Keep customers and employees informed with <span class="platform-hero__heading--blue">text alerts</span>

Use text alerts to communicate quickly and efficiently with your contacts when it matters most. SMS alerts keep your contacts in the know on cancellations, safety alerts, schedule changes, and more.

Thousands of customers rely on Textline for their SMS alerts

Many customers trust Textline to send text message alerts and notifications to their contacts. We are the most secure text messaging service built for businesses. See what our customers have to say.

<span class="platform__quote"><q>Textline allows me to reach out to hundreds of contacts in a very short time, and then manage those exchanges until a sale is closed. I use it on my desktop AND the app on my mobile phone, so it follows me everywhere. The bulk send feature (Announcements) is the key to my personal productivity each and every day. <span class="platform__quote--blue60">I could not do my job at the level I do able without Textline.</span></q></span>

<span class="platform__quote__author">John,<span class="platform__quote__author--blue60"> Capterra</span></span>

A screenshot of a text message

What is a text alert?

A text alert is a short 160-character message that is sent to notify or forewarn contacts about important information. Text alerts are also called SMS notifications or SMS alerts. These alerts allow businesses to send both non-urgent and urgent messages to contacts at scale.

Often text alerts are sent in bulk to inform a target audience about emergencies like weather alerts, last-minute schedule changes, or cancellations. Setting up a text alert system allows you to instantly share information with as many people as needed.

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Text alerts have many benefits

Reach contacts quickly

Emergencies happen unexpectedly. That’s why it’s important to have a way to reach your contacts instantly to avert disaster. These alerts ensure a message is seen in a timely manner as the average text message is read within three minutes.

Reach contacts at scale

Text alerts allow you to send a consistent message to many contacts at once. These messages, also called mass texts, are customizable and can be sent to segmented groups.

Ensure contacts see your message

SMS messages reach everyone regardless of if they have a mobile app installed or an internet connection. Plus, text messages have a 98 percent open rate. These two things ensure your contacts will see your message.

Easy to send messages

Sending a text alert is easy when you use the right text alert system. It is as simple as signing up for a Textline account, crafting your message, uploading your subscribed contacts, and clicking send. 

The features to look for in a text alert system

Many organizations use text alert systems to send critical messages to employees, customers, students, and more. While every text alert provider is different, we believe that there are a few key features to look for when choosing one for your business.

Mass texting

<div class="platform__mb40">This will allow you to easily send messages in bulk to your contacts.</div>

SMS templates

<div class="platform__mb40">Save time when it matters by creating and storing SMS templates. For example, if you are a healthcare system you could create a text template that is ready to send to employees for each emergency code. This includes an SMS message for code brown or code silver.</div>

Message scheduling

<div class="platform__mb40">If you want an alert to send at a particular time, pick a provider that allows you to schedule SMS messages. For example, if you plan to cancel the school day because of a snow storm, you can have it slated to send to parents and students at 5 a.m.</div>

Easy contact upload

<div class="platform__mb40">Make sure you can easily upload contact lists, add contact information, or remove contacts from your address book. This will make it easier to manage alerts.</div>

Contact segmentation

<div class="platform__mb40">If you have text alerts you want to send a batch of contacts, it’s important to be able to segment the groups as needed. For example, if you have office locations in different cities, you may want to segment your employee lists based on the location.</div>

MMS messaging

<div class="platform__mb40">Sometimes sending multimedia via text is necessary. As a result, look for a provider that allows you to send photos, links, or videos.</div>

Smart SMS

<div class="platform__mb40">Smart SMS improves the deliverability of messages. It is a feature that sends your mass texts from numbers that match the area code of the message recipient.</div>


<div class="platform__mb40">You want to track how well your text alert campaign performed. This will allow you to improve your text alerts. Look for a provider that allows you to see how many messages were delivered and if any failed.</div>

Seamless opt-in and opt-out

<div class="platform__mb40">Make it easy for your contacts to opt in and out of SMS alerts. This includes having an SMS provider automatically remove contacts from the list if they reply with words like STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE.</div>

Auto-reply capabilities

<div class="platform__mb40">Depending on your use case, you may want a provider that allows you to set an auto-reply message. That way, if a contact replies to your SMS alert, they will get an automated response letting them know if you will respond or if you won't. You could also have the automated message provide details about the next steps.</div>

Universal inbox

<div class="platform__mb40">Look for a text messaging platform that allows you to manage inbound and outbound texts from one dashboard. This will make it easier for you and your team.</div>

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How businesses use text alerts

Businesses across all industries and in all states use text alerts to communicate with their contacts. Here are a few examples:

Unexpected business closure

Send a text message alert to customers if your business has to close early or unexpectedly.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi all. Our store will be closing at 2 p.m. today because of staffing limitations.</span></span>

Event cancellations

If you need to cancel an event, like a practice, meeting, class, or game, send an SMS alert.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi all. Due to inclement weather, the JV football practice is cancelled this afternoon.</span></span>

Weather alerts

Send recipients weather alerts in your area.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi team. There was a tornado sighting in Oklahoma City. Find a safe space to shelter. Do NOT come to the office.</span></span>

Emergency or security alerts

Alert your contacts to an emergency, security, or safety concern via SMS.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">A large fire ignited at Marquette University campus building A. Please stay clear of the area until further notice.</span></span>

Public health alerts

Send a public health update to contacts at scale with SMS.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">The mayor just issued a new public health order for Bayfield, WI. It may impact your local business. Please call the office at &#123&#123number&#125&#125 or visit this government link for more details: &#123&#123link&#125&#125.</span></span>

Scheduling changes

If you have a schedule change, let your contacts know by text.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi team. Due to a family emergency, the faculty meeting scheduled for today will be pushed to Thursday at 11 a.m.</span></span>

Last-minute shift openings

If an employee calls in sick, consider sending an SMS alert to fill a last-minute shift.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi team. We are in need of more workers for construction site B today. Is anyone available?</span></span>

Meeting reminders

Send a reminder to key stakeholders about an important upcoming meeting.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi board members. Our annual budget meeting will take place tomorrow at 4 p.m. in building C.</span></span>

SMS marketing

Use text alerts to send subscribed contacts limited-time offers. Many businesses have found SMS marketing to be a great way to supplement email marketing strategies.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Pete’s Pizza: Hi &#123& TODAY ONLY. Order a large one-topping pizza and get a second free 🍕 Reply STOP.</span></span>

Travel alerts

Use SMS to send travel updates and reminders. This can include sharing delays or when a flight is boarding.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">American Airlines: Your flight to Mexico City is now boarding. See you at Gate C14.</span></span>

Order status alerts

Send alerts to customers about their orders. This can include order confirmations, shipping updates, and more.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi &#123& Your order is on its way! To track your package, click this link: &#123&#123link&#125&#125.</span></span>

Share financial transactions or reminders

Send customers alerts about withdrawals, deposits, or upcoming bills. You can also remind them to enroll in their cash-back categories and more.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">US Bank Cash Back: You can still choose your 5% cash-back categories before the new quarter ends. Activate at: &#123&#123link&#125&#125. Text STOP to opt-out.</span></span>

Connect with leads

Set a text notification to send to customers who fill out a lead form. Sending this automatic message quickly will help you close more deals.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi &#123& Thanks for filling out a request for additional information. I’d love to learn more about your business needs. Are you free for a 15-minute call this afternoon?</span></span>

Request feedback

Send a text alert or survey to request customer feedback.

<span class="chat-bubble"><span class="chat-bubble__text">Hi &#123& Thanks for choosing Green Estates for your landscaping needs. How was your most recent service? Is there anything we can do to improve?</span></span>

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Text alert frequently asked questions

How do I set up a text alert system?

At Textline, it is easy to set up a text alert system. You simply need to sign up for a Textline account. You can even test it out for 14 days to ensure it works for your business needs. Once you have a Textline account, you can upload your subscribed contacts, craft your message, and start sending messages.

How does a text alert work?

A text alert is sent from a business to a large group of contacts at once. Recipients will receive the text alert as a standard SMS message. It will alert them the same way they receive SMS messages. These alerts are designed to inform quickly and at scale.

How do I send a text alert on Textline?

Sending a text alert is easy on Textline. You would use our Announcements feature. Below we outline the steps:

  1. Head to the Textline dashboard and create a new Announcement
  2. Compose your message
  3. Add recipients
  4. Select how you want to manage replies to your mass message
  5. Schedule your message or opt to send it immediately

To see a more in-depth resource with photos view this help center page.

How do I get people to consent to receive text alerts?

There are several ways to get an opt-in from your contacts. This includes having customers text you first, having them fill out a web form, or working to convert your existing email subscribers.

Can people respond to my text alert?

Yes. People can respond to your text alerts. Any replies will initiate one-on-one conversations. For Textline users, conversations will be routed to a unified inbox. This is where your team can view them and respond. Having a singular inbox ensures you never miss a message.

Is there a limit to how many text alerts you can send?

No. With Textline, you can send an unlimited number of text alerts.

Can I attach a photo, website link, PDF, or video to my text alert?

Yes! On Textline you can attach photos, links, or other multimedia to your text alerts. Keep in mind this would classify the message as an MMS versus an SMS.

How much does it cost to send text alerts?

The cost will depend on your SMS provider. For Textline, the cost will depend on how many text alerts you send and the responses you receive.

View Textline’s pricing plans here. All pricing plans start with a 14-day free trial that includes unlimited texting. No credit card is required for the free trial.

Can I send a text alert from my cell phone?

You should not use a native texting application on an iPhone or Android to send a text alert as a business. That is because it does not allow customers to opt-out. Plus, sending messages to multiple contacts at once on a native mobile device creates a group message versus a mass message.

But, you can download the Textline mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Downloading this application would allow you to send text alerts from your cell phone.

What are some best practices for sending text alerts?

There are several best practices to keep in mind when sending text message alerts. Here are a few:

  • Keep the message short and to the point. Texts are limited to 160 characters. Make sure when you send these alerts that you are only including the necessary information.
  • Proofread. Make sure your content is free from grammatical errors. This ensures customers take the information and message seriously.
  • Always get an opt-in and allow opt-outs. Before you start texting contacts, make sure they consent to receive SMS messages. Also, ensure they can opt out at any time.
  • Schedule ahead of time if possible. While some messages may need to be sent immediately, be mindful of the texts you can schedule ahead of time. This includes appointment reminders, promotional texts, and more. Scheduling ahead of time gives you more time to proofread your message and ensure that it delivers at the right time.
  • Be mindful of the frequency. Don’t send too many text messages to your contacts. Sending too many messages may result in a higher unsubscribe rate.

Who can I send text alerts to?

You can send text alerts to contacts who opted to receive messages from your organization. If your message is non-promotional and an urgent warning, you can also send it to customers who gave you their mobile numbers.

Can I segment my contact list on Textline?

Yes! With Textline, you can segment your contacts by using our tag feature. Tags are labels you can assign to contacts. This will allow you to group them internally. Once contacts are tagged, you can send text alerts to everyone with a specific tag, or search your conversation by tag, or your address book.

What phone number will my text alert come from?

There are three types of phone numbers you can use to send text alerts. These include 10-digit long codes, short codes, or toll-free numbers. 10DLC are local long-code numbers. Dedicated short codes are four, five, or six-digit codes for texting campaigns and are often used for one-way text blasts. Toll-free numbers allow businesses to text from their 800 number.

Each type has its pros and cons. Textline recommends using a 10DLC number for business texting. It is the standard number for application-to-person, or A2P, texting in North America. These numbers are more recognizable, enable two-way texting, and are cheaper than short codes (which often cost at least $1,000 per month.)

Is sending text alerts as a business legal?

Yes! Business texting is legal. But, you will want to keep several regulations in mind. Specifically, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and The Campaign Registry.

Under the TCPA, make sure you get consent to text. This means getting that opt-in. Opt-ins can be obtained by customers texting you first or filling out a form. Additionally, always include a way to opt out. One best practice is to include opt-out instructions like “text STOP” at anytime.

Additionally, companies using a 10DLC number must register for The Campaign Registry. This registry was created by mobile carriers to curb SPAM text messages. Read the Textline blog on how to ensure you are legally texting your customers to learn more.

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