Did you know that 97% of Americans own a cell phone?
And that 66% of Americans check their phones 160 times a day?
If you take into account 8 hours of sleep (a generous estimate, I know), that would be an average of 10 times per hour.
So phones and texting are, obviously, here to stay.
And that’s why you’re looking into text messaging software. Because you know it could be a powerful tool for your business to really reach your customers, and you want to find out more.
What is text messaging software? What does it offer?
What should you look for?
Here are the answers.
You may wonder, “Why do I need text messaging software? Can’t I just use the texting option provided by my CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software) or ESP (Email Service Provider)?”
So what does text messaging software actually do that you can’t do on your own?
Texting software provides an easy way for you to manage your texting campaigns and contacts from a convenient online platform and mobile app.
This sets you up in the best possible position to send texts on a mass scale. That’s something you couldn’t do as easily with your CRM or, obviously, from your personal phone.
Text messaging software will allow you to send text blasts to dozens, hundreds, or thousands of recipients with the click of a button.
It allows you to monitor results of those text blasts.
It will also provide mechanisms for people to easily subscribe themselves to your text list (more on that later).
With text messaging software, no download is required to access the online platform. But if you want the convenience of a mobile app, you can do it that way as well.
So now that you have a brief overview of what exactly text messaging software is, what should you look for when searching through different services?
Who has time to waste learning complicated software? Your text messaging platform should make your life simpler, nor harder.
For example, let’s say Suzy wants to send texts for her business.
Her business’s ESP does have an SMS option. But after an hour or so of trying, she can’t seem to figure out a way to set up the simple SMS campaign she’s wanting to send.
She decides to give some text messaging software a try. She can’t believe that she’s able to send out a text message in less than 5 minutes of creating her account.
So find text messaging software that is intuitive and easy to use.
After all, an hour saved is an hour earned. (Or something like that…)
Note, however, that easy does not mean lacking in functionality.
You want something simple enough to get started in less than 5 minutes, yet robust enough that it can accomplish everything you’re wanting to accomplish.
Your list of texting contacts is like a kid.
As long as everything is healthy, that kid’s gonna grow. And grow. And grow.
That’s another reason why good text messaging software is vital – because it gives your “kid” room to grow.
A texting platform will allow you to keep growing and growing your list.
In business terms, you’ll have scalability.
You don’t want to be stuck in something that locks you in. So find something that will give you all the room for growth that you need.
What does that mean?
Essentially, it means looking for software that offers lots of flexibility and some automation so that you don’t have to micromanage everything.
Some flexibility options to look out for are discussed below.
OK, we’re about to lay out a whole list here of flexible options provided by text messaging software.
But, just getting real – we know lists of product features are usually boring.
With that caveat aside, here’s an exciting (well… it at least has emojis) list of ways that text messaging software gives you the most flexibility for pursuing your texting campaigns:
These and many more options make text messaging software the most flexible tool if you’re wanting to send mass texts.
Imagine the following phone conversation…
[Customer dials phone number and then hears automated voice]
“For account information, press ‘1.’”
“Please enter the first 5 digits of your account number.”
[Presses the first 5 digits of the account number.]
“We’re sorry. We are unable to locate your account. Please try again.”
[Presses the first 5 digits of the account number again.]
“We’re sorry. We are unable to locate your account. Please hold while I connect you with a representative.”
[Hears holding music for 40 minutes.]
Does that scenario sound familiar?
Unfortunately, it’s all-too-common. And it illustrates the need for convenient and quality customer support.
Because nobody wants to be on hold with support for 40 minutes!
You should look for text messaging software that comes with easily accessible support, so that you can get your questions answered quickly.
Some platforms (like Mobile Text Alerts) will have live chat support directly within your account so that you can get answers right away.
And if you’re someone who likes a little bit of help getting started on a new service, use text messaging software that will give you a one-on-one live walkthrough so that you can get all the help you need.
All of this theoretical talk about text messaging software is fine and dandy. But what does text messaging software actually look like? How does it work?
We’ll give you a quick tour of some of the core elements of Mobile Text Alerts, so you can see an example for yourself.
Upon logging in, you’ll see a Dashboard page that gives you some overall details about your account.
Some of the details that might display here would include:
The “Send a Message” page will allow you to:
You’ll also be able to include elements such as attachments, personalized names, and tracked links.
Sometimes your recipients will reply back to your texts.
From the Inbox page, you can view, manage, and respond back to those replies.
You need a way to manage all the contacts you’ll have in your texting database.
Text messaging software will give you a convenient place to view, edit, and organize all of your subscribers.
As mentioned before, text messaging software provides multiple mechanisms of adding subscribers to your texting database.
The “Opt-In Methods” section will allow you to manage some of those methods.
“Keywords” are particular words you can set up and tell people to text in. When they text in these keywords, their phone number will be automatically subscribed (and they’ll automatically receive a “welcome” text).
You can also get an automatically-generated QR code set up that folks can scan in order to sign up.
Another opt-in method you can manage is an online sign-up form. You can customize the form and copy the link to share with your potential subscribers.
(Or you can copy the HTML code and embed the form into your own website.)
After you’ve sent your texting campaigns, you’ll want to monitor them and see how they did.
(You’ll also just want a history of all the texts you’ve sent.)
A “sent messages report” will give you a list of your sent texts, and you’ll be able to click in to see delivery statuses for each recipient.
Now that you’ve seen inside text messaging software, let’s get an idea of how much something like this is going to run you.
Trying out text messaging software is free.
(Truly. You don’t even need a credit card.)
If you decide to move forward with a full account, here’s what you need to know:
Prices will vary widely depending on how many messages you’re looking to send and how large your audience is.
With Mobile Text Alerts, smaller businesses can pay as little as $19 per month billed annually, or $25 billed month-to-month. (That gives you access to 500 messages per month, which would probably work for you if you have less than, say, 200 subscribers to your messages.)
If you’re a slightly bigger operation (but still a “small business”), you may pay $26-$59 per month.
Once you get into sending 5,000 or more texts per month, the costs get slightly more significant at $110-$249 per month.
Larger businesses that are sending 20,000 messages or more per month will find costs starting at $349 per month (billed annually).
See a full list of plans below.
Since a trial is totally free, your best bet would be to get a free account.
You’ll be able to get started right away and get a feel for how text messaging software works.
(Any questions? You’re welcome to chat with one of our experts at your convenience and get all the help you need.)
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