Using Send Windows for Exceptional Targeting: A Restaurant Example

The Autoresponder Send Windows feature can help increase the relevance of your emails – that sometimes hidden factor that ultimately determines how well your email marketing campaigns perform. However, you may be at a loss for just how you might employ send windows in your campaigns. Fortunately, with some creative thinking, we think every email marketer can come up with a use that will make a significant difference in their results. Let’s take a detailed look at an example of how send windows might be used to boost the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign.

The Autoresponder Send Windows feature can help increase the relevance of your emails – that sometimes hidden factor that ultimately determines how well your email marketing campaigns perform.


However, you may be at a loss for just how you might employ send windows in your campaigns.

Fortunately, with some creative thinking, we think every email marketer can come up with a use that will make a significant difference in their results.

Let’s take a detailed look at an example of how send windows might be used to boost the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign.

How a Restaurant Might Use Send Windows

The owner of a restaurant wants to send a series of autoresponder messages to all new email subscribers to advertise regular events and promotions. They can use send windows to help ensure they reach the subscriber in their inbox when they are most relevant and likely to provoke a response.

Here is what this autoresponder sequence might look like:

Note: If you’re unfamiliar with Autoresponder Send Windows and how they work, you may want to learn a bit about them before reading further.

  1. Message 1 – Welcome Message

    Every autoresponder sequence should have a welcome message.

    In this case, our restaurant may want to provide some basic information about their restaurant (e.g. link to menu, directions) and set some expectations about what the subscriber will receive later.

    Note: This message has no send window, since it is always sent immediately after someone subscribes.

  2. Message 2 – Mornings, Monday through Friday: Buy a breakfast sandwich and receive a free coffee


    To promote a work week, on-the-go breakfast special, we probably want to catch our subscribers early in the day, the first time they check their email.

    By setting a send window covering Monday through Friday, from 6:00AM to 9:00AM, perhaps we can hit them when they could really use some breakfast and a coffee.

  3. Message 3 – Sunday through Thursday: Buy one dinner, get a second dinner at half the menu price


    Sunday and weekday dinners are often relatively slow at restaurants, so our restaurant provides a price incentive to help fill tables.

    By setting a send window covering Sunday through Thursday, from 6:00AM to 3:00PM, we can send messages advertising a discount that arrives in the inbox when subscribers are looking to solve their dinner plans for the week.

  4. Message 4 – Wednesday Dinners: Free dessert on a bill of $25 or more


    We send each subscriber a message giving them something for their sweet tooth to look forward to, with our send window for this message set to Wednesday, again from 6:00AM to 3:00PM.

  5. Message 5 – Thursday Lunches: 20% off entire lunch bill when business card presented with check


    Our restaurant has a large banquet room with a TV that has video inputs perfect for laptop slideshows. We send a message with a send window set for Thursday between 6:00AM and 12:00PM, to target subscribers when they might be thinking of planning their next lunch meeting.

See Them in Action

The calendar below shows an example of a subscriber who (conveniently) signs up on the first of the month for the campaign described above.

Toggle on and off send windows, hovering over the green highlighted calendar dates to observe how they affect this sequence of autoresponders.

Su M Tu W Th F Sa
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            
Message Interval Description



Notice that with send windows off, we don’t accomplish what we set out to do with our message campaign – target our subscribers when each message is most relevant to them.

Only with send windows on do we deliver these messages to all new subscribers when they are most likely to bring them into our restaurant as patrons.

Send Windows Aren’t For Restaurants Only!

Of course, the benefits of targeting subscribers during specific windows of time are not unique to restaurants, and we’ll highlight some other examples we’ve developed in future blog posts.

For the meantime, we might all benefit from some real examples from real businesses like yours. Have you setup your send windows, or do you have any ideas about how your industry might use them you’d like to share?

For more information on email marketing for restaurants, view our complete Email Marketing for Restaurants Guide.

17 Comments

  1. Codrut Turcanu

    7/7/2009 8:41 am

    that’s a truly great idea and case study 🙂

    I didn’t try this AWEBER option yet as I still have to get analytics and will do so ASAP, but I’d suggest you create a blog post, special report or whatever (I’ll be willing to pay for it!) that details the best days and hours to send e-mails.

    From my testings specific days and hours tend to work 2x, 3x and even 5x times better than the others.

    Thank you.

  2. H. Court Young

    7/7/2009 8:52 am

    Thank you for some very good tips. Send windows is a very thought provoking concept.

  3. Joe Marquet

    7/7/2009 8:55 am

    Thanks once again for making your service so easy to use even for a non-techie. I highly recomend AWeber to anyone looking for an outstanding autoresponder service.

  4. Denis Bromell

    7/7/2009 8:57 am

    Hi a very good demonstration of getting the best out of your email campaign, I cant wait to put it into practice.

  5. Ako Tarallo

    7/7/2009 4:26 pm

    This is just I was looking for. Thank you

  6. Mark Sullivan

    7/9/2009 11:16 am

    The 20% off for showing your business card is a nice tip for those of us with local business clients who setup sites and optin campaigns. This applies to many industries besides restaurants.

    You guys keep upping the bar for autoresponder features. You make it easy to stick around.

    Thank you for this Send Windows feature.

  7. Paul Coughlin

    7/9/2009 12:03 pm

    Great idea – thanks for creating these extra tools that increase results..

  8. A

    7/9/2009 3:07 pm

    Great stuff. I always trusted aweber as being one of the best autoresponders "alive" today. 🙂

  9. Courtenay Pitcher

    7/14/2009 9:59 pm

    I like the send windows option, because we find that most people like to get our email on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

    One note to know though, is if you also check the ‘send using the subscriber’s time’ and the subscriber neglects to open their email at that time, then the message doesn’t go. This can be detrimental if you’ve set the message to send during a narrow window, only once per week for example, and the subscriber doesn’t check emails on that day. So use that other option carefully.

    All in all though, I love Aweber. The support, training and blog rock!

  10. Marc Kline

    7/16/2009 8:58 am

    @Courtenay,

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say "the message doesn’t go" if the subscriber neglects to open their email at the time the send window is set for.

    Could you clarify on that a bit? Maybe I can help.

  11. Rudolf

    7/16/2009 12:34 pm

    It’s great that aweber searches for innovative ways to communicate with subscribers, but what I would like to see is that international support is imporved. We still don’t have options to set the date to European standards and the unsubscribe message inserted automatically by Aweber cannot be translated into other languages.
    I really would like to see some improvement in that direction.

    Thank you in any case.

  12. Justin Premick

    7/16/2009 1:01 pm

    Rudolf,

    Actually, you can personalize your emails with a European-style date using either of these variables:

    {!date es+0} = European style with a slash, i.e. 16/7/2009
    {!date ed+0} = European style with a dash, i.e. 16-7-2009

    More on what you can personalize in your emails

    Re: translating AWeber into other languages – fully supporting multiple languages is more complex than just translating unsubscribe message text.

    We do plan to support more languages in the future, but when we do it, we’re going to make sure we do it right, and that takes time. I’m unsure when it will happen, but it is on our radar.

  13. Al Stewart

    3/25/2011 3:34 pm

    Is there any way for autoresponder messages to be sent at the same time of day that the visitor opted in?

    It seems that if somebody is motivated at 3 am to sign up for my list, that 3 am might just be the best time for him to receive my messages.

    More of a motivation window than a time window.

  14. Tom Kulzer (AWeber CEO)

    3/25/2011 4:05 pm

    Al,

    Yes, If you don’t use send windows the system will send each subsequent follow up at the time they originally opted in by default.

  15. Dawn

    4/19/2011 11:05 pm

    Is there a way to create follow up messages and save them for now and have them start sending at a later time. For instance, I create some follow up messages that link to our website for the info contained in the f/u email…my web guy uses the f/u email template for the webpage and so there is a lapse in time from when I create the f/u email until my web guy gets it up on the web. I’d love to create the f/u email and be able to tell it when to start sending it in the sequence of f/u messages.

    I know it sends immediately to people that have received all the f/u emails to date. I’m trying setting the send sequence at 999 days until I know my web guy is good to go on his end with the page.

  16. Amanda Gagnon

    4/20/2011 8:16 am

    Dawn ~ It sounds like you may want to create those messages as broadcasts. Then you can just send them when the web page is ready.

    If you do need to send them as follow ups, just create them in a separate list, and when the web page is ready, copy the “source” version over to a follow up in the list you’re sending to.

  17. Golda Smith

    7/20/2011 10:07 am

    This is absolutely fabulous! I just learned something totally new…send window. I always wondered about when people would receive my emails if they opted in at 1am. Now I can go and adjust it to when I want them to receive it. So glad I read this article today. Thank you.