When it comes to effective SMS marketing and communication, the timing of a message is nearly just as important as the content itself. However, finding the right timing for your business can be challenging as there’s no one-time-fits-all.
This article will walk you through top strategies and considerations to keep in mind to determine the best time to send a marketing text. This article analyzes psychological insights, data from existing studies, and over 300,000 SMS blasts sent via Textline.
Jump right to:
- Times to avoid
- Day of the week considerations
- Time of day analysis
- Use case examination
- Industry considerations
- Tips to find the best time for your business
The importance of the right timing for SMS marketing
The reality is customers receive hundreds of messages a day between email, text, and mobile app notifications. Properly timed SMS blasts and marketing text messages can help you cut through the noise to get your message read, maximize revenue, and gain a competitive advantage.
When the timing is right, businesses reach customers when they’re ready to buy, browse, or get information from your company. Studies show that properly timed messages can increase the conversion rate by about 15 percent.
<h2 id="Avoid">Times to avoid sending marketing text messages</h2>
While there’s no one-size-fits-all optimal send time for text marketing, there are general times to avoid. Shying away from these send times will help your business comply with SMS regulations and maintain a positive brand reputation.
- Avoid early mornings. Customers don’t want to get woken up by a marketing text from your business. In fact, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits businesses from sending SMS marketing texts before 8am and after 9pm. These hours are known as marketing quiet hours.
- Avoid late at night. In addition to early mornings, customers don’t want to get marketing texts right before falling asleep. Plus, as mentioned it’s prohibited to send a marketing text after 9pm.
- Don’t send when your business is closed. It’s generally a best practice to avoid sending marketing texts outside your business hours, including when your business is closed for a holiday. For example, if your store is closed on Christmas, don’t send a marketing text on this day.
Read more: SMS compliance checklist
<h2 id="Day">Day of the week data and considerations</h2>
Many marketers want to know the best day of the week to send SMS marketing messages. Textline data reveals that the most popular day mass text messages are sent is Monday. The day the fewest bulk SMS messages are sent is Saturday. We recommend avoiding sending marketing text messages on Mondays to cut through the noise.
Another study from Omnisend suggests that Saturdays and Tuesdays provide the highest conversion rates for marketing texts. Keep this data in mind, but know that the best time to send SMS marketing texts is business-specific.
Here are some strategies to help you better determine the best day of the week for your business:
- Understand consumer behavior across days. Get to know what your customers’ average week entails. Are they busiest on the weekends or weekdays? Are they out and about after work on a Thursday or relaxing at home? Understanding behavior patterns can help you pinpoint the best day of the week.
- Identify peak engagement days. You’ll want to A/B test different send times and measure peak engagement by day. Some metrics that can help you track engagement are response rate, click-through rate, or conversion rate.
- Pinpoint when customers need the information. It’s also important to think about when your customer needs the information you’re providing. For example, if a promotional sale is only until the weekend, send it earlier in the week to give them more time to act on it. Or, if you’re sending an event reminder, give attendees at least a 24-hour heads-up.
<h2 id="Time">Time of day data and considerations</h2>
In addition to the day of the week, it’s also important to pick the best time of day to send your marketing text message. Textline’s data shows that the most popular send time for mass texts throughout the day is between 8am and 9am Pacific Time. There’s also another spike between 5pm and 7pm. This shows that businesses often target early mornings and after work hours. Which, as discussed earlier, may not be the best tactic.
Mornings vs. afternoons vs. evenings
To help your business find the best time of day, consider the pros and cons of mornings vs. afternoons vs. evenings.
- Mornings. The reality is 71 percent of Americans check their phone first thing in the morning when they wake up. If you have important information, like an appointment reminder, a morning text could be a great way to get valuable information to them.
- Afternoons. Midday text messages may be a good option to capture customers' attention during lunch breaks.
- Evenings. Evenings are typically leisure time for many Americans. Consider using an evening text message to reach people during this time.
The best thing you can do for your business is to analyze engagement trends during different parts of the day. You want to look at response rate, click-through rate, or other engagement metrics.
If your business works with customers across different geographic locations, you’ll need to keep time zones in mind. Here are two popular strategies for targeting different time zones effectively:
- Segment your SMS contact list. Group your marketing contact list by time zone or geographic location. That way you can schedule the SMS blast to send to each group at the right time.
- Pick a time that works across time zones. Targeting a time that works across all time zones in the U.S. can help you. For example, texting at 9am Pacific could hit West Coast contacts in the morning, but East Coast contacts around 12pm lunchtime. This could work for SMS marketing campaigns.
<h2 id="UseCase">How optimal timing differs by SMS marketing use case</h2>
In addition to specific data on weekdays, dates, and times, you’ll want to understand your use case and type of SMS campaign. For example, transactional text messages like order updates should be sent more immediately, while promotional messages should take goals and customer psychological insights into account.
Let’s look at some common SMS use cases. We break them down by when messages should be sent immediately, after a particular duration, or depending on an event time.
Remember, these are just general rules of thumb, but the best timing largely depends on your goals, customers, and business.
Use cases where it may be best to send a text message immediately:
- Welcome messages
- Order confirmations
- Payment confirmations
- Security codes
- Booking confirmations
Use cases where you may want to send text messages after a set duration like one hour, two days post-purchase, or after a week:
- Abandoned cart SMS
- Lead nurturing SMS
- Review or survey requests
Use cases where optimal send time will depend on the event date and time:
- Appointment reminders
- Event reminders
- Flash sales
- Promotional messages
- Birthday rewards
How do you get started with SMS marketing? Learn how to set up a winning SMS marketing strategy from start to finish.
<h2 id="Industry">How optimal timing differs by industry</h2>
The timing of your message will also depend on your industry and typical business hours. For example, a restaurant would likely want to send promotional texts around mealtimes. This may be different than an ecommerce store that wants to reach customers with a 24-hour flash sale early in the morning.
Additionally, ecommerce stores have more flexibility on timing because their business is online and reachable at most hours. On the other hand, in-person businesses like retail or dental offices will want to send text messages only when their office is open.
<h2 id="Tips">Tips to find the best time to send a marketing text</h2>
There’s no one-size-fits-all best time to send text messages. Instead, brands should consider several strategies to determine the best time for their unique SMS campaigns. Here’s a breakdown of the strategies discussed throughout.
- Understand your audience. Understanding your audience and their behavior patterns is one of the best ways to find an optimal send time. Think about what their daily routine or schedule looks like. For example, are they working a 9-5 job or attending college classes? Understanding your audience and when they’re more likely to have downtime can help you better time your marketing text messages.
- Understand your industry. The reality is that the best time to send marketing texts will differ based on your industry. For example, restaurants may have better conversion rates if they send around lunchtime when people get hungry. While a dental provider may have more success reaching contacts with a service promotion in the early morning so patients have time to book that day.
- Consider campaign type. The optimal timing will change based on the type of SMS marketing campaign used. Consider sending transactional messages like order confirmations or welcome notices should be sent immediately with automations and appointment reminders at least 24 hours in advance.
- A/B test times. One of the best ways to determine the best time for your business is to test different send times. You should send the same message and content at different times and analyze which performs better.
- Measure and analyze the data. You should monitor engagement metrics at different send times, days of the week, and days of the month. Measuring reply, open, and conversion rates continuously will help refine your send times.
- Do a competitive analysis. Research what times your competitors are sending SMS campaigns. This may help you understand what works and what doesn’t for your brand.
- Pay attention to time zones. If you have a national presence, keep the time zone in mind. You can segment your SMS contact list by region or time zone to ensure they get the message at the best time or pick a time that works best across time zones.
- Ensure relevancy. The key to marketing success is sending timely messages. You want to ensure it makes sense that you’re sending a message at that particular time. For example, if you’re requesting reviews of a product make sure the customer received it and has had time to use it first.
- Leverage marketing automations. Don’t be afraid to use automation to help you with the timing of your messages. For example, set up automated abandoned cart messages for about one hour after someone leaves items in a cart.
Knock your SMS marketing campaign out of the park with these SMS marketing tips ⚾
Get the timing of your marketing texts right with Textline
To achieve the best results from SMS marketing campaigns, timing matters. Textline’s robust automations, integrations, and message scheduling features help organizations get the timing of their SMS messages right. But, don’t just take our word for it. Request a demo with our expert team today to see how Textline’s platform can work for you and your business.