Mass text messaging has helped businesses across the country and in a variety of industries engage with their contacts in a quick, easy, and low-cost way. Texting is already a part of life for your contacts, and the following statistics show why it’s so effective as a marketing tool:
- Texts have a 98% open rate
- They boast a 45% response rate
- 33% of adults prefer texting to all other communications tools
The writing (or texts, for that matter) is on the wall. Your contacts love texting, it’s a big part of their life, and they love engaging with it.
EZ Texting works for every budget – check out our different pricing plans!
Also called bulk texting, it’s used in almost every area of day-to-day life. Employers, schools, churches, and political parties send mass text messages to keep their contacts informed, generate engagement, and strengthen relationships. Even sports teams use mass text messaging to send out game-day traffic information and score updates.
How to Send Mass Text Messages
The easiest way to send mass text messages is through a solutions provider who can reach smart phones and cell phones (the former is more app-based). These services have significant advantages over messaging apps and other forms of mass marketing; they are simple to use, have friendly pricing options, and offer a variety of features. Companies such as EZ Texting can reach both sets of contacts. Another reason text marketing is effective is that most users have their phones in-hand or otherwise close by. This means you don’t have to rely on contacts and potential customers remembering your ad on TV or on the radio. Being able to reach them on their mobile devices makes everything more reliable.
Furthermore, you do not need any technical or design skills to send an SMS text message (the texts you send among friends and family every day). Once you have subscribed to a bulk texting service, you simply log into your account, upload your contacts, compose your message, and click send. Within minutes, your database of contacts will be receiving and reading your message wherever they are, whatever they are doing. This makes it more effective than TV or radio ads, which require contacts to actively be listening at the time it airs.
Mass Text Message Reporting Tools
What good are all these texting capabilities if you don’t know whether something is working or not? Once your message has been sent, EZ Texting keeps you informed of delivery rates, open rates, and spikes in engagement. Use these analytics to fine-tune your messaging to boost their impact on the bottom line. Other features enable you to save sent text messages as templates for use in the future, and to schedule mass text messages in advance so that you can prepare them at your convenience, but schedule their delivery in advance.
Any replies to your messages are received by your service provider and can either be viewed via the online application or forwarded to your personal mobile device via SMS. For most organizations, the former option can be accessed from any Internet-connected device. However, if you find yourself in an area with poor connectivity, the SMS-forwarding option can keep you connected to the needs of your contacts.
Tools for Creating a Mass Text Messaging Database
Before you start sending mass text messages, you have to create a database of contacts who’ve previously given you express permission to text them. Simply having their contact info or their past purchasing history with you do not qualify as consent.
Further, you cannot simply buy a list of cellphone numbers and start sending people texts. You have to invite potential contacts to join your service, and the easiest way to do this is by using keywords and short codes - a practice you have probably seen a thousand times before without necessarily recognizing its motives. And to entice contacts to say join your lists, try giving them a special offer.
Keywords are simple words (the simpler the better) that you ask potential contacts to text to a dedicated short code number. Typical uses of keywords and short code tools include:
- A diner asking potential customers to “Text PIZZA to 313131 to get 10% off your next meal and receive future promos!”
- A faith-based organization might seek to gain new members by advertising the message: “Text NEWBELIEVER to 797979 to get future details about our programs.”
- A large employer advertising: “Text WORK to 313131 to get details on all our latest vacancies.”
EZ Texting will auto-sort all your new contacts based on the keywords and short codes they use. While short code numbers are shared by multiple business, keywords are what ensure that all text message responses end up in the correct mailbox. Every pricing plan on EZ Texting comes with one or more keywords, and you can also search for and purchase new ones.
Keywords are rented by the month, so if one isn’t performing you’re not stuck with it.
Other tools for creating a database include “click-to-join” simple sign-up widgets that can be placed on your website, placed on your 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 Bulk Texts to Sub-Groups
As your contacts database develops, you’ll probably quickly realize that not every text you want to send should be sent to all your contacts (i.e. if you own a pizza store, don’t advertise a new type of pepperoni to customers who responded to the VEGAN keyword!). You pay for every text you send out, so it makes sense to reach customers with an appropriate message that will deliver an ROI.
Fortunately, EZ Texting allows you to both manually and automatically sort contacts into sub-groups based on interest, purchase history, keywords use, etc. If your use of the 10PercentOff keyword nets you 500 new contacts, EZ’s interface will automatically sort them into their own group. If you manually upload 1,000 of your own contacts, you can manually sort them into customizable groups you create.
As a best practice, sort them into groups that will help you more quickly and efficiently market to them. With literally just the click of a button, you can add any number of groups (no matter how those groups were formed) to your send list. In just two minutes or less, you can draft your text message, select the groups you’d like to add, then click send.
For example, imagine you want to send a mass text message advertising a weekend-only promotion to 9 groups for a total of 2,000 contacts. Draft copy along the lines of “Get 20% off any purchase at the Main Street Mall, this weekend only! Use code PROMO20.” You may want to select groups whose preferences, interests, and purchasing patterns would be reflected in the stores at the mall. While every text you send costs as little as a few pennies, you still want to get your ROI, so avoid sending it to groups who are unlikely to become customers.
You can even use your texts as a template for future marketing. Do you plan on holding that same promotion at different times of the year, such as Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, etc. EZ’s mass texting service enables you to create a recurring text that is sent out at scheduled intervals you select. Like any other message, create the copy, select your groups, then at the bottom of the interface, there is a recurring message button. Your message will be sent out with the groups and delivery schedule you select.
One note: EZ Texting has a built-in feature that ensures a contact only receives a message once, even if they’re on multiple lists. If a member of a church is in a group for choir, as well as for youth activities, that contact will still only receive one message.
Practical Applications for Mass Text Messaging
Once you have developed your database of contacts and divided it into sub-groups, there are multiple practical applications for it. Check out how texting can generate results in a wide array of companies and organizations:
In addition to the features and advantages listed above, one of the retail industry’s most effective use cases is that of sending coupons: their redemption rate is 8x higher on text than in email mass marketing.
Restaurants + Hospitality
From handling spa reservations to dinner reservations, EZ Texting enables you to better message your customers, and with polling features, learn more about their interests and like. This helps you re-market to them in the future with their preferred foods, events, and services.
Health + Fitness
Gyms struggle to sell new memberships and missed appointments can be a kink in the neck for even the most patient of personal trainers. With EZ Texting, you can get new customers, confirm session times, and even learn more about what your members want from you.
EZ Texting can help brokers find new deals, assist realtors with advertising available properties, and even help property managers collect rent payments. You can even coordinate open houses and keep clients up-to-date with marketplace news.
Faith-based organizations can leverage text messages in a variety of ways. They can remind younger congregants about youth group events, touch based with choir members about practice times, invite all members to big events, and even send out verses and passages from their books of worship.
Mass texting is an effective way to reach workers – such as delivery drivers or on-site warehouse workers - who may be out of range of Internet connectivity. Texting is also an effective communications channel in times of emergency when data networks historically become overloaded. You can also leverage texting to fill job requisitions and manage applications.
Schools + Universities
Text services can help schools keep parents informed of closures, send out reports and permission slips, or keep them up-to-date on the curriculum being taught to their children. Students can also opt-in to receive reminders for club meetings and sports practices, or to be advised about last-minute venue changes.
Nonprofits + Political Parties
Political groups and nonprofit organizations should make texting a cornerstone of their outreach efforts. They can use it to coordinate rallies and events, issue media responses, learn more about contacts’ opinions on issues, or solicit donations. Nearly all groups use bulk texting to encourage voting on election days.
How Mass Texting Can Generate Engagement and Develop Relationships
Bulk texting goes beyond sending messages; EZ Texting’s platform was built to generate engagement and encourage feedback from contacts about their interests, preferences, and what they want from you. Once you build brand engagement and solidify a relationship with your customers, they are more likely to choose your over competitors.
The Value of Surveying Customers
One of the most effective use cases is simply asking customers more about what they like. For example, you can ask “What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Text chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry to 313131.” You can use this information to create groups of customers while also guiding how much you stock of each flavor.
Another best practice is to ask an entertaining or thought-provoking question. This encourages prospects to text in, thereby growing your database. Also, people tend to share media they find interesting, and by sharing it or having it “go viral,” your customers end up becoming your best marketers. This also reduces the amount of texts you have to send out!
Another form of text message is an MMS. While a standard, text-only message is known as an SMS (short message service), MMS (multimedia messaging service) allows you to attach files such as photos or short videos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then maybe an MMS is worth a thousand texts? The advantage to an MMS is that they deliver greater impact, which leads to greater engagement. Case in point: what would get customers more excited about pizza? Telling them about it, or showing them a pie baked fresh from the oven? You can also integrate links into your images, which makes your MMS even more interactive.
The Rules and Regulations for Mass Texting
Sending mass text messages is a permission-based activity, meaning all contacts have to first opt-in before you can text them. Simply possessing their contact info or a purchase history with you does not qualify as an opt-in. Bulk texting is subject to the rules and regulations contained in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. These are in place to prevent organizations from sending spam messages, texting too frequently, or texting irrelevant messages.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association has a list of best practices that users should follow in order to stay compliant, avoid being labeled a spammer, and build strong relationships with contacts. You can check out their guide here.
Organizations sending mass text messages should also be aware that their activities are monitored by their telephone company. Telephone companies have their own rules and regulations for mass messaging and will refuse to deliver any text messages that contain profanity, pornography, or hate speech - in either plain text or MMS format - or those that endorse illegal drug use or violence.
Complying with the rules and regulations is mostly common sense. If you text your database with inappropriate material, or text too often, you’ll quickly find that all those opt-ins you’ve worked so hard to get are deciding to opt-out.
Get Started with Mass Texting
This is might be a lot to take in, but our Client Success Managers are available to help you with any questions you still may have on mass texting services and how you can make EZ Texting’s online application work for you. Call them any time at (866) 676-2180!