Email Marketing for Globals – how to deal with time zones?

You have a well-crafted campaign and would like to send it to your customers, partners, prospects or to whom it may concern anyway at the perfect time. You know already that nearly a third email opens occur within the first hour after receiving the mail, so you really want to get that part of your audience. Moreover, you are aware of the fact, that the top open hours in most western countries are in the morning between 08:00 and 09:00 am (even if the inbox might be to loaded to get through to your recipient) or in the afternoon at 03:00 to 04:00 pm, when people recheck their inboxes again.

But when you’re sending to a global audience, things can get even more tricky. Imagine you are an Austrian company and plan to send your email at 03:00 p.m. Austrian time. Perfect for your subscribers in Austria, Germany, Italy or wherever in the same time zone. But how does this work for your subscribers like in the US? For people in New York this might work too, as it would be 09:00 in the morning. But in San Francisco it would be 06:00 a.m. When the Californians come to work at 08:00 in the morning, your message has already been waiting for 2 hours and there might be a lot of competition in the inbox as emails piled up. Yes, we know – the Californian recipient might have checked the mail very early on the mobile, but has he also clicked it then? And if your company also work with Australians: People in Sydney would get your email at 11:00 p.m., so chances for opening and clicking might be very low…

I guess you see the problem and may already now this yourself in practice – how can you choose the perfect time for all your recipients?

Approaching subscribers in different time zones with optimized emails is a major task for marketers nowadays. More or less, there are 2 ways of approaching this issue.

Segment your list by location to optimize send times in each time zone

Segmenting your list could be one approach. You could either create a segment for every time zone your recipients live in or divide your subscribers into manageable segments.
A segmented approach not only allows you to send emails at the same time in each time zone (for example, always at noon local time), but also gives you the opportunity to test and optimize send times in each location. Reading time preferences differ by audience, and regional habits and schedules can play an important role, too. For example, MailChimp found that most subscribers in Spain read emails between 10 a.m. and noon, while optimal send times in Egypt peak at 2 p.m.

To ease your daily work, you are hopefully using a CRM system that contains all your business contacts including your mailing lists. This guarantees that your newsletter system isn’t a stand-alone solution and your data is updated regularly. For example, if you are using Dynamics 365 as your CRM system and MailChimp as your newsletter tool, there are addons such as ProMailChimp to connect the email system with your CRM.

Hence, you would do this segmentation in your CRM system and have the data for your mailing up-to-date every time you need it.

Time zone management with your email marketing tool

If you don’t want to segment your subscribers into lists depending on their location, there are features in email marketing software that can help through your time zone struggles.
Although segmentation by location is not such a big deal in a decent CRM anymore (in Dynamics 365 you could do it with dynamic marketing lists), companies looking to reach subscribers in various time zones still want to send out international emails without having various marketing lists to deal with.
Many email marketing tools such as MailChimp offer features that allow you to send your email at the same local time for each subscriber. For example, when you’re setting your campaign to go out at 9 a.m., MailChimp would delay sending it to anyone until it’s 9 a.m. in their time zone.

Coming back to the CRM system – if you choose a new CRM system and/or email marketing tool, take a closer look if the time zone management functionality (ProMailChimp calls it Timewarp) is also supported by the CRM system. Addons such as ProMailChimp support the Timewarp functionality of Mailchimp and make it possible to send those international emails directly from your CRM.

Send time zone friendly mails

No matter if your using segments to address your international audience or if you are using a time management tool, the key factor for successful email marketing is simple: Be sure that your message is relevant to your audience.

Being relevant is especially important when sending time-sensitive campaigns. If timing is very important in your message, for example by using phrases in your campaigns like “Today only” or “Sale ends at midnight”, it’s even more important to check sending at the correct time. Wouldn’t you be angry if you get an email announcing that “Sale ends at midnight” at 11:00 p.m.?

That’s why time zone challenges are also very important for events or webinars.

Here are three things to remember when sending emails that contain dates and times:

1. Make Your Email Relevant To All Your International Subscribers
You always have to ask yourself if your offers really are interesting for an international audience? Do you offer different times for webinars, so that everyone can attend, no matter in which time zone they live?

2. Let them know which time zone you’re referring to
If your sending out an invitation for a webinar, it’s important to let your subscribers know what time zone you’re referring to. In many countries there are daylight saving times, so think about them too!

3. Let subscribers view times in their local time zone
Stating the time zone you’re referring to allows subscribers to convert to their local time zone. Offering a link to a time zone converter, like Time and Date eases the work for your audience.

International subscribers will be thankful for getting that extra attention – and it may help your business to grow!

Interested? Get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you!

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