As anyone who has ever sent or received an SMS will tell you, timing is everything. No matter how eagerly you may have been waiting for a message from a loved one, if that message reaches you in the middle of a work meeting – or worse, late at night when you’re asleep – you’re far more likely to ignore it than open it.
This same principle applies to SMS marketing. While SMS marketing has an open rate that can be as high as 98%, the thing most marketers overlook is that these numbers are only possible when marketing campaigns are done right.
And among the most important parts of any SMS marketing campaign?
Choosing the right time to send a message.
Determine the Best Time by Analyzing Your Data
Each business is different, and your marketing strategies will need to be tailored to these unique aspects of your business. And just as your business is unique, so too are your clients.
The best way to identify the most profitable times in which to send text messages is to collect your own data. Some factors that you can consider are the following:
How Willing A Person Is To Engage In A Two-way Conversation
If a person is willing to engage in a two-way conversation, that means they have the time on hand to be able to do so. This, in turn, implies that SMS marketing at that time of day will not be disruptive enough to cause the message to be ignored.
Tracking Link Clicks
Most SMS marketing apps and link shortening services offer you the ability to track the links you include in a promotional (or two-way) message conversation. By checking the data on which people clicked links, and when, you’ll have a better understanding of when people are interested in your business and during what period of time people simply stop shopping with your store altogether.
However, this requires that you’re already running SMS marketing. What if you’re not? Luckily, there are other ways to determine the optimum time to send a text message.
Determine the Optimum Sending Schedule Without SMS Data
Not yet running SMS Campaigns? Don’t fret; there are other ways to estimate the best time to send promotional text messages. These are through the following:
Based on Analytics From Your Other Sources
Aside from your own SMS data, there are other data you can check regarding your customers’ active times. These include:
Social Media Analytics
Social media analytics will show you what times your customers are most active and engaged on social media. These times may also be the best time to send text messages because these people are already engaged with your brand and can be easily persuaded to stay engaged by reading a text message from you.
Email Marketing Analytics
People are more likely to open SMS than emails, so if they open emails at specific times of the day, then there’s a better chance they’ll open a text message.
Live Chat Trend
Have you been receiving live chat inquiries? If so, then this is the right time to send an SMS marketing campaign. Because live chats are more immediate than other forms of customer service, people who use them are likely to engage with your brand immediately through text messaging as well.
Look into the trend in your Shopify Analytics. You don’t need an extra Shopify App to see this; all you need to do is visit the Analytics section, then click on the View Report link.
You can view the days of the week where your customers interacted with your page the most.
Or even the time of day.
Based on Research Data
But what happens if you’re a new store and your social media pages are young, too? You can always rely on the recommendations of experts who base it on research.
There has been a significant amount of data done on which days it is best to send text messages, and the results were interesting.
In general, here are some key guidelines:
Stay away from Mondays
Unless the message is time-sensitive (for example, a reminder about an event or a pending cart), Mondays are the worst time during which to send a message.
The response rate is the lowest if a message is sent on a Monday. Also, research indicates that online sales are lowest during most Mondays within a calendar year.
One explanation for this is that people are overwhelmed by the number of people who contacted them during the weekend and are unwilling to engage with further conversation unless absolutely necessary. Plus, it’s the first day of the workweek; people would like to focus more on what’s important (either their job or their business) rather than engage with someone promoting something.
Avoid rush hour
Similar to avoiding Mondays, it’s best to avoid the time of day during which people are on their way to and from the office and instead send SMS marketing messages during other parts of the day.
People are busy traveling during rush hour and are far less likely to have the time to devote to opening and reading your SMS.
Check the timezone of your recipient
It’s essential to keep the local timezones of your customer base in mind, even if you do not live in that timezone.
For example, you may send out a message at about 12 noon, thinking that you have chosen the perfect time to send a message because it’s lunchtime. However, because of timezones, it is possible that the person the message was supposed to reach is actually still working, and the time in your customer’s state is, in fact, 10 in the morning. This will lead to them ignore your message.
Given all these factors, it may seem challenging to decide when to send an SMS message for marketing. However, research has made doing so easier than ever.
Recommended Times of Day
In general, text messages should ideally be sent during one of these times:
Weekdays, between 9am and 12pm
This is usually after the morning rush hour and before the workday gets too busy for a person to be able to check their messages.
Weekdays, between 5pm and 9pm
This is usually at the end of the workday. However, keep in mind that – depending on what the local evening rush hour is – you may have to adjust this schedule to ensure that your message does not get delivered during rush hour. Rush hour is usually over by 7pm, so sending messages post this hour may show better results.
Weekends, between 10am and 12pm
People usually take the weekend to sleep in, so sending messages earlier may not be effective. At the same time, however, they usually have plans for the weekend, so sending messages by 12pm ensures they receive them before they get busy.
Sundays, between 4pm and 7pm
People often take this time to relax and spend some time unwinding before readying themselves for the week, giving them the time to check their messages.
Additionally, YouGov conducted a survey where they spoke to respondents about their mobile phone usage, including when they used their mobile phones. You can see the results of this survey underneath:
As you can see, a significant number of people report using their phones early in the morning and right before bed, further providing marketers with an idea of when they can send their text messages if they’re looking for maximum engagement.
Scheduling Text Messages
Given the fact that text messages are most effective when sent at certain times, as discussed above, it’s best to schedule your marketing texts. This makes sending them out easier, as you no longer have to depend on your own memory.
Additionally, this makes sending messages to international customers easier. Due to time zones, the time at which sending a text message will be most effective may not be convenient for you. By scheduling these messages in advance, you don’t have to worry about being forced to wake up in the middle of the night or interrupt a meeting in order to send the messages.
The procedure for scheduling a text message is dependant on the messaging app you use. Most apps have a feature that allows you to schedule a series of messages far in advance of the actual send date. This feature is usually easily accessible and is relatively simple to understand.
Once you have the technicalities down, you can then schedule your messages. Some messages that can be scheduled significantly in advance include:
Festival and holiday greetings and sales
This includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, and more. During these times, you can send messages that wish customers ‘happy holidays’ or promotions.
This is another time when people are likely to connect with their loved ones through SMS. Send your clients gift coupons they can use on their birthday. Never miss an opportunity to pamper your clients!
Thank-you Messages for Purchases or Subscriptions
As soon as a client makes a purchase of any kind, the best time to thank them is through text messaging. The more personalized, the better. Make it easy for them to buy again by giving them discounts and other incentives that will motivate them into returning for future purchases or subscriptions.
Order Status and Transactional Messages
This includes information on the status of the order or whether it has been shipped. Since these are important information regarding the order that your customer would likely want to know, you can send this as soon as the status changes. However, make sure they are not sent at odd times, such as in the middle of the night.
You can schedule the text as soon as you decide on the dates for the sale.
Schedule them as soon as someone signs up for a service. For example, if you sell tickets for an event, send them a reminder message based on the event or appointment.
Cart Abandonment messages
These follow a specific schedule based on when the customer left. Read our article on Cart Recovery strategies to learn more about the right timing for sending cart abandonment messages.
Considerations to Keep in Mind When Scheduling Text Messages
While there are some general rules for scheduling text messages (as mentioned above), you’ll find that these rules may differ depending on the type of business you own.
Some considerations to keep in mind include:
The Purpose of Your Message
Essentially, what do you want your customer to do once they receive your message? Do you hope to convince them to make a purchase, are you simply letting them know shipping details, or do you want them to schedule a reminder about an upcoming sale on their phone? The answer to this question will affect what time you should send a message.
On the other hand, if you are marketing an event, you will need to send a message out some days in advance, as most people tend to have their weekends planned out by Thursday or Friday.
The Type of Message You’re Sending
The type of message you’re sending will also affect the perfect time during which to send a message.
On the other hand, if you’re sending a time-limited coupon code (for example, one they need to use within seven days), you want to send the message as early as possible so that customers have time to use the code.
If you’re sending a reminder about an upcoming appointment, you would ideally not send a message earlier than 24 hours in advance of the appointment, as this time frame ensures receivers will remember the contents of the message.
Alternatively, you can also send a staggered series of reminders.
1. Send the first reminder right after the client makes the appointment so that they are able to schedule it in their appointment book.
2. Send another reminder 48 hours prior to the meeting so they have the time to reschedule the appointment if necessary.
3. Finally, send a reminder within 24 hours of the appointment so that clients remember to turn up.
This schedule may differ on several factors, including:
- Your cancellation policies. For example, if you require a three-day notice before canceling an appointment, the second message should be sent at least 24 hours prior to this. That makes it four days in advance of the appointment.
- Who is canceling the appointment? If your business is the one canceling an appointment, it’s essential to do so as soon as possible.
For example, if you know five days in advance that the appointment will not pull through, it’s essential to let the customer know immediately. This helps the customer to find a new service provider.
Restaurants and Takeaways
This depends on the type of offer you have running. If you’re offering lunch or dinner discounts, it’s best to send the message either during mid-morning (when people will be hungry for lunch) or early-mid evening (when people are hungry for dinner).
However, larger value offers, such as bigger discounts and limited-time menus, should be announced a few days in advance of the launch. This allows people to prepare for the offer and make time in their calendar to visit your establishment.
If you’re running an event, it’s always best to send out a few messages.
The first should be sent out as soon as the plans for the events have been finalized, so your customers can tentatively make the space on the calendars and ensure they don’t schedule something conflicting on the same day which they may not be able to back out of.
One should be sent out a few days in advance of the event. This allows customers to shift things around in their schedule if necessary and clear the time to visit your event.
You will also need to send out a reminder on the morning of the event. This will serve as a reminder for customers who may have put the event out of their minds and will make it more likely that they’ll come to your event.
If you’re looking to sell something to your customers, it’s always best to send out messages when customers have available cash on hand.
Payday promotions are some of the best converting marketing tactics.
For most people in the US, payday happens twice a month: one at the first of the month, another one on the 15th.
Schedule your payday promotion a day or two before the actual event so that it won’t be “too late” when your customer sees them. Send another SMS message on the actual day as a reminder.
By scheduling sales at this time of the month and sending out messages accordingly, you increase the chance that a person will be able to make a purchase from your store.
Other Sale Events
However, the time of the month is only one part of the equation when it comes to sending out messages for retail campaigns.
Let’s say you are promoting an anniversary sale. Like other campaigns, you’ll also need to send out messages over a staggered period of time. The first should be a few days in advance of the sale event, and the second should be on the morning of the sale.
This way, you ensure that customers are aware of and don’t forget about the sale. Keep in mind that the second message should be in the morning so that customers have the rest of the day to shop and don’t need to scramble to make time to do so.
Major Holidays Sale
However, if the sale you are running is a major event – such as a Black Friday sale or Cyber Monday sale, for example – it’s essential to prepare customers in advance. This way, customers will be able to determine how much shopping they need to do and will be able to save up for the big sale.
Ideally, you should start with an announcement of the sale one month ahead of it so that customers have time to plan and spread the information through word-of-mouth advertising. Then, send a message two weeks and one week before the big sale to act as reminders.
Finally, send customers the last reminder the day before the sale. This ensures that they’ll be ready for the event and will be able to make it to your website early so that they start shopping before stocks run out.
Choosing the right time to send your marketing messages is a key part of ensuring that they are effective and that they help customers remain engaged with your brand.
At the same time, it’s essential to keep in mind that each business is unique. What works for other people may not work for you.
More than anything, make sure that the messages you send your customers are relevant. While tailoring the time of the message helps, customers also want to be able to receive messages they care about – they don’t want spam messages clogging up their mobiles.
Once you’ve identified the best time to send your text messages, it’s simply a matter of setting up automated SMS campaigns that deliver your messages at the optimum times. With tools like WinBack, you can manage multiple campaigns across different carriers and ensure that your clients receive all of your SMS marketing messages without fail.
There are other things to consider when creating SMS marketing campaigns, but by following these steps closely, you can position yourself for success.
Just remember: timing is everything!