Text message marketing is an extremely effective channel–98% of all text messages sent are opened by the recipient and 90% are opened within three minutes of being sent. A key benefit to SMS over other channels is that it’s immediate and perfect for time sensitive messages. Text messages recipients are most likely to follow through with whatever the call to action is immediately after receiving in and the more time that passes after the text message has been read, the less likely that person is to ever follow through with the call to action. This highlights the importance of timing. Text messages can be more or less effective depending on when they’re sent. Here are some tips for determining the best time to send text messages.
Though many of the tips here are subjective (they depend on the industry, audience, and content of the message itself) there are a few times when text messages should never been sent. You should never send a text on weekdays between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. There’s a good chance that recipients will be sleeping and a text that interrupts sleep is very likely to lead to opt-outs. Even if they’re awake during those hours, they’re less likely to take action based on the text because they’re settled for the evening and enjoying some relaxation time before bed or they’re busy getting ready to go to work. On weekends you should wait until 9:00 or even 10:00 a.m. since there is a higher probability that they’re sleeping in.
Holidays can be a great time to text customers but you have to be especially mindful of timing on those days. For instance, A Christmas afternoon text will be fine but families will be busy spending time together opening presents in the morning hours. Most families have Thanksgiving dinner in the late afternoon/early evening hours but a text sent earlier in the day or later in the evening wouldn’t be amiss.
Rules for weekdays
The most popular text times on weekdays are between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon followed by the hours of 5:00 pm. to 9:00 p.m. Many people will use the early part of their work day to handle simpler tasks like checking and responding to emails and text messages and many will use their lunch break to shop or go out to get food so a pre-lunchtime text can be especially effective. In the later part of the work day, people tend to be less available to receive and act on text messages but by the evening, they’re freed up to do some shopping and may even stop in at a store on the way home from work.
Rules for weekends
You’re better of sending weekend texts in the morning (after 9:00 a.m. but before noon or 1:00 p.m. at the latest). People usually get errands/shopping done earlier in the day and are less likely to respond to a call to action in the afternoon or evening on a Saturday or Sunday.
A few holidays are must-text days for retailers. They include Black Friday/Cyber Monday, the days just before Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s day, and birthdays. Most bulk SMS service providers support customized birthday messages for SMS subscribers who’ve agreed to share their birthdate info.
One final note
Finding the exact time and day to send different kinds of text messages isn’t an exact science. It will depend somewhat on who your audience is, what your business is selling, and it may even vary from text to text based on the offer or call-to-action. Many brands have found it helpful to A/B split test for different times of the day and different days of the week to find what works best for their customers. Another option is to segment your audience based on their preferences. Some customers may prefer to be contacted in the mornings while others may prefer the evenings. Some will prefer weekends while others prefer to be contacted on weekdays. If your bulk SMS provider supports segmentation, you can experiment with sending texts at different times and on different days according to each recipient’s preferences.