SMS Strategies

When is the Best Time to Text Subscribers During BFCM?

BFCM imagery with illustrated checklist, calendar, and message bubbles
Oct 31, 2022
Written by
Lydia DelRossi
Lydia is a Senior Client Strategy Manager at Attentive. She spends her logged off hours playing cello and singing, cooking, & watching NCAA football with her husband.

Get answers to your SMS sending questions, including when to start texting about BFCM, best times to send, and how many texts to send. 

Looking for more BFCM tips and best practices? Read Top Questions Brands Have About Black Friday Cyber Monday (and our Answers).

“When is the best time to send a text?” is one of the questions we hear most often from brands. As we get closer to the biggest shopping period of the year, this question might be even more top of mind, since shopping behaviors tend to look a bit different during BFCM. 

Most likely, the send times and frequency that work for your brand throughout the rest of the year might need to be adjusted during BFCM to meet the needs of your subscribers. 

And while there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution for what works best (though wouldn’t it be nice if there was?), use this post as a guide to finding the BFCM send times and frequency that work for your brand.  

When should I start sending BFCM text messages?

This really depends on when you plan to start promoting your deals. While Black Friday tends to get the most attention for holiday deals, not everyone wants to wait until then to start shopping the season’s biggest sales. 

With holiday shopping starting earlier and earlier each year, you might want to start teasing early BFCM deals at the start of November (but again, this depends on your brand’s promotional strategy for the holidays). 

If you don’t have any early deals planned, you can still start engaging subscribers early with non-promotional messages. For example, send subscribers a conversational text asking who they’re shopping for this holiday season. Then, based on their answer, send them a relevant gift guide with best-selling products.

As you get closer to BFCM, start engaging your VIPs—whether you define them as loyalty members, top spenders, most engaged subscribers, or something else. Add them to a segment so you can easily send them text messages that the rest of your subscribers won’t receive.

A few text message ideas you can send them include:

  • Early access to your BFCM deals
  • Double loyalty points for a limited time
  • Free shipping 
  • “VIP” sitewide sale. 

Follow up with anyone in this segment who hasn’t made a purchase yet, and let them know the deals are ending soon.

Once the week of BFCM arrives, you can start texting all your subscribers with BFCM-specific deals as early as Sunday or Monday. Even if your sales don’t start until later in the week, you can give subscribers a heads up on what to expect by sharing a countdown or teasing a schedule of your deals. Keep the texts going through the weekend by promoting extended Black Friday sales, or early access to Cyber Monday offers.

When is the best time to text subscribers during Black Friday Cyber Monday?

During Cyber Week last year, our customers sent the most text messages at 10am ET. The next most popular send time was 12pm ET, perhaps trying to catch SMS subscribers on their lunch break. 11am ET, 1pm ET, and 9am ET rounded out the rest of the top five send times throughout the week.

Keep in mind that your subscribers (and their preferred times to receive a text) are unique. Consider running A/B tests based on send time leading up to the holidays, so you have a better idea of what your subscribers prefer.

SMS Pro Tip: Congestion on the carriers peaks between 10am and 4pm ET on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with messages delivering most quickly before or after those times. Messages also send fastest outside of the top of the hour and half hour, so consider sending at off times like 11:05am, 1:10pm, etc. Finally, if you have questions about the “best” time to send based on local laws, please check with your counsel.

We also recommend using Attentive’s time zone-based message sending feature when scheduling or sending your texts. This tool scans the geographic information of your subscribers, and automatically adjusts the send time to align with each individual’s time zone, so you can make sure you're not texting subscribers too early or too late.

How many text messages should I send during BFCM?

This depends on your brand, goals, and subscribers’ preferences. While our general recommendations throughout the year is to send at least eight campaign messages per month to hit peak revenue per send, you need to be sending more during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, our internal data from 2021 shows that brands who sent more messages during BFCM drove more revenue and saw fewer opt-outs.

chart showing data on revenue by campaigns sent and opt-out rates by number of campaigns sent

Consider the types of campaigns you’ll be promoting through SMS to determine how often you should send text messages. For example, if you’re planning a “12 days of deals” campaign, let your subscribers know before it starts, so they know what to expect. You can even give them the option to “opt in” to that specific campaign, so you’re only texting subscribers who are interested. 

Or, if you have a sale that lasts several days, like throughout the week or weekend, bookend the sale with SMS. Text subscribers the day your sale starts (or even the day before) to let them know the details.Then, on the last day of the sale, send a “final hours” text message. Be sure to create a sense of urgency and use a strong call to action, such as “last chance to save,” “shop now before it’s over,” or “sale ends tonight.”

You should also think about your segmentation strategy for each campaign. For example, if you’re giving VIP subscribers or loyalty members first access to shop, make sure to exclude them from the text you send to the rest of your subscribers when it’s their turn. Or, if you’re sending a “final hours to shop the sale” text message, consider excluding subscribers who’ve already made a purchase.

SMS Pro Tip: Make sure you’re texting your full list during this period to maximize revenue. That doesn’t mean you have to “batch and blast” the same message to everyone, though. Create different segments within your subscriber list based on first- and zero-party data you’ve collected, so each message still feels relevant to different audiences.

For more strategies and inspiration, check out our BFCM content collection, and browse text messages sent by leading brands last year in Texts We Love.

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