Web 2.0

Sending bulk text messages 101

I had a client who wanted some  basic info on text messaging. I thought others might find this helpful as well…

I recently read a statistic that said that people read 100 percent of the text messages they receive. That’s pretty good. So how can you start sending text messages (aka SMS) to your customers:

  • Find a tool to manage your contacts and messages
  • They will give you a “short code,” which is like an abbreviated phone number
  • You will ask your customers to opt into receiving messages by texting a keyword (such as discounts or MN-discounts if you had several branches and wanted to segment your contacts) to the short code.
  • Once you have their cell phone number you can add them to your contact list
  • You can send text messages through the tool to your contacts. You can queue these messages in advance.

Along with sending out bulk text messages, most texting tools will also allow you to:

  • Set up polls (like American Idol – text “Contestant1” to the shortcode number)
  • Contests
  • Auto-responders (customers text a keyword to your shortcode (such as holidayhours) a reply is automatically sent back providing an answer)

Here are a couple of SMS services, each has a free trial option:

  • Tatango http://www.tatango.com – starts at $24/month based on number of contacts
  • EZ Texting http://www.eztexting.com/ – starts at $29/month based on usage and number of keywords (has a pay as you go option)
  • Mobo Mix http://mobomix.com – start at $50/month – pay as you go from $.03 per message (1 message to 10 numbers equals $.30)

(I have simply selected a few examples. I haven’t used them and I don’t know that they are the best.)

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