Put Your Newsletter In The (Time) Zone

Time ZonesOne of the challenges that we all face as email publishers is getting subscribers to open our messages and take action.

Many factors influence whether they do this or not.

One that I frequently see people discussing and testing is the time of day that messages are sent.

How can we do this, considering that subscribers come from all over the world, and their schedules are scattered across the day?

The Best Part of Waking Up…

Lately, many people have reported that sending a message early in the morning gets the best result. (an aside: as always, test this on your own. Your subscribers may prefer a different time.)

Of course, there’s a problem with this: 8:00AM in New York is 1:00PM in London. And 3:00PM in Johannesburg. Got subscribers in Sydney? Forget the morning because it’s 11:00PM – those guys are already turning in for the night!

Sure, you could just assume that with so many people sending email from the USA, they’re just used to it by now.

Or, you could take advantage of AWeber’s geographic targeting to send them the message in their local time.

I Can DO That?

Sure! Consider:

  • You can use views to segment your list and send unique broadcasts to different groups of subscribers.
  • Since AWeber automatically captures subscribers’ geographic information when they opt in through a form or by emailing your autoresponder, you can create views based on location.
  • You can schedule broadcasts in advance for different times of day.

So, you can send out broadcasts to your subscribers, and use views to deliver the message to people at the same local time.

Break Your List Down By Time Zone

To do this, you’ll use the coordinates for the lines of longitude (meridians) for the appropriate regions/time zones.

Specify an area/time zone by doing a two-part search:

  • Longitude (from IP) is greater than or equal to __________
  • Longitude (from IP) is less than or equal to __________

For example, to get subscribers who are on Eastern Time, do the following search…

Eastern Time Longitude Search

This will return subscribers who are connecting to the Internet from locations that follow Eastern time.

Save the view…

Name and Save Your View

Choose that view while setting up your broadcast…

Select Your View

…and set the appropriate time for the message to be sent:

Schedule Your Broadcast

This will deliver your broadcast to your Pacific Time subscribers at 8:00AM local time (since Pacific time is 3 hours behind Eastern time).

Using Meridians To Estimate Time Zones

Meridians are generally 15 degrees apart.

Time zones don’t run perfectly north-south with the meridians, so you may have some subscribers who see your message up to an hour earlier or later according to their local time than people who are not located far away as the bird flies. Please bear in mind that the regions listed are approximate.

Here’s a breakdown of some major time zones by longitude to help guide you. I’ve provided the differences from UTC and from Eastern Time (ET). Your broadcast times are scheduled by ET so base your send times on the difference from ET.

You can get a complete set of timezones/meridians at the CIA Factbook.

Region Difference from UTC Difference from ET Min. Longitude Max. Longitude
USA (Indiana to the East Coast) -5 hours 0 -82.5 -67.5
USA (Illinois to Kansas) and Central America -6 -1 -97.5 -82.5
USA (Colorado to Utah) -7 -2 -112.5 -97.5
USA (Nevada to the West Coast) -8 -3 -127.5 -112.5
United Kingdom 0 +5 -7.5 7.5
Western Europe (Spain to Poland) +1 +6 -7.5 22.5
Eastern Europe, South Africa +2 +7 22.5 37.5
Eastern Australia (Sydney, Melbourne) +10 +15 142.5 157.5
Western Australia (Perth) +8 +13 112.5 127.5
India +5.5 +10.5 67.5 90.0

Copy/paste the appropriate longitudes from the above table when creating your views, then set up and queue broadcasts for the appropriate times.

A Couple Things To Remember

  • Don’t bother creating views for every time zone. That’s 24 broadcasts where you’d normally have one. Are you really going to get anything positive out of spending the time to set up a unique broadcast for your subscribers in the Aleutians? Focus in on your biggest, most important segments.
  • You’ll need to remember to send a broadcast to the rest of your list too (the ones you aren’t targeting by time zone). Use a view, or the Suppression File feature, to make sure you don’t send duplicate copies to any subscribers.

Use this tactic to reach more subscribers at the times when they are most responsive, increasing your opens, clickthroughs and sales!