How to Group Text—A Beginner’s Guide
Whether you’re a marketer or business owner, or you’re curious about new marketing tools that can generate revenue, group texting isn’t something to ignore. Group texting, also commonly referred to as SMS marketing, is increasingly grabbing the attention of small and large organizations across various industries. It’s helped brands like Carl’s Jr. generate an ROI of $14 in new sales for every $1 they spend on their SMS campaign. Restaurants, retailers, and top brands like Chili’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s leverage text messaging to engage their customers, offer value, and generate revenue.
If you’re just starting to learn about group texting, that’s okay. There’s a good chance your competitor is also thinking about it. Lucky for you, we created this article to help you learn more about how to group text your customers’ phones using an SMS marketing provider like Tatango. This post will explain why group texting is a crucial tool. We’ll also touch on how brands and organizations use group texting, group texting requirements, and different types of group texting, and we’ll provide four industry examples.
What Is Group Texting? Why Does It Matter?
Group texting enables businesses to use a text message to communicate with a group of people simultaneously. You can compare group texting to mass email marketing; instead of using email as a communication channel, group texting utilizes the mobile phone communication channel. (Be aware: Texting is a permission-based marketing channel, so a brand needs to receive consent from recipients before sending them any messages.) Using an existing group texting service software like Tatango’s, organizations can send a mass text message to multiple recipients with ease.
In the text marketing industry, group texting is commonly referred to as:
- mass texting
- group text messaging
- group SMS or group MMS
- group chat messaging
- group thread messaging
- SMS marketing
- text message marketing
- mobile marketing
Boasting open rates reaching 99 percent within 20 minutes, it’s no wonder why brands are incorporating texting into their marketing strategies and understanding why texting matters. In an internal study, we found that for every dollar invested in building and operating a texting program, political campaigns net $20 in donations on average. Additionally, 78 percent of consumers say that text messaging is the fastest way to reach them. While most email inboxes are switched off after work hours, your customers’ mobile phones are always within arm’s reach.
How Do Brands and Organizations Group Text?
At its core, brands and organizations use the channel to generate revenue. If you’re investing in a marketing tool, you expect a return on your marketing spend. And since group texting is a permission-based marketing tool, there isn’t a better tool to guide a subscriber to a purchase decision. Advertisers have to battle distractions on social media platforms like Facebook and group text messaging services such as the GroupMe app. An SMS message provides a direct connection to your customers through an SMS notification. Whether a recipient is on an Android phone or is using group iMessage on an iPhone, SMS is versatile and consistent across messaging apps.
Tip: Use Tatango’s message preview to preview the individual group message before you send it out.
As previously mentioned, brands and organizations leverage SMS to generate revenue. One of the most common routes brands take is to promote special deals, offers, and sales via SMS and MMS. Due to the large potential reach SMS marketing has, brands leverage an SMS blast to generate predictable revenue. Tatango’s analytics allow users to A/B test, segment contact groups, and much more.
Updates and Information
Marketers can leverage messaging to generate revenue, but they can also use it as a channel to communicate company information and updates. In a recent example, retail companies utilized their SMS programs to communicate up-to-date information about store closures, hours, and updates due to COVID-19. Thanks to the agile nature of text messaging, as soon as retailers vet external information, they can create a new group message and quickly communicate with thousands, if not millions of subscribers and group members.
Drive Website and Store Traffic
Within the group text message, brands and organizations can include clickable URLs. URLs can direct subscribers to product pages, sales pages, or even to a store locator to help the customer find a store near them. At Tatango, we always recommend including a shortened, clickable URL that can be tracked. To drive store or restaurant traffic, a brand can create an offer that the customer can redeem by visiting the physical location, for example, a free appetizer with the purchase of an entree or a buy-one-get-one-free offer for a cheeseburger.
What’s Required for Group Texting?
In addition to a computer and our web-based software, group conversation texting requires a few more things. We highlighted the top three things to consider below.
SMS Short Code
Before a brand sends an individual message, it must obtain an SMS short code. An SMS short code is a 5-6 digit number used by businesses to communicate with subscribers. Subscribers opt into an SMS program by texting a keyword to a short code number. For example, if a pizza restaurant had an SMS program, customers might create a new message and opt in by texting the keyword PIZZA to 12345. At Tatango, we only provide dedicated short codes.
TCPA and CTIA Compliance
In the SMS marketing industry, compliance is crucial. It’s essential to choose an SMS marketing software provider like Tatango that understands TCPA and CTIA SMS compliance in all aspects. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) is a set of Federal Communications Commission (FFC) regulations governing robocalling, telemarketing, and mobile text messaging. The CTIA was established in 1984 as a nonprofit trade organization that represents wireless carriers (such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) as well as manufacturers and providers of wireless products and services. While no one has been sued over CTIA compliance, the CTIA publishes best practices for mobile messaging.
If you’re new to the industry and choose a provider that doesn’t run a tight ship regarding compliance, your brand and campaign may be exposed to potential legal action. Talk to us about our compliance approach.
Once you receive an SMS short code and establish a compliance framework for your campaign, you need to build a subscriber list. Since it’s illegal to group message users who haven’t opted into your text program, we recommend using existing communication channels like your website, social media, email, and in-store promotions to advertise your SMS short code.
Types of Group Texts
There are a few types of group texting: SMS, MMS, A2P, and P2P.
SMS vs. MMS
SMS: Short Message Service
SMS text messages are messages that people and brands send to mobile devices. These messages can only contain up to 160 characters, including text, emojis, clickable phone numbers, and links.
MMS: Multimedia Messaging Service
MMS text messages allow mobile marketers to send various media content to consumers, including video, sound files, images, multiple contacts, or GIFs. With additional media functionality, MMS messages also allow brands to send up to 5,000 characters.
A2P vs. P2P
A2P: Application to Person
A2P messaging refers to the group messaging that originates from an application, like Tatango, and is sent to a mobile device messages app to multiple people.
P2P: Person to Person
P2P messaging refers to the messaging that originates from an individual’s mobile phone and is sent to another mobile device.
Examples of Group Texting Across Four Industries
Messaging is popular across many industries, and we’ve highlighted four below.
Are you looking for more examples? Check out SMS Archives, the official search engine for text message marketers.
Beauty – Julep, KKW Beauty, Ulta Beauty
Restaurant – Chili’s, Olive Garden, Domino’s Pizza
Automotive – Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Pep Boys
Retail – Bloomingdale’s, Old Navy, Macy’s
If you’re looking to get started with text message marketing for your brand or organization, contact us today.