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Texting 101

10 tips for sending text announcements to your customers‍

Fatima Puri
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Business SMS platforms allow organizations to reliably send customer text announcements since texts have a high open rate. The average text message has an open rate of 98 percent, which means the chances of a customer opening a text announcement are greater than those of voice or email. 

If you’re new to business texting or want to refresh your knowledge, we’ll cover the 10 best practices for sending an SMS announcement.

10 tips for sending text announcements

1. Tag your contact list to segment messages

Depending on your business, there may come a time when you need to segment your contact list to send different text announcements. One way to do this is to create tags for your contact list. 

Textline customers can either upload a CSV file with a “tags” column or individually add and remove tags from contacts in their address book. For example, say you want to send an announcement to the contacts who registered for an upcoming webinar. You can tag those contacts with a simple phrase like adwords_webinar. 

When it comes time to send an announcement about the webinar, you can choose to only send the message to customers with the tag adwords_webinar instead of manually selecting each contact. This allows Textline customers to save time when sending announcements.

2. Schedule messages ahead of time

One way to ensure announcements are sent to customers at the right time without errors is to create and schedule messages ahead of time. That way, you have more time to craft a proper message or better plan customer outreach. Scheduling messages can also ensure you’re sending messages at a consistent cadence, which is another good business practice. 

When scheduling a message ahead of time, remember to select a date and time that is convenient for your customers. Unless it makes sense for your business or event, avoid sending messages outside of business hours or on weekends when customers are typically busy.

If you’re a Textline customer, you can learn how to schedule announcements by visiting our Help Center

3. Utilize templates 

When sending text announcements, you can save time and effort by using templates. These templates use industry best practices to ensure you include relevant information while staying consistent with your messaging.

For examples of text message templates for announcements and other forms of conversation, read our article “43 ready-to-use text message templates for your business.”

4. Provide alternative forms of contact information

Customers expect to be able to respond to announcements, but not all customers will want to reply via SMS. That’s why it’s a smart idea to share an alternative way for customers to reach you or answer their questions.

You can tell customers that they can contact your business via phone or email, or provide a link to an online FAQ page so customers can find information without speaking directly with a representative.

Generally speaking, including a link in your announcement can help you supply your contacts with more information without exceeding the word count. Visit our Help Center to learn more about adding hyperlinks to your announcements.

5. Collect an opt-in before sending an announcement

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA,  requires businesses to collect an opt-in from their contacts before sending messages to them. Failure to obtain an opt-in can result in fines of up to $500 per violation. 
While there are numerous ways to collect an opt-in from contacts, some common ones are asking for consent via text message, phone, email, or in-person. Textline customers on the Pro plan can automate opt-in requests from customers who are missing them. 

To learn more about collecting an opt-in, read our article “Business SMS opt-ins: What they are and when you need to use them.”

6. Introduce yourself or your business every time 

Start your announcement by letting customers know it's you. Recipients may not recognize your business texting number, so it’s always a good idea to reintroduce yourself or your business every time you send an announcement. 

As a pro tip, you could encourage your contacts to add your SMS number to their address books or even send a virtual business card, or vCard, to make it easier for them to save your contact information.

7. Include opt-out instructions

All announcements should honor industry-standard opt-out commands set by the TCPA. These regulations require businesses to offer a form of opt-out for customers — think phrases like STOP and UNSUBSCRIBE.

For Textline, if a contact replies to your announcement with a single-word text message, STOP, they will no longer receive any texts from your phone number. 

It is a best practice to let customers know they can opt-out of future announcements at the end of the message.

8. Avoid spam texts

Avoid using announcements as unsolicited mass marketing messages, which is considered spam. Announcements should be sent to existing customers or contacts who are expecting communication from your business or organization.

The best way to ensure your announcements are relevant and not considered spam from your customers is to ensure that messaging aligns with the reason customers opted to receive your messages in the first place. For example, if you told customers you would contact them with company updates, then only send messages related to company updates.

9. Remember SMS is a two-way communication channel

Many businesses use texting as a one-way channel to get messages to customers, but business texting was designed for companies and organizations to converse with their customers and vice versa. Remember to engage with anyone who replies to your announcements. 

To do so, make sure you have the bandwidth or a team in place to respond to any inbound messages. The average text has a 45 percent response rate, and most text messages receive a reply within 90 seconds.

10. Be concise with messaging

Most text announcements must be 160 characters or less. This character limit will require you to  be concise. However, remember to use proper grammar when sending announcements to customers. Avoid using internet slang or abbreviations that aren't well-known to prevent customer confusion and being seen as unprofessional.

The bottom line

Keep these best practices in mind if your team is ready to start sending text announcements. If you combine these tips, you’ll have a beneficial text announcement for your customers each time.

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