Communicating important info to large groups of people can be as easy as…
…sending a text.
Whether you're a business owner, a marketer, or a non-profit worker, text announcements are an effective way to get your messages across quickly. (After all, by some reports 95% of texts are read within 5 minutes of receiving them).
Here we'll explore how to create effective text announcements, provide some best practices for using them, and offer tips for maximizing their impact.
A text announcement is a short message that is sent via SMS to a group of people. They are often used to share news, updates, time-sensitive promotions, or other important information with a specific audience. Text announcements can be sent to individuals or groups. They are typically sent via text alert systems or using SMS API.
Crafting an effective text announcement is key to ensuring that your message is received and acted upon. (Because, let’s face it—finding the right communication channels, tools, and processes is always a challenge. But texting is something everyone engages with consistently.)
And the great thing is that sending a text announcement is easy. All you have to do is to (1) make sure your contacts are loaded into a text alert platform, (2) select which contacts should receive your message, (3) type out your message and hit “Send.”
Here’s each of those steps laid out in Mobile Text Alerts’ SMS platform.
You first need to make sure that all the contacts you’re trying to reach are loaded into the texting platform.
If desired, you can organize your contact list into relevant groups so that you can make sure that only the relevant people receive your updates.
All that you need to do to import contacts is to get all of your contacts listed on a spreadsheet or CSV file.
It’s best if the phone numbers can all be listed under a column heading that says Number, first names can be listed under a column heading FirstName, and last names can be listed under a column heading LastName.
Once you have your spreadsheet all ready, you can drag and drop the file to import it directly into your online dashboard.
With your texting platform, you can simply tell people to send a text into the phone number that comes with your account.
Once they text your number, they'll be automatically added into your contact list.
Within your dashboard, you can create a scannable QR code. You’ll first create the QR code template, and then you can assign that template to a “keyword” on your account.
You can then download the QR code image file and can display that image to your audience. They’ll be able to scan the QR code in order to sign up for your texts.
Your text alert platform will also come with a free (customizable) web sign-up form. You can edit the form within your dashboard, and then you’ll be able to share the link for the form or embed the form on your website.
When people fill out their information on the online form, they will be automatically added into your text alert database.
Once you have your contacts loaded in, you can visit the “Send a Message” section of your platform in order to select the recipients for your message.
You can either select to send to all subscribers in your contact list, or you can select particular groups within your overall contact list, or you can select particular individuals.
All that you need to do next is type out your message and click “Send.”
You can include elements such as emojis or trackable links. You can also select whether you’d like the message to go out immediately or to be sent at a specific date and time.
After your text announcement has been created and sent, you can monitor your announcement in a few different ways.
(After all, you want to evaluate your texting efforts so that you can make them more effective.)
Your Sent Messages Report will show you:
This report will help you determine if there was anyone who didn’t receive your message, in case you need to reach out to those people again.
Your Inbox will show you all of the responses people send back in reply to your text announcement.
From here you can also respond back to any questions or comments you receive.
(Note: if you don’t have the capacity to monitor responses, you can set up an automated reply that says, “Replies are not monitored.” That way, people will know not to expect a response if they reply to your announcement.)
If you included a link in your text announcement, you can track who clicked on the link.
You’re able to see not only how many total clicks a link received, but who were the specific people who actually clicked.
Text announcements should be short and to the point.
Ideally, they should be no longer than 160 characters. This is because mobile carriers technically limit the length of text messages to 160 characters. If your message is longer than this, it may be split into multiple messages, which can be confusing for your audience.
(Although most smartphones are now “smart enough” to concatenate the split message into a single block, so most recipients won't actually notice the split message.)
Depending on your situation, your text announcement should usually be written in a way that encourages your audience to take action.
Use strong, actionable language that encourages your audience to do something, whether it's to visit a website, make a purchase, or attend an event.
Personalizing your message can make it more effective. Use your recipient's name or other relevant information to make the message feel more personal.
Your text alert platform will be able to automatically include each individual recipient’s name for you (as long as you have the name listed in the database).
Hi Jason! Your new benefits packet can now be viewed here: http://mbltxt.com/tf7
While text announcements can be effective, they can also be obnoxious if overused.
Use them sparingly and only when you have important information to share. Avoid sending text announcements too frequently, as this can annoy your audience and lead to them to tune out your messages (in which case sending them an announcement is useless).
Or worse, your recipients may unsubscribe from your messages.
Segmenting your recipients into different groups based on interests, behaviors, or demographics can help you to create more effective text announcements. By doing this, you can create more targeted messages that are more likely to resonate with your audience.
That way, you’re only sending relevant messages to people. And they will be more likely to pay attention to your messages if you’re careful to send content that actually pertains to them.
Text announcements are effective for time-sensitive information.
If you have information that needs to be communicated quickly, a text announcement is the best way to get the message out.
These types of announcements could include information about an upcoming event, a change in schedule, or a last-minute offer.
Flash sale! Huge savings for the next 1 hour ONLY. Check out what’s on sale here: http://mbltxt.com/tf5
While legal issues regarding sending texts have been eased up, you still want to abide by the (non-legal) mobile carrier regulations.
If the carrier regulations aren’t abided by, the mobile carriers may flag your messages as spam and prevent them from being delivered.
The main guidelines you should follow include obtaining consent from your audience before sending messages and allowing them to opt-out at any time. (You can view some more answers to compliance questions here.)
It’s recommended for the message sender to clearly state who they are at the beginning of each text.
Doing this will not only help bring clarity and remove confusion for your recipients, it will also help the mobile carriers know that your messages are not spam.
Annie’s Café: $1 off all coffee beverages today in honor of National Coffee Day! Don’t miss out - Stop on by and enjoy a fresh cup o’ joe.
If you’re able to anticipate the kinds of announcements you’ll need to send, you can set up message templates ahead of time.
These templates will give you a prefilled message, so that when you’re ready to send a text, you have most of the content typed out for you already. All you’ll need to do is fill in the template with the info that’s specific for your situation.
In some cases you can save time by fully automating your text announcements using a drip campaign feature.
Drip campaigns allow you to set up a string of text messages ahead of time, including delays between messages (for example, you can have a message go out and then have another message send out 2 days later).
You should make sure your messages don’t specifically mention anything related to S.H.A.F.T.
That stands for Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco.
Even innocent mentions of these topics can trigger spam filters for your messages. (If you have a legitimate use case to send messages related to these topics, contact an SMS representative and they can give you some guidance on the best way to move forward.)
If you have access to web developers, you should consider using SMS API to customize and automate your SMS efforts with other services you use.
API allows you to program your SMS messaging the way that you want it to be, so that you can automate processes to your liking.
Text announcements are an effective way to really reach your audience and make sure they actually see your message—which means they'll be more likely to take the action you're wanting them to take
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