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Best Time to Send SMS Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

January 9th 2020

Camilla Bass

By Camilla Bass

Senior Content Marketing Manager

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SMS (short message service) messaging is a powerful tool that can go a long way toward building a trusted relationship with your customers. A recent Cision survey found that 49% of consumers said they used SMS last year to interact with businesses. If nearly half of your customer base said yes to SMS, would that change your marketing ROI? You bet it would!

With nearly 7 billion people able to receive SMS messages, it’s a channel that can’t be ignored. But its effectiveness greatly depends on message timing. In Cision’s survey, they found that when brands communicated with consumers in their preferred channel, they were more likely to remain customers (82%), buy more (69%) and become advocates (66%). But the penalty for messing up can be equally harsh. One-in-four consumers reported switching brands or not renewing subscriptions after getting overloaded with many emails or SMS messages from a company. The moral of the story? Get your message timing right.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the intricacies of timing in SMS marketing, debunk some myths, and provide practical advice for your marketing strategy. 

Myths and truths about SMS marketing

Myth 1: SMS marketing is outdated.

Truth: SMS marketing is still very relevant. With high open rates, SMS messages can be a great complement to your existing strategy for email, web, and app to boost reach, increase conversions, and generate more revenue. SMS open rates are high because text messages are direct, personal, and typically read within minutes of receipt, making them a highly effective channel for immediate and concise communication. 

Myth 2: Any time is a good time for SMS.

Truth: The timing of your messages can significantly impact their effectiveness. You can track when those messages are opened by using an SMS marketing platform equipped with read-receipt features. These platforms provide analytics that indicate when a message is delivered and opened, so you can monitor the engagement and effectiveness of your campaigns, refine your targeting strategy, and optimize the timing and content of future SMS messages for better engagement. 

Myth 3: More SMS means more engagement.

Truth: Over-sending will always lead to opt-outs. It’s about finding the right balance. To find the optimal number of SMS messages for engagement, analyze your customer response rates, ask for feedback, monitor opt-out rates, and test different send frequencies to get to maximum engagement without overwhelming your recipients. 

Is there a better day or time to launch an SMS campaign?

Yes, there are better times and days for SMS campaigns, but they vary depending on your audience and industry. To start, send on weekdays during mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Then analyze your customer response rates, opt-out rates, etc. to see if there are times that appear to have higher engagement rates per segment. 

The first rule in building any relationship is showing respect for boundaries and preferences — that is true of a marketing relationship as well. To maintain a positive relationship, we recommend avoiding early mornings, late nights, and weekends, as these times might annoy recipients. As we mentioned earlier, text is seen as more personal than email or app notifications, so SMS messages during a time that is generally considered personal time — when people may not want to be disturbed by marketing messages – can lead to an immediate opt-out. Additionally, receiving messages during unsocial hours can be seen as intrusive and inconsiderate, which could lead to negative perceptions of your brand. 

What’s a good frequency to send SMS? 

A good frequency is typically 2-4 times a month. However, this can vary depending on your audience’s preferences and the nature of your messages. Monitor engagement and adjust accordingly. 

Things to consider before you send an SMS or email marketing campaign

Embracing SMS as a new channel for outreach doesn’t mean you should divert all your focus away from email. Consider a strategy that integrates both SMS and email marketing. By leveraging the strengths of each channel, you can enhance your results and increase conversion. A combination of email and SMS can be particularly effective for reminding shoppers about an abandoned cart, alerting them to price drops, or reminding them to replenish their favorite products. 

Here are five things to keep in mind while setting up your SMS/email campaign: 

1. Personalization, segmentation, and relevance. Ensure your content is personalized based on customer behavior and demographics, timely, and offers value. Set up personalized, triggered SMS and email messages including cart and browse abandonment, transactional, price drop alerts, back-in-stock alerts, and bespoke offers.

2. Integration with other channels. SMS and email should be part of a multi-channel strategy. Align it with your web, social media, mobile app, retargeting, and other marketing efforts.

3. Legal compliance. Be aware of regulations like GDPR and TCPA to avoid legal issues and maintain trust.

4. Clear call-to-action. Every message should have a purpose. Make your call-to-action clear and compelling.

5. Testing and optimization. Continuously test delivery times and content to find what works best for your audience. Measure SMS and email’s contribution to revenue, so you can spend your budget more effectively. 

SMS marketing best practices 

·  Get opt-in permission. Just as in email marketing, you need a clear opt-in for SMS marketing. One way to do this is to add a phone number field to your data capture forms and incentivize customers to opt in to text messages using discount codes or exclusive offers.

·  Provide an easy opt-out. It is also paramount to include clear opt-out instructions in every SMS message. Customers should be able to easily opt out of future messages, especially since SMS is such an intimate channel.

·  Identify yourself. Even after receiving multiple messages from you, it’s unlikely that your customer will save you as a contact, so your messages will come from a number they don’t recognize. Put your brand name at the beginning of each message to reduce any confusion.

·  Use personalization. Don’t bombard your customers with messages and ensure every message you send is highly relevant to the recipient. That way, you increase trust, reduce the likelihood of an opt-out, and increase the possibility that this recipient will engage with the message.

·  Include a CTA. By including a clear call-to-action in your text messages, you can encourage the recipient to take the next step. For example, include a CTA like ‘Reply YES to RSVP’ or ‘click the link to learn more.’ 


The best time to send SMS marketing messages is a nuanced topic. It’s not just about picking a day or time; it’s about understanding your audience, respecting their preferences, and delivering relevant, valuable content. By following these guidelines and continually optimizing your approach, you can unlock the full potential of SMS marketing and achieve better engagement and conversion rates. Remember, in the world of SMS marketing, timing is not just a detail; it’s a critical component of success.

Camilla Bass

By Camilla Bass

Senior Content Marketing Manager

As Senior Content Marketing Manager at Fresh Relevance, Camilla leads the global content strategy and manages, writes and edits user-centered content that helps marketers in the eCommerce and travel spaces get their jobs done.