Mass SMS: Everything You Need to Know [2024]

May 5, 2023 (Updated) | By Sam Pelton
Businessman in sunglasses texting

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…

Mass texting.

We all know from an efficiency standpoint it’s a good idea.

After all, everyone texts. And everyone reads their texts.

What better way to communicate with your audience than right in front of their faces on their personal phones?

But jumping into mass texting can feel tricky:

  • How can you go about it?
  • How do you do it in a way that’s not “spammy”?
  • How hard is it to set up and manage?
  • Will people be annoyed to be receiving texts from you?
  • Will it cost you an arm and a leg?

Here are some answers to those pressing questions, so that you can figure out the best way to incorporate mass texting into your business or organization.

Because who doesn’t want to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their communication efforts?

What Is Mass SMS?

First off, let’s clarify what we mean by “mass SMS.”

This is not the same as sending a group text from your phone.

Most phones will send group texts in a single thread, in which everyone can see the phone numbers for all of the other recipients. Most phones will also only allow a certain number of recipients per text.

Mass texting via a text alert platform like Mobile Text Alerts has no recipient limit, and allows you to send a “group text” that comes through to people’s phones individually.

Screenshot of sending a text message

In other words, your recipient will receive the message as if they are the only recipient.

This allows you to:

  • Protect the privacy of the other people receiving the message
  • Give a more individualized experience to the recipient (thus making your messages more effective)
  • Save confusion and frustration when recipients reply back to your text, since their replies will only go back to you individually (their replies won’t go to all the other recipients of the message)

It’s a win all around!

How Do You Go About Mass SMS?

“That sounds great, but how do you do it?” you may be asking.

You need to know whether or not mass texting is time-consuming or difficult.

If that’s the case, you’ll be relieved to find out that mass texting is not hard!

So how, exactly, does it work?

  • You’ll need a subscription to a mass texting platform like Mobile Text Alerts, so go ahead and sign up for one (if you’re not ready to commit to a full account, you can test out a free trial).

  • Load in your recipients. If you already have their permission to send them texts, you can do this manually by importing an existing list. Otherwise, there are a few different ways to get people to subscribe automatically:

    1. Share an automatically generated QR code

    2. Advertise an opt-in keyword so people can text to join

    3. Give out a link to a free online web form

    4. Load in numbers automatically from one of your other services using integrations or API

Screenshot of managing subscribers
  • Send or schedule your messages from your online platform or mobile app

1. For the platform:

  • Log in to the online platform and go to the Send a Message page
  • From there, you can designate the recipients for your message.
  • Then you can type the content for your message.
  • Lastly, you can select if you’d like your message to be sent out right away, or if you’d like it to be scheduled for a later time
Screenshot of scheduling a text message

2. For the mobile app:

  • Download the mobile app for iOS or Android
  • Once downloaded, open the app and go to the Messages tab
  • On the Messages tab, you’ll see a “paper airplane” icon toward the bottom of the screen - tap that
  • Follow the prompts to select the scheduling and audience for your message
  • Then on the last prompt, type out the content for your message and tap “Send”
Screenshot of selecting subscribers mobile app

So getting the hang of sending mass texts is a breeze!

And if you do run into difficulty, you’re welcome to schedule a demo and get a walkthrough to help you get started.

How Much Does Mass SMS Cost?

The ever-pressing question on everyone’s mind is often: what’s this going to run me?

And with good reason! You want to make sure you’re making prudent financial decisions, not just throwing your money out the window.

Mass SMS costs can vary widely, but they don’t have to break the bank.

You can purchase a subscription for as little as $19 per month.

The amount you’ll pay will be directly correlated to how many messages you want to send.

If you have a small audience and only send a few messages per month, the smaller plans may work for you just fine.

If you have a bigger audience - say you’re a larger business or have already done mass texting campaigns in the past and have built up a substantial list of subscribers - you may want to look at one of the larger plans.

You can view the full list of pricing here.

Another key item to remember is that costs for mass texting can easily pay themselves off (and far beyond!).

If it gets you even just a few extra purchases or saves just a little bit of time and hassle in your communication efforts - it is worth it.

What Content Can You Send?

Perhaps you’re wondering what types of content you can include in your mass texting.

Links? Contacts’ individual names? Images? GIFs?

Maybe you want to have a variety of options for crafting your messages and engaging your audience in the most captivating ways possible.

In addition to just “regular” text, mass texting allows you to send all of those mentioned content types.

One major question is about links. The good news is that including links in your text messages is easy, and the vast majority of phones are able to process links as clickable.

(You can even track who clicks on your links.)

Screenshot of SMS link tracking

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You can also include your recipients’ individual names in your mass texting to help your messages seem more personalized.

MMS (multimedia messaging) capabilities mean that you can send images and GIFs as well, giving your messages an added visual element to attract response and engagement.

How Can Recipients Engage with Your Texts?

One of the great things about texting in your everyday life is that it’s easy to have back-and-forth conversations.

You may be concerned about that kind of engagement not being possible or feasible with a mass texting platform.

But hakuna matata! Mass texting supports 2-way conversations with a convenient inbox so you can easily engage with your message’s recipients.

Screenshot of texting platform Inbox

They can reply to any of your messages, and you’ll be able to view their responses and respond back.

(And unlike a “normal” group text, your recipient’s reply will not go to the other recipients of the message - only to you!)

You can also set it up so that you get notified via text message and/or push notification whenever a new reply to your messages comes in. That way, you can know to go in and respond back.

What If I Don’t Want My Recipients to Reply?

Many people want to be able to “turn off” replies, as they merely want to use mass texting as a notification system and don’t want to monitor replies.

Although the ability for recipients to reply can’t technically be turned off, you can set it up so that an “auto-reply” trigger is sent anytime someone sends in a reply.

This means that you could set up an auto-response to say something like, “Replies are not monitored.” That message can go out anytime someone tries to reply so that they know their reply won’t be seen.

How Can People Opt Out?

If you’re like many people, regulations and legal requirements can be scary, or at least tiresome.

You don’t want to get yourself into hot water by sending messages to people who have asked to be removed.

That’s why an automatic opt-out function is essential!

Mobile Text Alerts will handle that for you. Anyone who replies STOP to any of your messages will be automatically removed from your text list.

Example of opt-out text

Furthermore, once someone automatically opts out, they go onto a “blacklist” so that you can’t accidentally add them back in.

They can only be added back in by using one of the previously mentioned opt-in methods to sign back up.

All of this saves you the stress and hassle of having to manage those opt-outs on your own!

What Are Some Best Practices?

You want your mass texting efforts to be as effective as possible - Nobody wants to waste any time and money, after all.

So what are some best practices you can follow to maximize the potential of your mass texting?

You don’t want recipients to interpret your messages as spam. So make sure they are clearly aware that they are opting in to your messages (and that they know what they’re signing up for).

Not getting opt-in consent could not only get you in trouble with texting regulations, but could also impact delivery for your messages, if phone carriers start filtering out the messages as possible spam.

But don’t worry! Just make sure that you’re not adding people to your subscriber list who don’t want to be on there.

2. Register Your Traffic

Registering your traffic with providers ahead of time could preemptively help with potential message delivery issues.

Registering your traffic is a simple process and typically only takes a few days for approval.

If you already have a Mobile Text Alerts account, simply contact support and tell them you’d like to register your traffic. Then they’ll direct you to a simple questionnaire that just takes a couple minutes to fill out.

3. Don’t Send Messages Too Often

One mistake overzealous mass texters make is to send messages too often. You don’t want to wear your audience out!

Although people like texting, they most likely don’t want to receive texts from you several times a week.

Generally, we would recommend 1-4 texts to your audience per month so that they don’t start to tune out your messages - or worse, unsubscribe.

(But remember that you know your audience and your situation best, so follow a frequency that is right for you.)

Happy man texting

4. Send to Relevant People

Another way to wear out your audience is to send texts that don’t pertain to them.

With mass texting, even more than with email, you want to make sure your texts are very relevant to the people you’re sending them to.

You can use a “grouping” feature to help you segment and organize your subscriber list so that you can make the most of your messages by sending them to the right people.

5. Include Your Name When Sending

Phone carriers like clear identification in mass texting.

So to help with spam filtering, you’ll want to identify yourself in every message.

This can be as simple as having “From: [Business/Organization Name]” at the beginning of your messages.

Take this simple step to help your messages have the best delivery rates possible.

6. Include Clear Opt-Out Instructions

In addition to having people clearly opt in, you want to give your recipients a way to clearly opt out.

We’ve already mentioned that people can opt out of your texts by simply replying STOP to any of your messages.

To help with spam filtering, it is recommended to include those opt-out instructions (for example, “Reply STOP to opt out”) in every message.

The system will handle those STOP opt-out responses automatically, so you just need to make sure the instructions are there.

What Industries Use Mass SMS?

While mass SMS can serve virtually any industry in one way or another (everyone needs to communicate, after all), you’re probably wondering how it could serve your industry in particular.

Check out the below examples of ways different industries use mass texting.

How Enterprise Businesses Use It

Enterprise businesses can benefit from mass texting in a few different ways, including marketing and internal communication.

For marketing:

  • Advertise promotions and deals to drive up revenue
  • Announce new products to foster excitement
  • Engage with leads to nurture them along the sales process
  • Send follow-up surveys to gather feedback for more informed marketing efforts

For internal communication among your staff:

  • Remind people about meetings so that everyone shows up
  • Update people quickly if there are closures (due to weather or other reasons)
  • Alert people immediately about IT problems or safety concerns
  • Announce shift openings and request coverage

How Small Businesses Use It

In many of the same ways as enterprise businesses, small businesses take advantage of mass texting as well - primarily to connect with customers.

  • Send sales and discount notices to boost purchases
  • Notify about regular updates (such as new inventory, events, or regularly changing items such as menus, etc.) to engage and nurture customers
  • Remind about webinars or other events to yield higher attendance
  • Provide “loyalty” benefit notifications to keep customers coming back
  • Collect past due payment from customers via text to reduce churn
  • Alert your employees about relevant office updates to make your internal communication more efficient
Businessman texting

How Churches Use It

Mass texting is not just something for businesses to use in their marketing.

Churches use it to engage their members as well.

Here are some ways they can do that.

  • Send updates about service and event cancellations to reduce frustration
  • Remind about events to encourage greater attendance
  • Interact with students in the youth group via text to get more engagement
  • Notify choir members and other musicians about rehearsals and performances to minimize confusion
  • Provide alerts about safety, maintenance, or other pertinent items to help members be aware
  • Encourage congregants with Bible verses, sermon links, and prayer requests to increase spiritual nourishment

How Government Institutions Use It

Municipalities, public transit, family services, parks departments, libraries, and other government-run institutions use mass texting for all kinds of updates.

Check out these examples.

  • Notify employees, citizens, and participants about events to drive up attendance
  • Send pertinent updates regarding changes or policies to keep people in the know
  • Update would-be attendees to events about cancellations and changes to reduce confusion
  • Let people know about safety or maintenance issues to increase awareness
  • Announce office updates via text to improve internal communication

How Other Non-Profits Use It

Maybe you’re part of a religious organization, school/university, YMCA, labor union, political campaign, or some other non-profit.

Can you still use mass texting?

Sure can!

  • Remind staff and members about meetings and events to make sure no one forgets
  • Notify people about event cancellations, office closures, or hours changes to prevent frustration
  • Alert people about your products or services to promote your organization
  • Keep staff, members, or participants aware about important information to make sure people know what they need to know
  • Request donations via text to raise more funds

How Direct Sales Consultants Use It

Are you an independent consultant for a direct sales company?

Mass texting can speak directly to your customers and drive up your sales.

  • Notify customers about your live Facebook sales to boost attendance and purchases
  • Alert customers regarding new inventory to keep them excited and encourage repeat business
  • Educate your downline via text to yield greater success
  • Send out promotions and deals to drive up sales
  • Follow up with customers to encourage customer loyalty

Use Mass SMS for Your Business

You know that mass SMS will be good for your business or organization to promote quick and efficient communication and a boost in sales.

And now you know how to get started with implementing it.

So what are you waiting for?

Let’s get started now!

Get 50 Free Messages to Try It Out Today

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Start sending mass text alerts to your entire list today!