6 tips for sending SMS announcements with Textline

Textline allows organizations to send text message announcements to a group of contacts. For example, let's say I plan to host a webinar to demonstrate a new way to link Google AdWords campaigns to Textline. One hour before the webinar begins, I might send this announcement to all my customers who registered for the event:

Alan @ Textline here. Webinar starts in 1 hour: Enhancing AdWords Campaigns w/ Click-To-Text Ads. More @ https://goo.gl/Rf36cM (Text STOP to block these texts)

Here are 6 tips and best practices for sending announcements like this using Textline.

1. Tag your contacts

In this example, I only want to send my announcement to contacts who registered for the webinar. So I need to tag those contacts in my Textline address book with a tag like adwords_webinar. I can create a simple spreadsheet with one row per contact and then upload that spreadsheet to Textline to import contacts with my tag.

2. Introduce yourself

Start your announcement by letting your customers know it's you. In this example, I start my announcement with "Alan @ Textline here." Recipients may not recognize your Textline phone number. (You could encourage your contacts to add you to their address books or even send a v-card, but that will be a topic for a future article.)

3. Include opt-out instructions

All Textline phone numbers honor industry standard opt-out commands like STOP and UNSUBSCRIBE. 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. In my example announcement, I let the customers know they can opt-out of future announcements at the end of my message. An alternate message might read, "Reply STOP to opt out." (To unblock your phone number, contacts can text the word START.)

4. No spam

Textline does not allow announcements to be used to send mass marketing messages (SPAM). Please use this feature responsibly. Announcements should be sent to existing customers or contacts who are expecting communication from your business or organization.

5. SMS is a two-way communication channel

Many businesses that do use text messaging treat is as a one-way channel for notifications. Textline was designed for companies and organizations to converse with their customers or constituents. Do engage with anyone who replies to your announcements. Turn on Textline notifications to make sure you don't miss any replies.

6. Use URL shorteners

Textline announcements must fit in 160 characters or less. You'll often need to get creative to shrink your message. If your announcement includes links, use a URL shortener. In this example, I used Google's URL shortener. Another popular option is Bitly. (As a bonus, URL shorteners will track the number of people who click your links.)

Any business or organization in the US or Canada can sign up for Textline to start texting with its customers. (Textline will provide a new phone number in the company's local area code.) If your team is ready to start texting, sign up for your free trial at https://textline.com

If you already have a Textline account, and have tagged your contacts, send your first announcement here.

(Photo by mbell1975 / CC BY / modified)