitors compared to an average day.13

Annual advertising budget allocation: 67.1% non-digital, 32.9% digital2

Arts & Entertainment

Best day: Wednesday (ideal day for 59% of respondents)

Best time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ideal time for 52% of respondents)

Deep Dive: Bars & Nightclubs

Includes: sports bars, microbreweries, discos/dance clubs, neighborhood bars, taverns, nightclubs, cocktail lounges, cabarets and comedy clubs

Best sales months: March, Oct., Dec.14

Annual advertising budget allocation: 66.4% non-digital, 33.6% digital2

Deep Dive: Event Promoters

Includes: promoters of concerts, sporting events, performing arts groups, operators of stadiums/arenas

Best sales months: May, June, July, Aug., Sept. (Event promoters with outdoor facilities for sporting and live music events report higher business activity in the summer months.)15

Advertising/marketing budget: Approximately 10% of retail sales16

Top advertising media – B2B:

  • Digital: 48% (includes webinars, search, social, mobile, video)
  • Print: 20% (includes direct mail, directories, newsletters)
  • TV/radio/cinema: 19%
  • In-person events: 10%
  • Out of home (OOH), PR, other: 4%17

Deep Dive: Family Entertainment Centers

Includes: family entertainment centers, children’s entertainment centers, arcades, indoor play centers, trampoline parks, haunted houses, laser tag centers, go-kart tracks, social gaming venues and roller rinks

Best sales months: Jan., Feb., March, June, July, Aug., Sept. (Qtrs. 1 & 3)18

Top advertising media: TV, radio, print, interactive, email, social media, in-store18

Advertising response rates (past 30 days):

  • Social media: 40.1%
  • Direct mail: 38.8%
  • Sponsored search results (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.): 37.1%
  • Mobile app/text 35.9%
  • TV: 35.3%9

Health Care Services

Best day: Wednesday (ideal day for 69% of respondents)

Best time: 9 to 11 a.m. (ideal time for 47% of respondents)

Deep Dive: Dentists & Orthodontists

Includes: providers of dental care, cleaning, tooth whitening, implants, bridges, cosmetic correction and teeth alignment

Best sales months: Feb., March, April, May, June, Aug., Dec. (Qtrs. 1 & 2 account for 52% of annual revenue)19

Annual advertising budget allocation: 78.3% non-digital, 21.7% digital2

How they spend their advertising budget:

  • Direct mail: 39.2%
  • Digital marketing: 21.2%
  • TV: 13%
  • All others: 26.6%

Deep Dive: Doctors

Includes: general practitioners and family doctors

Best sales months: Oct., Nov., Dec. (Qtr. 4)20

Annual advertising budget allocation: 78.4% non-digital, 21.6% digital2

Deep Dive: Optical Stores/Optometrists

Includes: retailers and/or licensed professionals who perform basic eye exams and sell eyewear, glasses, frames, lenses, contact lenses, sunglasses and accessories

Annual advertising budget allocation: 78.1% non-digital, 21.9% digital2

Top advertising media: direct mail coupons, TV, radio, newspaper inserts/run-of-press, yellow pages, internet searches, social media and point-of-purchase displays1

Target customers: Most customers are drawn from a 3-mile radius1

Key Takeaways

Effective B2B communication starts with reaching out to clients at a time they prefer and find convenient. Most small business owners and decision-makers who participated in the study prefer to be contacted:

Tuesdays (48%) or Wednesdays (52%) between 9 and 11 a.m.

It’s also worth noting that the industries in the study allocate more of their advertising budget to traditional advertising – like direct mail – than digital marketing. However, it’s proven that blending the two results in more successful campaigns. Valpak, the national leader in targeted direct mail, is also a Google Premier Partner. Partnering with Valpak ensures you’re getting the most out of your advertising budget by utilizing a multichannel marketing approach to improve your ROI. Contact your local Valpak marketing rep, who can walk you through how you can reach thousands of targeted households that earn 32% more income than the national average.21

* All stats and figured from “deep dive” categories are based on the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL metro market.

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Sources: 1. SalesFuel, 2019. 2. 2018 BIA Advisory Services Local Market Forecasts. 3. Bureau of the Census, “Table 1. Estimated Quarterly Revenue for Service Firms, Not Seasonally Adjusted,” July 2018. 4., “5411: Legal Services: U.S. Total — Seasonally Adjusted Total Revenue [Millions of Dollars],” May 2019. 5. Bureau of the Census, “New Residential Sales Historical Data, Sales of Existing Homes by Month – Not Seasonally Adjusted,” Sept. 2016. 6. National Association of Realtors, “2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” May 2018. 7., “Table A1. Selected Services – Advance Estimated Quarterly Revenue for Employer Firms, Not Seasonally Adjusted,” Feb. 2018. 8., “Things to Know About Dry Cleaning,” July 2016. 9. 2020 AudienceSCAN®. 10. Nails Magazine, “2017-18 The Big Book,” May 2019.
11. Monthly Retail Trade Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, “Estimates of Monthly Retail and Food Services Sales by Kind of Business.” 12. Bureau of the Census, “Estimates of Monthly Retail and Food Services Sales by Kind of Business: 2018,” May 2019. 13. According to a recent survey,, May 2018. 14. Bureau of the Census, “Estimates of Monthly Retail and Food Services Sales by Kind of Business: 2017,” Feb. 2018. 15. United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Live Nation 10-K, Sept. 2018. 16., “Event Marketing Budgets,” Sept. 2018. 17., “Advancing the Business of Data and Information,” Dec. 2017. 18. United States Securities and Exchange Commission, CEC Entertainment, Inc.: 10-K, Oct. 2017. 19. Bureau of the Census, “Quarterly Selected Services Estimates, Second Quarter 2018,” Oct. 2018. 20., “2017 Top 10 Mega Market Trends.” Nov. 2017. 21. Claritas data with current year projections, Jan. 2021 (compared to the average U.S. consumer). 22. SalesFuel, 2018.