When is the best time to send bulk SMS?

Morning or evening? Weekday or weekend? Learn how to time your text messages to perfection so that you can maximise the results of your bulk SMS campaigns.

Amanda Ranville - January 18, 2022

Timing is critical when you’re using direct marketing channels like SMS.

Get it right, and you’ll reach your customer when they’re most receptive to receiving your messages. Get it wrong, and you’ll either get ignored, or you’ll frustrate the pants off them.

Mobile phones are used the most between midday and 6pm.

While mobiles are most commonly used in the afternoon, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should always send your messages during this time. The best time to send bulk SMS can depend on the type of message you’re sending. 

For example, if you’re sending a promotional SMS to spruik a special offer, then you’re probably best to hit the mid-arvo sweet spot. Definitely avoid the early morning while your customers are still waking up.

But if you’re sending an appointment reminder, it’s best practice to send it 24 hours before the appointment. Some practitioners like to send another reminder an hour before, too. 
If you want to promote a big sale in-store on the weekend, then consider sending an SMS marketing message on the Thursday (mid-arvo), followed by a reminder on the Saturday morning (about 9am).

Suggested times to send your message

Here are some suggested times for different types of business texts (remember: monitor your results and do what works for your customers):

  • Retail
    • General promos and updates — Saturdays 10am-1pm, Sundays 1pm-4pm
    • Big weekend sales — Thursdays 3pm-5pm, followed by Saturday 8am-10am
    • Big midweek sales/events — one day prior, 1pm-3pm
  • Restaurants and takeaway — 3pm-5pm any days
  • Appointments
    • Booking confirmation — immediately after appointment is made
    • Booking reminders — 24hrs before, and potentially 1hr before

Not sending an SMS message that falls into any of the categories above? Then go for the sweet spot between 1pm and 3pm on any day of the week and measure the results!

    Tips for timely texting etiquette

  • Think about time zones
    If you’ve got customers across Australia or the globe, then you’ll need to send your messages at different times of day.
  • Respond fast
    If a customer responds to your SMS expecting an answer, make sure you can respond straight away (more on this down below).
  • Use your own research
    Measure response rates and click-throughs for messages sent at different times, and see what’s most effective for your cohort of customers.
  • Avoid on-the-hour alerts
    Instead of sending on the dot of 9am or 3pm (which could clash with an alarm or other meeting notification), send at an odd time like 9:08am or 2:43pm.

Schedule your sends, too

As well as getting the timing right for your customers, it’s important to ensure the time to send is convenient for you as well.

Scheduling when you send your text messages in advance can be super helpful here. In SMS Broadcast, you can choose to Send Now or Send Later, so you don’t have to be in front of your computer when it’s go-time.

For example, if you need to blast your message at 2pm but you also have a work meeting then, schedule it instead. This way you won’t need to be in two places at once.

You can schedule a message for later in the SMS Broadcast portal

Make sure you’ve got someone in your team ready to respond following a bulk SMS send. You don’t want to leave them hanging.

And, if you’ve got a massive database (huzzah!), then consider breaking it into chunks and sending your text message to one chunk at a time — this can help to stagger potential responses.

To help manage responses, you can also set up auto-forwarding of customer responses to another mobile number or email address. This is handy if you want to monitor responses in real-time without having to open the SMS Broadcast portal.

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