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Email Marketing And Troubles With Timezones

I have the feeling that I will write another post very soon. Therefore, I keep this one extra short.

How many emails do you receive each day?

Let’s cut out spam and probably transactional emails like New Subscriber, New Comment, …

I’ll usually get up to 100 a day. However, there are still individual emails that I am looking forward to with great anticipation.

Last Sunday was such a day.

I got up knowing I should receive an important email. But nothing. Not at 9am, not at 10am, 11am, … It simply didn’t find its way into my inbox or the spam folder. It actually has not been sent before Monday as I learned later.

As insignificant as this episode might be, it taught me and other marketers with whom I have discussed this an important lesson.

I really felt disappointed; Actually already had made plans to deal with the subject matter. (I know. It was Sunday. So what.)

As I see now, strangely enough, it did not come to my mind to simply grab the phone, or write an email to the source saying,
“What’s up? Weren’t you supposed to send me something?”

Sure that would have been a smart thing to do. Probably I am not that smart. But I bet your customers or members of your email list aren’t that smart either. Let me rephrase that: Just do not assume that they are that smart or even care.

Here Comes The Lesson

That’s actually a dream come true for anybody who is going through the effort of building a permission based email list when your members can’t wait to get your next message.
“Where the heck is that email? Did my spam filter eat it?”

Don’t ever disappoint them.
Sometimes it is easy to forget the always-on, somebody is always awake nature of the Internet.

When you promise an email in the future, be aware:
  • The more this date is in the future, the earlier during the day—actually in the morning—the recipient will expect it. (If she is one of those who do remember.)

  • The more likely they assume the timezone they are living in, not yours.

I mean, when you are instructed, “Check your email inbox very carefully in three weeks on the 3rd …,” come on. You know it is scheduled; it could be sent automatically Saturday night. Nobody has to get up, go into an office that weekend night and press a button. We just assume the email will be there.

In this case it was kind of a timezone, and “Oh, surprise, ‘the third is a Sunday.’ Let’s send it on Monday” issue.

By the way: Many programmers confess that they don’t really dig timezone calculations. You’ll actually find timezone related bugs in a lot of software.

Chinese authorities have solved the issue with timezones rather authoritatively on a national scale by declaring the entire country as being part of one single timezone. The largest country with one time zone by the way. Russia has 11 timezones in comparison.

Some additional peculiarities about timezones

Because the earliest and the latest timezones are 26 hours apart each given day exists for 50 hours on the planet.

Weird, isn’t it?

January 3 began at midnight in Kiribati in the Pacific when it was January 2, 5am in New York and January 3 ended on Baker Island also in the Pacific at midnight 50 hours later when it was January 4, 7am already.

Still weird?

That also means when you are living, for example, in New York, you can find a place on Earth where it is already tomorrow; at the same time you can find another place where it is still yesterday. This is true 7 days a week, but only between 5am and 7am. :-)

Understood? So lets bring in day light savings time and the southern hemisphere, too …


P.S.: The email marketing service provider of my choice, AWeber, allows you to schedule your campaigns according to local timezones of your members. This is certainly very useful in some cases. If I am not mistaken, you can try out AWeber for just 1 dollar. Check out the details of the deal.


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This post was mentioned on Reddit by marvin566: Aha, you probably should think about timezones. When did you promise your email? Where does the recipient live? In what timezone? When will your email arrive at his local time. Seems to be important for some campaigns.

E-Biz Booster Blog on : Online Events in the USA 1 Hour Earlier

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Daylight savings time has started in the USA (↑) today. In Europe it will begin in two weeks, and it will end in Australia in three weeks. Especially if you are in Europe you could easily miss online events in the USA during the next two week


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