Even though SMS messaging is an old technology, it plays a vital role in modern-day communications. According to SellCell, people from all around the world send 23 billion text messages each day. That's a mind-boggling 8.4 trillion messages per year! And, data from Statista shows that almost 40 billion SMS and MMS messages were exchanged in the UK alone last year.

Despite our wide choice of communication channels, text messages are still popular because they're sent and received almost instantly. SMS is transmitted over cell networks and can easily reach people who aren't connected to the internet at that moment. Texts are also short and sweet – easy to deal with on the go, unlike emails or phone calls.

SMS is a good option for event invitations as you have a high chance of your message being delivered, read and responded to. Discover how to send text message invitations below.

What is a text message invitation?

A text message invitation is an event invite sent via SMS message. It can be for any event – a birthday party, graduation party, office meeting, networking session, etc. There are three options for constructing your text message invite:

1. Add the invite to the text message body

You only have 160 characters to fit your invitation into a single text message, so your invite copy must be short and crisp. It should also be attention-grabbing to catch and hold your recipients' attention. The tone of the invitation can be casual or formal, depending on the event type – but the SMS copy must be compelling to evoke a response.

2. Attach a digital invite as an image

Create a digital poster using software like Canva or Adobe Illustrator for a more eye-catching invitation. Save as an image file (jpg or png) and attach it to your text message. This will convert your SMS to MMS – crucial to know if you have a large group of people to invite, as MMS messages are much more expensive than regular SMS.

3. Include a digital invite as a link

Create an invitation design as described above and store it in the cloud, for example, on Dropbox or Google Drive. You'll then be able to access a link to the file. Use a URL shortening app to shorten the link, then copy and paste it into the body of your text message. This is a good option if your invitation can't be fully detailed in the standard SMS character limit.

Text message delivery options

Once you've created your text message invite, decide whether you want to message each guest individually with tailored content or if it's better to send the invite to an entire group as a mass text. The first option is easy to manage with your mobile phone's native SMS messaging app (although it can be time-consuming).

The latter option isn't feasible if you have an extensive list of guests because Android and Apple's SMS apps limit the number of people you can add to a group or forward a message to. And, if you have a smartphone, your invite may convert from SMS to RCS messaging, which relies on WiFi for transmission.

Why choose text message invitations over other channels?

Traditionally, invites are sent out via post or email, but these channels have certain downsides for this type of communication. With mail, it's a hassle – you need to get your invites printed, seal them in envelopes, write addresses on them and take to the post box or post office. Mail can be costly to post, and it's notorious for getting lost en route. Plus, delivery times can be hit and miss depending on the time of year or recipients' location. (It would be a faux pas if your invites were delivered post-event!)

What about email invitations? Well, your recipients might not regularly check their email inboxes or the invites might get lost between countless other emails. Because email is a saturated channel, your recipient might have muted email notifications so as not to get bombarded with popups and pinging sounds.

SMS messages have excellent open and response rates, so your invitation is unlikely to be ignored. And texts are highly convenient for most recipients. They can scan the invite and respond immediately by firing a text back. So people can quickly RSVP, give them an easy reply option – ask them to reply Y if they're attending or N if they can't make it.

Example text message invitation for a birthday party

How to send a text message invite

There are two ways to send text invitations: either via the native SMS messaging app built into your phone or by using a professional text message service.

Send invites via your built-in SMS messaging app

Sending invitations via your SMS app is simple. With Google Messages (the primary SMS Android app), you'd open up the app, tap on 'Start chat' and select the contacts you want to send the invite to. Or type phone numbers in the 'To:' field at the top of the screen. Then, you can type out your invitation copy and add a link to a digital invite. Or attach the invite as an image (MMS). Finally, tap the arrow icon in the text box to send.

Remember, traditional SMS apps can't handle bulk messaging adequately. You can create a group for up to 100 people using Google Messages and send your invite to that group – but you wouldn't be able to personalise the invitation for every individual. You can forward your text invite and manually change the copy so it's tailored to each recipient, but that could take ages. Also, this could be costly if your mobile phone plan doesn't include an SMS bundle.

Use a professional SMS service

A professional mass texting app gives you extra features and benefits, making text message invitations straightforward and fast. Here's how the process would work if you use Messente.

  1. Sign up for a Messente account and add credits to your balance to start sending text message invitations.

  2. Ensure you enable two-way SMS so recipients can reply to your invite by text.

  3. Upload your address book or guest list using Messente's user-friendly 'Phonebook' feature (you can import a spreadsheet file) or add guests manually.

  4. Create your SMS invitation within the 'Compose Message' box in the 'Messaging' section. Here's an example text invitation for a team member's 10th work anniversary:

    Hi Dimitri, you're invited to lunch this Friday, 1pm-2.30pm, at Vibe Bar for Amber's 10th work anniversary! Are you in? RSVP today – reply Y or N.

    Taavi Rebane, Messente's Head of Marketing, shares some good advice for crafting the perfect text message invitation:

    "Take your time with the copy to make sure you get it right. If you need to convey several important details, don't try to condense them into 160 characters. Create an attractive digital invite and link to it in your text. Also, pick variables you want to personalise, such as your recipients' first name. If your event is really important and you're texting recipients on a large scale, create a couple of invitation templates and conduct A/B testing with a small group to see which performs best."

  5. Schedule the text for the ideal time and date you want it sent. Or send immediately if you prefer. And that's it!

ext invitations for businesses or individuals

SMS: a powerful channel for event invitations

For a convenient, quick and effective way to send invitations, consider using SMS. You won't have to get a leaflet printed, spend money on postage or waste time creating an email that may get missed. Text messages are impactful, direct, easy to digest and have excellent open and response rates. Individual guests can text back a reply in seconds, helping you to track RSVPs and manage your event logistics more smoothly.

If you want to send SMS invitations to a large audience (and personalise them for each recipient), choose a professional SMS provider like Messente. You'll benefit from advanced messaging tools, like guest list management, bulk texting, message preview and scheduling, easy customisation and helpful analytics.

Discover our mass texting service today.