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“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” - Harvey Mackay
Let's talk about time. No, not how it can feel as though time is slipping past us in a flash or how we often feel like we never have enough of it. Rather, let’s talk about how time, specifically global time zones, can have a positive and negative impact on you, and your brand, when it comes to communicating with your contacts. What time are you sending your emails and more importantly what time are your contacts receiving your messages?
You’ve spent hours creating and testing the perfect email, you’ve made sure to avoid common email marketing mistakes, and are now ready to send your content into the world. But when should you send it? What is the perfect time of day to send? That is the email marketing million dollar question! Sending your broadcast at the “wrong” time can derail even the most thought out and perfectly created campaign. With this in mind, it is important to make sending times a top priority when scheduling your broadcasts. This helps you optimize your send times to make sure messages reach subscribers at a time when they are actively checking their inboxes.
When you are sending to a diverse global audience there are some key elements to think about. Example: an email sent at noon in LA reaches inboxes in the UK, at 9PM. Your UK subscribers are likely done checking emails for the day. Sure, those users will check their inboxes the following morning but your email may have gotten lost among the many others piling up in their inbox.
Here are a few time zone tips to think about before sending.
Know your audience and use segmentation to send to different groups based on their time zones. If you are based in LA, sending to your North American based recipients at 10 am will ensure your emails hit inboxes in a prime delivery window between 9 am and 2 pm. Just as scheduling a delayed broadcast to go out at 2 am, your local LA time for your European recipients will result in a 10am-1pm delivery window.
The alternative is to look at the majority of your recipient’s geographic location and use it as the base. For example, if you are in NYC, but most of your recipients are in LA, sending to the entire group at 1pm your local time ensures inboxing to most of your contacts will occur at 10am, an ideal delivery time.
What if you don’t have location information stored in your account to segment your groups? The best way to get this information is to ask. Send out a survey or a follow up email with a profile update link asking recipients to provide this and any other contact specific information you want to obtain for further personalization of your emails. Another way to get an idea of your readers’ locations is to review your past broadcast tracking information (Communicate > Tracking > check out the “Clicks When & Where” graph).
Whether you’re sending to your recipients by way of segmentation or focusing on the primary time zone, the most important thing to remember is to make sure your content is relevant to your recipients. It won’t matter when the email hits their inbox if the message doesn’t hit home to the reader. The negative impact of an irrelevant message on your brand reputation is far worse than a relevant email sitting in an inbox unopened for a few hours.
In GreenRope we’ve tried to take a lot of the guesswork out of scheduling your broadcasts during optimal delivery times. After you have created and tested your content and you are ready to send, you will see the Send page (Communicate > Emailer > Send) now has the option to select the "Use Delivery Window" box. This feature makes it so messages are delivered within a specified window in the recipient's time zone. This feature works based on the recipient having an address (City, State, and Country) saved in your CRM contact records. If the recipient's time zone cannot be determined by stored address information, the message will be default to the time zone time set in your account.
Remember - all broadcasts are sent in the time zone dedicated in your account. To update your time zone hover over Settings > Account > Settings > Regional Settings.
Another area inside your GreenRope account where time zones come into play is during the journey making process. GreenRope offers a delay in your journey called ‘Until Local Datetime’. This means that the next action in your journey will take place at a specific time depending on the contact’s location. Delaying an action allows you to further customize your customer experience through automation. Example: you can delay a step until after the recipient has eSigned a document, or clicked a specific link, or until a specific time in the contact’s local time zone. Just as with sending this feature only works if you have the contact’s location information saved in their profile, if no information is available the default delay will be your account’s saved time zone.
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