Need to send an SMS to hundreds or even thousands of contacts simultaneously, but not sure where to start? Read our guide on text message blasts below, including how businesses use them and how to send them yourself using Messente. You’ll also learn about SMS best practices and important messaging principles when sending your campaigns.
What are text message blasts?
Text message blasts are also known as bulk SMS marketing or mass texting. It refers to an SMS message sent from a single device to a large number of recipients all at the same time. The text is sent via an SMS messaging provider - which acts as an intermediary between a business and mobile network operators.
Why send text message blasts?
A text blast is often the fastest, most reliable and most straightforward way to reach an entire customer base or specific customer groups for businesses. In doing so, text message blasts help increase brand awareness and customer engagement, and boost sales.
The beauty of SMS is that it’s an accessible channel for most people. 4.88 billion people worldwide currently use a mobile phone with text messaging capabilities, and this figure is only set to grow in the next few years.
But in addition to accessibility, SMS also grabs attention. Unless mobile users have notifications switched off, an SMS presents itself as a flash notification on a smartphone’s home screen. Most mobile users, 98% of them, in fact, go on to open a text message. If that isn’t impressive enough, you should know that SMS also has a 45% response rate.
It’s no surprise then that SMS was used heavily during U.S. President Joe Biden’s election campaign back in 2020. Read how it was used to inform subscribers about the campaign, to provide information about voting and how it helped boost organic reach on other channels.
How businesses use text message blasts
Text message blasts are used frequently in a range of industries and for a variety of reasons. Take a look at these examples below:
Retail and e-commerce - for delivering discounts, special offers, loyalty programmes, review requests, abandoned cart alerts and promoting new products. They’re also used for sending automated transactional messages like order confirmations, delivery updates and refund confirmations.
Public and private healthcare - a common use is for sending out appointment and prescription reminders to patients using dentist, doctors and hospital services. It’s also used for promotions in some settings, such as advertising cosmetic or orthodontic treatments.
Entertainment - bars, restaurants, cinemas and bowling alleys use text message blasts to promote time-sensitive deals or update customers on new activities. Examples include two-for-one dining experiences, free cinema tickets, new restaurant menus and discounted bowling.
Property sales and lettings - for advertising new property listings and transactional messages like viewing confirmations and seller status updates.
Emergency alerts - public and private firms use text message blasts to deliver urgent emergency-related information, like weather and flood warnings or anything that might affect a person’s ability to travel to work.
How you can send text message blasts
To send text message blasts, you need a database of phone numbers and an SMS sending service with bulk messaging capability. Messente is one such service. Follow the steps below to get started quickly.
1. Sign up to Messente
The first step is to create a Messente account and apply for a sender ID. This can be your own phone number (quickest option), a short code number or a brand name. You’ll be prompted to apply for a sender ID when you log into your account for the first time. There’s no charge to create an account. You’ll only pay when you want to send a text message blast.
2. Collect SMS subscribers
You might already have a database of phone numbers that you want to text, in which case you can upload them to Messente’s systems through the main dashboard. But if you don’t have this in place, you can use Messente’s Phonebook API to start collecting phone numbers. The API enables you to set up a dedicated landing page with a data capture form.
3. Create groups (if needed)
Depending on whether you want to send text message blasts to your entire database, or selected contacts, you can split your list into separate groups. You might have a different messaging strategy for new customers compared to VIPs, for instance. You can create groups and upload contacts to them in the Phonebook section of the Messente dashboard.
4. Create your text message blast campaign
Finally, all that’s left to do is create your campaign and send it. Head over to the Messaging tab to compose your text. Select either the specific groups you want to target or your entire database, then type your content into the message box.
You can personalise your text by using the customer’s first name, company name, or other personal information you’ve collected. Click on Preview to view your message before sending it. You’ll then see the total cost of your text message blast. Click Send or Schedule for Later, and you’re done!
SMS best practices and regulations
If you’re sending out text message blasts for marketing purposes, there are some messaging regulations and guidelines to be aware of, which aim to protect consumers from text message spam.
For recipients who live in the United States, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) applies, along with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) messaging principles. SMS rules also apply in other countries - the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive covers the UK and Europe, for instance.
These regulations and guidelines set out a list of best practices you should adhere to when sending text message blasts. You’ll want to read them in detail, but as a very brief summary, you should:
Get express written permission to send marketing text messages - this can be an opt-in box where customers electronically tick a checkbox to say they’re happy to receive marketing messages by text. Note that opt-out boxes, where the checkbox is preselected, is not allowed. You must keep a record of consent.
Never send text message blasts during ‘do not disturb’ hours - that is, before 8 am or after 9 pm, according to the recipient’s local timezone.
Be mindful of messaging frequency and relevance - you shouldn’t overwhelm your subscribers with content, as this will increase your opt-out rate and lead to complaints. Also, only send content that your subscribers have willingly signed up for, which will provide value to them.
Always include an opt-out - to give recipients the chance to unsubscribe if they no longer want to receive SMS marketing messages.
Further reading: Messente’s SMS Marketing Best Practices to Follow
Get started sending text message blasts
If your business would benefit from sending text message blasts, the good news is that you can get up and running fairly quickly once you’ve got your database of phone numbers and have obtained the required subscriber permissions.
Follow the steps outlined above to get started with Messente. Have more questions? Our friendly customer support team is happy to help. Get in touch today.