Telemarketers were notorious for calling during dinner. How much worse is it when you wake someone from a sound sleep with your SMS message or Push Notification? Much, much worse. Take these steps to make sure your brand isn’t banned forever from the hearts, minds and smartphones of your customers.
You may turn off your phone ringer when you go to sleep, and assume that everyone who doesn’t want to be bothered does the same thing. Not true. If you don’t have a land line and do have people who may need to reach you, you sleep with your ringer on. If you are the parent of young children, this typically doesn’t apply to you. But parents with older children, divorced parents, non-resident caretakers and young people, who don’t want to miss anything, sleep with their ringers on.
Push notifications may be sent without a sound, but they do light up a screen. It is less intrusive, but still not the best user experience for light sleepers.
If you don’t know your recipients’ time zones, you need to send during a safe window, adjusted for early risers and late sleepers. I think sending after 9:00 p.m. is too late and before 10 a.m. is too early. If your audience is made up of senior citizens, you should adjust your late limit down even earlier. If your audience is mostly young people, you should adjust your early send time up to noon.
Having decided on your safe window, you need to adjust for receiving and sending time zones. Your early limit is adjusted for Pacific time, and your late limit is adjusted for Eastern time. For example, if you don’t want to send before 10 a.m. on the West Coast, and you’re sending from the Central Time Zone, your send window starts at 1 p.m. If you don’t want to send after 9 p.m. on the East Coast, your send window ends at 8 p.m. (if sending from Central time). Your blackout window is everything else, or 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. in this example.
If you have ZIP codes for your customers, you can assign time zones and broaden your acceptable sending window by zone. Don’t assume you know time zone from IP address information. VPNs mask users’ location, so assumptions there are dangerous.
You can capture time zone at opt-in, but don’t ask for this data (or anything the customer has to type, for that matter) unless you are going to use it.
Beware of unfinished scripts! You may intend to send during the safe window, but have a process that runs long for a variety of reasons. Make sure your program is either finished or halted once you hit the blackout window.