A business or organization, or an individual for that matter, can get a text messaging account with most providers for free. Some companies may offer a small amount of credits to start to try it out. Once an account has been set up, a business or organization would ask people to opt in to their text messaging list. This is similar to an email list but instead of submitting an email to join the person would either reply to a text or, text a keyword to a short code, to join the list. This puts that person’s cell phone number on the list.
For example company XYZ may have an in store ad, an ad in the newspaper, TV, etc. that instructs people to “Text SALES to 000999 for our weekly specials”. In this case the word “SALES” is the keyword and 000999 is the short code. Once someone texts, “SALES” to 000999, their cell phone number is added to that store’s text messaging list. This is “Opting In” to a list. Any messages that are sent to subscribers on a list would include instructions to be able to unsubscribe at any time, any rates that may apply and a way for people to get help if needed.
A list can be built in many ways. It costs to add people to the text messaging list if they text in to join, normally around five cents, every time anyone opts into a list. Subscribers can be added manually as well. Sending messages to subscribers of the list is slightly cheaper and costs on average around four and a half cents per messages. There are two types of messages that can be sent, express and standard messages.
Express messages are send from a short code directly connected to the carriers that are supported by a particular company. Most companies should be supporting all the major carriers and it is a good idea to check what carriers are supported by a group texting company.
Standard messaging may be available through some texting companies. Standard messages are sent out through the Internet using SMTP Email and are not supported by the carriers. These messages can be trapped in spam filters so deliverability, most times fairly consistent, may be unpredictable.
If you are considering using text messaging for your business or organization then you should consider a company that offers most or all of the following.
- A try it free option that may include free credits to try it out.
- No contract to sign.
- Discounts for annual payments
- A pay as you go option. You may only use the service once in a while and since most plans that includes credits may not roll over to the next month. The pay as you go option allows to purchase the credits when you want to use them.
- Support all major carriers
- A shared short code that you use.
- Option to lease keywords monthly
- Sub keywords available
- Anytime credits that never expire.
- Express and standard messaging.
- Unlimited contacts and groups. You don’t want to be restricted with the amount of contacts you can add or the amount of groups you can divide your list into.
- Bulk discounts for pay and go accounts.
- Upgrade at no cost
- Human support.
If you are still not sure if text messaging is right for your business or organization, below are a few examples of what companies and organizations are using texting for.
- On Saturday night after shows let out, a Pizza shop texts their list with “Come in and show this text for half price slices, the next two hours only”.
- To increase sales a board shop texts it’s list just before a predicted snowfall, “Come in and show this text for 10% off all snow boards, today only”
- A church after hearing of a family that was burnt out in a fire texts it’s members, “Important emergency meeting tonight at 7 to help a family affected by a fire”
- A school wants to increase it’s participation at a curriculum night texts parent and guardians on it’s list, “Important curriculum meeting tonight at 6 for all parents and guardians.”
Group text messaging can be used by any business or any organization to increase it’s contact with customers and members. It’s all about building relationships and text messaging is the closest thing today that connects people to people in an unintrusive manner.