What is a text message blast?
A text message blast, also known as a mass text, is sending a text message to your entire audience or a significant portion of your audience.
An email blast is similar to an text blast, but sends emails.
Mass texting isn’t effective any longer
Unfortunately text message blasts and text message blast services are no longer as effective as they once were. This is due to changing consumer acceptance of text message marketing as well as changes in carrier regulations around customer communication.
Avoid services that advertise as a text blasting service or mass texting services. Using these types of service will only cause damage to you brand’s reputation.
In fact, if you are using a service that advertises itself as a text blasting service or mass texting service you should consider a new SMS marketing partner. This is because these services typically used shared numbers, send high-volume messages, and experience higher opt-out rates.
Change in approach
The good news is you can still send text message “blasts”, but you need to change your approach. And these changes are supported using the DailyStory SMS marketing platform along with following our SMS marketing delivery best practices.
Why text message blasts don’t work
The fundamental problem with text message blasts is that carriers – AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon – continue to introduce additional filtering. If you aren’t familiar with carrier filtering this is when the carrier blocks your message from being delivered.
Technically a text message blasting service still works, but the carriers are getting smarter about what messages they deliver. Let’s examine this a little further.
What are the problems with a text message blast?
Text message blasts typically are messages that:
- Have identical content
- Are not conversational
- Tend to exclusively focus on marketing or sales
- Messages are sent all-at-once
- Send to a large number of recipients, i.e. mass text
- Experience high opt-out rates
Let’s look at how to circumvent these challenges to get your messages delivered.
There are a number of factors that impact text message deliverability. We’ll start by looking at the content of your message.
Want unique text message content? Here’s how
Text message blasting services typically offer two key simple capabilities:
- The ability to write a message;
- Upload a list of mobile numbers to send the message to.
This means that all the recipients get the same message. And, this also means that the phone carriers see the exact same message getting sent. This is a guaranteed strategy to get flagged for a carrier violation.
Instead your text message content should utilize personalization, A/B testing, and Spintax to create content variability. Variability in your content means that each messages sent to each recipient is unique.
Every message you send should use personalization. It’s an easy way to ensure each text message is unique. Personalization can be as simple as including the recipient’s name, but can also include other information: last order amount, recent purchases, and just about anything else.
More advanced personalization even uses conditional logic to determine what content to include or exclude based on properties associated with the recipient.
World-class marketers value the ability to craft highly personalized messages.
Want to create multiple messages for your next text message blast? You can use DailyStory’s built-in support for ChatGPT to create multiple A/B versions. Just write your original message then use DailyStory’s AI writing assistant to rewrite the content.
And with A/B testing you can create multiple versions of your text message and let DailyStory choose which one to use based on campaign performance metrics: clicks, sales, etc.
Spintax is another simple way to create variability in your text messages. It is simple tool that allows for randomization of common words.
For example, if your text messages starts with “Hello” you could use Spintax to randomly choose: “Hello”, “Hi”, “Hey there” as different greetings. But it doesn’t end there. You can also randomize phrases in the text message: “Reply STOP to opt out” or “Reply QUIT to opt out”.
While Spintax is often frowned upon, serious digital marketers appreciate the “randomness” it can add to their messages.
Bottom-line: Message content variability is a proven technique for getting better message delivery.
Choose one: Delivery time or delivered
The problem is that SMS marketing is a completely different mindset.
It’s common to hear the business say, “I want my message sent and delivered at 3:30PM”.
For an email? Not a problem. But for a text message, there are number of factors to consider that directly impact send time.
Factors to consider when sending a text message
- Is the sending number a short code, long code or toll-free number?
- Is the long code registered with 10DLC?
- How many recipients are being messages?
- How many numbers are used for sending?
For example, if you are using an unregistered long code you may only want to send 200-300 messages per-hour. Versus a short code you can send thousands of messages per-hour.
Obtaining a short code seems to be the obvious answer. But short codes are expensive – upwards of $500+ per-month to lease – and requires an extensive vetting process by the carriers.
Toll-free numbers are less difficult to acquire, but still have some vetting requirements. Whereas long codes, the standard 10 digit number most of us are familiar with in North America, are relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire.
Majority of businesses send using a long code
Therefor, the majority of businesses use long codes. But long codes have restrictions, specifically: throughput limits and heavy carrier filtering. And while 10DLC registered long codes reduce these restrictions, they don’t eliminate them.
Thus the challenge with long codes is: how to get your messages delivered? Successful delivery means balancing a number of factors, one of which is the throughput.
But instead of fixating on your messages getting delivered at a certain time, don’t you care more about getting your messages delivered?
There are three ways you can address this.
Send using a drip campaign
A drip campaign is an automation that runs and sends messages one-by-one to each recipient. Drip campaigns are perfect for introducing send time variability, but can be too slow for larger sends.
Distributed sending is a feature of DailyStory that enables a message to be delivered within a time window. For example, instead of sending the message at 3:30PM the message is scheduled to be sent between 1:00PM and 4:00PM.
If the message is sending to 1,000 recipients this means that each message is sent at a random time across a 3 hour time window.
Multiple sending numbers
A sending number, depending upon its type, has a throughput limit. One way to increase your sending throughput is to use multiple sending numbers. But be careful using multiple sending numbers as it can impact delivery if used incorrectly.
The magic ratio: sends and replies
“Let’s send a mass text message blast”, sounds like something you’d hear in a modern day digital marketing focused remake of Glengarry Glen Ross (coffee is for closers after all). And most text message blasting services cater to exactly this need.
Text message blasts aren’t about conversations, they are focused on jamming their message down the proverbial recipients throat!
The magic ratio: 3-1.
At DailyStory we send millions of text messages each month. We’ve combed through this data and found, what we call, “the magic ratio”.
For every 3 messages you send, attempt to solicit 1 reply.
Replies are positive
The carriers are constantly examining your text message traffic. Imagine from their perspective: your number is sending a high volume of messages and the only replies back are: STOP, QUIT, or some more colorful responses (which we’ll leave out).
Are these positive or negative signals?
Compare that to text messages with incoming replies: “Yes”, “No”, “Can you send more details?”, “Looking forward to it!”. These are positive signals that the recipient not only wants your message but is having a conversation.
Stacy’s mom likes to mass text
Let’s frame this another way: imagine you had a friend Stacy. Somehow Stacy’s mom got your phone number and once a week she texts you her latest cringy TikTok video. She’s fishing for likes to become a TikTok influencer. And, being a fan of mass texting services, she thinks, “I’ll just send a text blast to everyone I know.”
Suffice to say, Stacy’s mom does not have it going on.
What happens next? You block her.
The same thing happens with the carriers when they see unwanted traffic from text blasting services!
Therefore, when crafting your text message campaign remember the magic ratio and ensure that 1 out of every 3 text messages encourages or asks for a reply.
Segmenting is a blast too
Ok, that’s a bit of a play on words (little bit of squeeze for the Google SEO juice), but the reality is that segmenting your audience is a simple way to introduce variability into your text messaging.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, 90% of what this article is recommending is to move away from single-send blasting and moving towards message variability.
And the last recommendation: sending different messages to different audiences is accomplished through segmentation.
Divide and conquer
Use segmenting to group your audience into smaller, more focused groups. You can segment by virtually anything in DailyStory: geography, shopping behavior, area code, you name it.
The purpose is to build segments that address specific audience needs, wants, and desires. Then craft your text messages to cater directly to their needs.
Not only will your text messages perform better, but your customers will appreciate messages that fit their specific needs.
One secret we’d like to share
This may surprise you, but everything we’re advocating for text messaging works for email too. Just don’t tell the email blasting services.
We’ve covered several of the topics covered in our SMS marketing best practices, but we would recommend reviewing it separately. There are lots of great tips and suggestions in there and there is even an on-demand webinar to accompany it.
Finally, we’ll end this article with a recommendation we always make: send the text messages you would like to receive. It may change the way you think about how you communicate with your customers.