I’m sure you want to make sure your message is
heard and well-received. While SMS boasts an incredible open rate, you still
need to time it right to make sure the conversion is as high as possible.
One of the fastest ways to upset a customer is to send them messages at the wrong time. Wake them up at 2 a.m. to share a fast food coupon? Unsubscribe. Text me at 4 a.m. with a payment reminder? Unsubscribe.
Mobile is the one channel people can be reached throughout their day but text messaging is most effective during business hours (10 a.m. - 8 p.m.), while lifestyle-oriented activities such as apps and Web browsing dominate evening hours.
So, when is the best time to send an SMS?
First, you need to consider the times of day
that your mobile audience is on their phone the most and what periods are most
appropriate within their daily routine.
No one likes Mondays: Unless your message is related to that specific date (or a reminder), Mondays have shown the lowest response rate. Most likely due to the overwhelming content that people receive after weekend via email, television and mail.
Avoid rush hour: Since it is text messaging, people cannot read or engage with a text message during standard rush hours, typically between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. local time.
Be respectful: Not too early in the morning and not too late at night. A good rule is to compare sending a text to a phone call. When would you want to receive a phone call? A text message has a similar alert method, and people typically don’t want to be bothered at those times.
Go local: Always keep local time zones in mind. Send a message at the times most impactful to those in each local market. Especially for television shows, retail sales and time-sensitive offers.
Breaking news trumps all: The bigger the news, the more lenient you can be with messaging outside of mobile business hours.
Reminders & notifications
Appointment reminders: Reminders should be sent at least 24 hours before the appointment and contain all necessary information. Also, consider sending a second one on the actual day, preferably early in the day.
Ongoing reminder messages: Daily/monthly reminders on any subject are popular in this increasingly busy world. Send at the time that best fits your goals: horoscopes in the morning and high school football score alerts on Friday evenings.
Delivery notification: The industry standard is to send a delivery notification a day before a courier arrives. This will give the customer a chance to plan their day accordingly and change the delivery time when necessary.
Drive midday foot traffic: Trying to drive people into your establishment during lunch hours? Send out your blast at 11:30 a.m. local time to catch those who are making lunch plans and even add an offer to incentivise the visit instead of treating it as a plain advertisement.
Drive in-store weekend foot traffic: Thursdays are popular dates to send text messages with strong response rates and Fridays between 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. have shown great success for retailers such as Charlotte Russe.
Support upcoming events: Send out a couple of reminders spaced out including on the actual date and links to increase RSVPs and attendance. Include specific event information to assist attendees with planning and logistics.
Seasonal and holiday messaging: Send holiday messages with valuable content up to a week before an expected action is to be taken to allow them to plan appropriately, such as an upcoming sale, in-store events or even holiday recipes.
Send electronic receipts: There has been a significant increase in the adoption of electronic receipts to save overall costs for retailers. SMS/MMS text message receipts can be integrated quickly and inexpensively. Make sure they are sent immediately after purchase. Drive additional action by including a link to view other specials or products to drive more sales and interest.
In general, the most helpful tip for deciding when to send messages is determining when you’re most interested in your customers taking action. If your message has information valuable for the start of the day, aim to send a text between 8 am and 12 pm.
If you think people will have a better chance of taking action on your message when they’re winding down from their day, try to send or schedule your campaign between 5 pm and 9 pm.
But whatever the case, make sure you take the time and research your customers, their time zones, markets, events in their life, etc. Make sure you then aim at maximum conversion, make the message relevant, and you’ll be good to go.