So you’ve got this whole texting thing down. You know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it- but what about when? One of the hardest parts of conducting an SMS marketing campaign is knowing when and how often to send your texts. Every day seems excessive, but once a month feels like you’re shouting into thin air. And what about everything in between? We’ve put together a list of rules and guidelines that will help you choose the most appropriate and effective texting times.
The first rule is that there’s really no one rule that will work in every situation. As a marketer, you probably already know that, in order to properly target consumers, you have to think about them as individuals. Would you set up a single marketing campaign directed at middle aged dads and expect results from your teenage audience? Of course not! So why would you expect a single mass text to bring in optimal results? Be prepared to time your SMS campaigns in accordance with your audience segments. Busy parents might appreciate a coupon for a special lunch and get annoyed over texts in the evening. Be sure to keep in mind that SMS marketing is just one branch of your total integrated marketing campaign- all of your branches should work together to achieve a cohesive and effective message.
Keep it local.
This is one of the simplest adjustments you can make to your SMS campaign; however, it also is one of the easiest to forget. If you have customers across the United States or globally, sending a mass text to everyone at the same time is bound to only be convenient for a small number. No one wants to be woken up in the middle of the night by notifications after a long day or receive texts about a coupon for lunch after their lunch break has ended.
There are some messages where the content is more important than planning for time. This is usually most relevant when it comes to mobile receipts, shipping updates, or news you need to share with your customers. Receipts and confirmations should come automatically as soon as possible after the purchase. Further, shipping updates should be sent as they come along. When it comes to sharing news, you make the call. If it’s really important enough, the time you send out the message doesn’t really matter.
Be considerate of your customers.
No one wants to wake up to a text at 7am or be woken up at midnight by notifications after a long day. Further, sending a text during rush hour or morning commutes is going to be overlooked while your customers are rushing to get to work. Another general rule of thumb is to never text your customers on holidays or during big events like sports games or a popular show. People also don’t want to be bothered on some days more than others- never text on Sundays and avoid texting on Mondays (unless it’s an important reminder, shipping alert, etc.). Another tip to keep in mind when you’re considering your customer’s time is that you should be very careful not to over-text. Your customers will be much more inclined to opt out of your texting services if they receive more than a few texts a month. Be smart with your placement and timing of SMS ads.
Overall, it’s best to avoid texting:
- During big events
- On Sundays
- During morning/evening commutes
- On holidays
Now, let’s get into some specifics:
If you’re a brand who’s having an in-store sale on Saturday, plan to send a text a couple days in advance- Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays are good for letting your customers know about deals happening on the weekend. This will give them enough time to plan on popping in the day of the sale (and give them a few days to look forward to it!). As for time, stick to the general rules. Steer clear of busy times like rush hour and times that may annoy your customers like early in the morning or late at night. The same is true for events. Like special sales, it’s important to send a text a few days before your event will take place. Additionally, sending a text the morning of may not only remind potential attendees, but also help bring in last minute guests and customers.
Online offers don’t require the same kind of planning that in-store offers do. If you want your customers to do some online shopping by offering 10% off until midnight, send a text between 6-11pm, so they have time to redeem the offer.
Overall, for sales and events remember to stick to:
- A few days before (Thursdays are ideal for weekend events)
- Mid-morning, early afternoon, and evening
- The night before and/or the morning of
If you are managing texts for a doctor’s office or hair salon, you are probably using SMS as appointment reminders and confirmations . It’s best to aim these for at least 24 hours ahead of the patient’s appointment. You also want to do your best to keep these on the hour and half hour. These, versus something more organic, can be more precise in the times you send out your text reminders.
The best times for reminders are:
- 24 hours before
- On the hour
You can optimize your times in accordance with what you’re offering and when you’re offering it. If you’re a restaurant offering a coupon for lunch, send a text around 10am-12pm when you’re customers are getting hungry.
Further, offering a coupon for a free coffee with purchase of any breakfast item will be well-received at night before customers are going to bed or in the morning before they leave for work.
The best times to send coupons and offers differ on the offer itself; however, when sending a coupon in a text, it will most likely be received well in the:
- Late morning
- Early afternoon
- At night
- In the morning before work