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What is a text blast

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A text blast is a text message sent out to multiple users through an automated messaging system. 

What is a text blast used for? Simply but, text blasts are an effective way for individuals and organizations to communicate a message to a large number of cell phone users quickly. It is one of the most popular ways to advertise a brand/product in the retail industry.

The benefits of choosing text blasts

Text blasts are a game-changer in today’s advertising industry. They provide multiple benefits to a firm.  

Firstly, they are inexpensive. Throughout history, small businesses suffered at the hands of larger corporations due to expenses. Fortunately, technology has changed that. SMS marketing is one of the least costly forms of advertising, and yet the most effective. A newly established business can take advantage of this by reaching out to new customers and creating brand awareness through SMS campaigns.  

Text blasts are the fastest way to get a message across a large number of users. Not only is this helpful in the retail industry, but it has also become widely used by state-owned and government agencies to alert citizens in times of emergencies. It is also commonly used by NGOs and other charity organisations to raise donations for a cause. The reason behind the growing popularity of SMS as a channel of communication owes majorly to its time convenience. Established businesses spend millions on TV and billboard advertisements, and yet they do not reach the mass market as quick as SMS.  

Preferred form of communication

Text blasts are the most preferred form of communication. In other words, text messaging is the most widely used channel for communication as compared to all other channels – be it social media, email or phone calls.  

Phone calls vs. SMS 

As opposed to earlier times, life in cities is extremely fast moving. Most millennials do not have the time to take promotional phone calls during the day. However, these very people are likely to check their text messages once in a while. Promotional phone calls are usually considered spam. Text messages, however, can be opened and read at one’s own convenience. Hence, they are deemed more effective.  

Email vs. SMS 

Intensive research has also been done on the effectiveness of email marketing vs. text marketing. Most consumers check their phones multiple times a day whereas email accounts are usually opened once a day. Hence, in a situation where time is of the essence, businesses and consumers would prefer SMS marketing over email.  

Social media vs. SMS  

The edge that text blasts have over social media is that they do not require any complex skills, nor a phone that supports an internet connection and internet connectivity itself. Thus, texts are received faster than messages over any other medium. Moreover, when targeting the elderly, SMS is the simplest form of communication as many individuals within that age group are not familiar or fluent with technology.  

How to send out text blasts

Any company or individual is required to sign up with an online SMS marketing platform. The account is created then it can be used to send out text messages and monitor responses. A list of contacts (recipients) is either uploaded or manually added to the account. The handler of the account is required to manually type in the text message, select a list of recipients and then press send. This enables recipients to receive the message. Messages can also be scheduled to be sent at a specific time.  

There is one catch. SMS marketing is permission based. As per the law, business organisations cannot send out promotional text messages without the consent of the receiver. Thus, text blast campaigns need to be carried out. But the question arises, what is a text blast campaign? A company must promote and market to their customers on different platform asking them to subscribe to their text ampaign. This text includes a keyword and shortcode. It may look similar to this, “To receive updates and offers from McDonald’s, send MAC to 707070.” This eliminates the issue of spamming consumers with unwanted text messages in their inbox. Only interested consumers subscribe to the campaign and thus, receive promotional text messages. In fact, studies have shown that consumers prefer to receive promotional updates from their favourite brands via text.   

An example of one of the most useful and top-rated SMS services in the US is ExpressText.  

Uses of text blasts

Every organisation in today’s day and age can benefit from text blast advertising. Some examples of industries that can benefit from texting are retail industry, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, churches and more. With increasing competition, businesses in every sector need to be spontaneous in order to attract customers.

Spontaneous Advertisement 

An example of this is 24-hour sales. On a public holiday, businesses can increase their sales by advertising an online flash sale. If they were to advertise through emails or pamphlets, it is likely that by the time the message is delivered the sale is already over. Hence, SMS is the fastest channel to deliver the message through. Most people check their phones every few minutes, so few are likely to miss out on the sale!  

Event promotion

Restaurants and lounges can use text blast promotion for a number of reasons, including the example mentioned above. The best way to create brand awareness for a newly established business is a launch event. A business in this situation can use text blasts to send out invites to potential customers. A pass for free food and a glamorous event is a tempting offer for many consumers! Similarly, phone launch events for companies like Huawei and OnePlus can use SMS as a medium for sending out invites. Consumers may RSVP online through websites and event pages.  

Privacy and security

Another example of business organisations that make use of text blasts is banks. What is a text blast for a bank, one might wonder? Banks can improve privacy and security through the simple process of sending out text blasts. With a minimal annual fee, account holders can subscribe to SMS services. These include not only promotional and discount offers but also all kinds of notifications. For example, if a transaction is made through the customer’s credit card, the bank will promptly send an automated text message. If the credit card is in the wrong hands, the customer can act immediately. If not, the text message serves as a confirmation of payment or withdrawal. This greatly improves the security of a bank’s customers, thus improving their trust in the bank which in turn strengthens brand reputation.  

Millennials, who are famously known as ‘Generation Y’, are more attracted to SMS marketing than any other age group. This owes to the fact that they have grown up in an environment surrounded by technology. Brands whose products/services are targeted towards teenagers and young adults can greatly benefit from text message promotions.  

Tracking

The purpose of sending out text blasts is not limited to advertising only. SMS has become a popular method of keeping customers updated on their orders and shipments. This acts as a business tactic which aims to create trust between the customer and brand. SMS notifications can be sent out on the confirmation of orders, time of shipment, order tracking details and delivery dates. This can be very effective in putting the customer at ease. Many online websites are not secure – they may scam the customer and not deliver the product/service. Due to little knowledge about such issues, a lot of consumers fall prey to these schemes. Thus, the mere act of sending out a text can create the image of responsible and trustworthy business.

Features of text blasts

Most SMS software applications offer similar basic features, with some additional value-added features for an edge above their competitors. Some basic features which ExpressText offers include monitoring, convenience, communication and organisation

Monitoring

These features allow a company or individual to assess the performance of their SMS marketing campaign. Graphed reports are available which display the number of messages unopened as well as read and the number of responses. This can be very helpful for a corporate company. For example, their SMS campaigns are not improving sales. The graphed reports can pinpoint where the exact problem lies. With this information at hand, the SMS campaign can be improved effectively.

Convenience

Convenience refers to the ease of use. While businesses should hire a professional marketing team, running an SMS platform does not require a highly skilled employee. ExpressText offers help videos with easy contact upload and simple billing. Since messages can be scheduled, an employee does not have to be tied to his/her work desk. Flexible hours and working from home can make work life much easier.

Communication

SMS platforms offering good communication features can make all the difference. Platforms like ExpressText allow for 2 way messaging. In simpler terms, this means that recipients are allowed to respond back to a message. In today’s consumer-generated market, customers want as much information as possible. 2-way messaging allows them to convey all their queries and complaints to the business. A good corporation is likely to have 24-hour customer support via SMS. It’s fast, convenient and personal.  

Advanced features

Text blasts have significantly developed over the years. Many new and advanced features are also available to organizations, thanks to technology. One very useful feature is hyperlinking. Since business text messages are short and usually have a character limit, they can only contain basic information. However, many times consumers may be interested in knowing details, for example, the location of the company. A hyperlink is a perfect solution to this problem. It emits the issue of lower open rates. If text messages were longer, they would become monotonous for consumers who were not looking for details. A hyperlink takes up minimal space and aids consumers by providing easy access to abundant information. 

Statistics

Some of the most fascinating statistics about text blasts include:  

  1. 83% of millennials open text messages within 90 seconds of receiving them  
  1. 75%of millennials prefer SMS for deliveries, promotions and surveys  
  1. SMS produces engagement that is 6 to 8 times higher than that of email marketing  
  1. Studies show that 48% of customers prefer to receive loyalty related messages via SMS 
  1. 62% of cellphone users check their devices immediately after waking up  

Source: EZ Texting 

  1. Smartphone users in the US send and receive text messages 5 times more than they make phone calls  
  1. 91% of smartphone users in a study who opted into SMS campaigns found the text messages to be useful  
  1. 82% of consumers keep SMS notifications switched on  
  1. 97% of Americans text at least once a day  
  1. Smartphone users spend 22% of their time using SMS, while dedicating only 10% of their time to emails  

Source: TextMagic 

Legalities

The only caution that businesses and entrepreneurs need to be aware of when sending out text blasts is the legal repercussions of not abiding by the law. As mentioned previously in the article, SMS marketing is a permission-based service. Organisations and business individuals who breach this law by sending text messages to consumers without their consent can potentially face lawsuits, thus tarnishing the reputation of their company.  

However, other than this, there is no downside to SMS marketing. If used properly, it can generate high returns for businesses. 

In conclusion, it can be established that text blasts are the most effective method of marketing in comparison to other channels – be it online, phone marketing or conventional methods. Its benefits significantly outweigh the downsides, which are minimal. Moreover, customers have become more involved and more influential in the buying process. They demand intimacy, responsiveness and convenience all at the same time. Text blasts are perhaps the only medium of communication that can deliver all this at once, and that too at a minimal price! They are suited for businesses of all types and sizes – both profit and non-profit organisations as well as small and larger businesses.  

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