What if your organization sent out a message that was read by nearly every single contact?
Email is still one of the most effective marketing channels at driving revenue, but the average open rate is only 22%. That means, 78% of your contacts didn't even open the email to read your message.
A recent report on mass text messaging revealed that the average open rate of text messages was 98%. That's a 76% advantage over email.
Not only are open rates extremely high for mass text messages, but 90% are read within three minutes. That's why organizations of all types have adopted mass text messaging to accomplish their goals. Employers, schools, churches, and political organizations send mass text messages to keep their contacts informed, generate engagement and develop relationships. Even sports teams use mass text messaging to keep their fans up-to-date with the score.
Mass Text Messaging: How To Send
The easiest and best way to send mass text messages is through services such as EZ Texting. Mass text services have significant advantages over other forms of mass marketing in that they are easy to use, provide quick returns, and are cost-effective.
You do not need any technical or design skills to send a Short Message Service (SMS) text message.
Here's how it works:
- Set up an account with a mass text messaging service. (Our setup usually takes 3 minutes.)
- Upload a list of opted-in contacts.
- Compose your message.
- Hit send.
Within minutes, your contacts will be reading your message wherever they are.
Tracking the Success of Your SMS Marketing
Once you send your message, the SMS software keeps you informed about delivery rates, open rates, and spikes in engagement. Using these analytics, you can fine-tune your text messages to create a greater impact when you send your next message.
Other software features enable you to save sent text messages as templates for use in the future and to schedule mass text messages in advance. Message scheduling lets you prepare your message at a time when it is most convenient for you and send it when it will receive the maximum attention.
Tools for Creating a Mass Text Messaging Database
Before you start sending mass text messages, you have to create a database of contacts who have given you permission to text them. You cannot simply buy a list of cell numbers and start sending people texts. You have to invite potential contacts to join your service. The easiest way to get people to subscribe is by using Keywords and short codes.
Keywords are simple words that you ask potential contacts to text to a short code number (5 or 6 digits). Here are examples of Keywords and short codes in action:
- A restaurant asks potential customers to "Text PIZZA to 313131 to receive a 10% discount coupon on your next order." "PIZZA" is the Keyword and "313131" is the short code.
- A faith-based organization asks its congregation to "Text CHURCH to 313131 to get updates on service times and announcements."
- A large employer encourages job seekers to "Text WORK to 313131 to see current openings and get alerts when new positions become available."
Your SMS service adds people to your contact list as they text your Keyword to the short code number. Keywords and short code numbers can be obtained from your mass text messaging service provider. Keywords are unique to each organization, so you cannot have three different restaurants using the same Keyword for the same promotion. Check out EZ Texting's Keyword and messaging plans.
Other tools for adding contacts include “click-to-join” widgets that can be placed on your website or Facebook page or tweeted to your followers. One effective way you can encourage website visitors and social media followers to “click and join” is by promising they will be the first to know of special offers or promotional events. Non-retail organizations usually do not have to offer incentives to encourage visitors to join a mass text messaging service.
Sending Mass Text Messages to GroupsAs your database grows, you will want to send messages to smaller groups of contacts rather than the entire contact list. If you send the same message to your entire database every time, you will likely have a lot of people opting out because too many of your messages are irrelevant to them. You are also paying for all the irrelevant text messages you send!
Fortunately, contacts can be divided into groups so that your contacts only receive messages which are relative to them. Groups may be segmented by the roles, interests, or location of your contacts. You can use different Keywords as you develop your database to establish segmented groups. Or, if you have an existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, you can integrate the mass text messaging software directly with the solution.
There are many scenarios in which you can use groups to send relevant mass text messages to target sections of your database. Retail businesses can take advantage of the software´s versatility to send different groups information about different types of promotions (electrical goods, sportswear, home and garden, etc.). Employers might want to send unique mass text messages to different organizations. Churches might send reminders about meetings for various ministries. Schools might send subject-related messages to different groups of students.
When you use the mass text messaging software to send messages to subgroups, you simply upload or select the sub-group of your database for whom the message is relevant. If you need to send the same message to every contact in your database, you select all groups. Safeguards exist to prevent an individual who may appear in multiple groups (for example a church volunteer who also attends Bible study classes and sings in the choir) from receiving the same message two or three times.
Practical Applications for Mass Text MessagingOnce you have developed your database of contacts and divided it into groups, there are multiple practical applications for mass text messaging. The following is just a selection of ways organizations use mass text messaging services.
Mass Text Messaging for Retail BusinessMany retail businesses send mass text messages to deliver coupons to repeat customers. Redemption rates for discount coupons attached to mass text messages are typically 8 times higher than those normally achieved by retail businesses that engage in mass email marketing.
Mass Text Messaging for EmployersIn addition to publicizing job opportunities, and automating job candidate communications, mass text messaging for employers is an effective way to maintain contact with workers who are on the field. The service is also an effective communications channel in times of emergency when data networks have been overloaded.
Mass Text Messaging for SchoolsMass text messaging for schools can be used to keep parents informed of school closures, send reports and permission slips, or keep them up-to-date on class curriculum. Students can also subscribe to a school mass text messaging service to receive reminders for club meetings and sports practices, or to learn about last-minute venue changes.
Mass Text Messaging for Political GroupsMass text messaging for political groups is an effective way for those organizations and their candidates to communicate their policies to voters. A mass text messaging service can also be used to coordinate political rallies, issue media responses or solicit donations. Many political parties send mass text messages on Election Day to “Get Out the Vote.”
Mass Text Messaging for ChurchesFaith-based organizations have identified many uses for mass text messaging. Community leaders can take advantage of the intimacy of mass text messaging for churches to request prayers and assistance for those in need, share inspirational Bible passages, and communicate with youth members of their congregations in a way they are comfortable with.
How Mass Texting can Generate Engagement and Develop RelationshipsMass text messaging software can be used for far more than sending plain text messages. Many of the software features have been developed to generate engagement and encourage feedback.
PollsOne of the simplest features to use is the poll builder. With this feature, you simply ask a question in your mass text messages and ask your contacts to express their opinions. Polls are not only a great way to increase engagement and brand awareness, but they allow organizations to stay in tune with their audiences' opinions and preferences.
Engaging QuestionsAsking entertaining or thought-provoking questions can often increase the size of your database. People tend to share media they consider to be of interest and, if your questions become the topic of discussions between families, friends, and colleagues, your mass text messages can attract many more people to your contact list.
Rich MediaAnother feature you can take advantage of to generate engagement and develop relationships is multimedia messaging service (MMS). Mass MMS messaging gives you the ability to increase the impact of your text message with the addition of images, audio, and video files. You can even substitute MMS files for the plain text message.
Special URLsWith business text messaging, you can integrate tiny URLs into your messages to direct contacts to your website or add QR codes to generate engagement.
The Rules and Regulations for Mass Messaging
In addition to being a strictly permission-based activity, mass messaging is subject to the rules and regulations contained in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. These rules and regulations for mass messaging are in place to prevent organizations from sending spam text messages.
You should also be familiar with the Mobile Marketing Association´s Code of Conduct - even if you have no intention of using mass messaging for marketing purposes. The “Code” has been prepared with assistance from companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Verizon to protect consumer privacy. It includes a best practices guide which was developed to prevent abuses of the communication channel and to avoid the introduction of more rules and regulations.
Organizations sending mass text messages should also be aware that telephone companies have their own rules and regulations for mass messaging. They will refuse to deliver any text messages that contain profanity, pornography, or hate speech or those that endorse illegal drug use or violence.
Just use common sense. If you send mass text messages to your database that contain material they are likely to find distasteful, or if you send mass text messages so often that they become annoying, your contact database will shrink quickly.
Speak with EZ Texting about Mass Text Messaging
If you would like to know more about mass text messaging, call us at 800-753-5372. Our friendly and experienced team will answer any questions you have. We'd be glad to provide advice to help you maximize the size of your database, generate engagement, and build relationships.
Thousands of businesses use mass text messaging as a mobile marketing solution. Thousands more use mass text messaging to streamline their communications and benefit their communities. Find out how you can join them by contacting us today.