Everything to Know Before You Send Texts From a Computer

Everything to Know Before You Send Texts From a Computer

send texts from computer

Trying to figure out how to send a text from your computer? Deciding between a free online text platform or a paid one? If you’re not familiar with online texting you might be surprised to learn that you actually can receive and send texts from a computer to a cell phone. These services are particularly helpful for businesses sending text messages or for those who prefer to provide one-on-one customer service over text message. Because this marketing strategy has been gaining traction, there are many free online texting platforms and paid online texting platforms to choose from.  

If you’ve been searching for a new way to reach your audience, SMS messaging online might be an option for you but it’s crucial to choose the right platform so you can set yourself up for success. Here’s what you need to know before experimenting with texting online.

Why send an SMS from your computer?

More and more businesses are turning to text messaging to enhance their marketing and communications strategies. Though it can be hard to get customers to pick up the phone or read your company’s email, research shows 98% of people open branded text messages.

Of course, it doesn’t make sense for most business owners to individually text all of the numbers on their list. You need a mass texting service to reach many people and do so automatically. That’s one of the benefits that sending a text message from your computer offers.

It can also help you text your customers in a professional way. Instead of using your personal cell phone to send text messages, sending a text from a computer allows multiple customer service representatives to reply to a query and allows you to choose which number you’ll text from.

You’ll want to take care that you’re developing automatic text messaging campaigns that are personalized to your customers and that you’re contacting them in a legal and valuable way. While texting from your computer can be a great strategy to develop brand loyalty and drive sales, it’s possible to drive people away if done the wrong way.

What to know before you send texts from a computer

Sending branded text messages is highly regulated by the U.S. government. Here are some regulations and best practices to know.

1. Have your mobile subscribers opt-in

You can’t just start text messaging anyone for your SMS marketing campaign. The people you text have to consent to receive text messages from your business. This is called getting your mobile subscribers to “opt-in.” There are two general ways you can do this. The most common is to have them text a short code from their with a designated word that you’ve chosen which will then automatically enroll them onto your list.

The first text you’ll send your subscribers after they do this has to follow some guidelines. It should include:

  • Your business name.
  • Instructions on how the receiver can stop getting texts from you.
  • Instructions on how they can get help if they don’t understand.
  • How frequent you’ll text them.
  • A reminder that their carrier’s rates may apply to all text messages.
  • A link to your privacy policy.

Another option is to have your subscribers opt-in from the web. In this version, they’ll enter their information into an easy-to-make online template that will then enroll them onto your list. Next, they’ll receive an automatic text from you to confirm their subscription.

2. Don’t use prohibited language

When you’re texting your friends and family there’s no limit to what you’re allowed to say. But when it comes to sending a business text message using a shortcode, there are some restrictions on what you can talk about and what words you can use. In general, the following are prohibited:

  • Adult content.
  • Content that endorses violent or illegal acts.
  • Profanity or hate speech.
  • Content regarding illegal substances.

Staying away from these topics keeps you well inside the regulations for sending a business text online.

3. Yes, you need a privacy policy

When it comes to sending marketing messages over text, privacy is of the utmost importance. Your privacy is the chance to let your customers know why you’re collecting phone numbers, what you’ll do with them and who you’ll share the numbers with. Not only does it help you stay within the law, but it can build trust with customers by showing your commitment to protecting their privacy.

Can online texting help your business?

Depending on what industry you’re in, you’ll find that SMS marketing has different applications. SMS marketing tactics include strategies such as:

  • Sending a mobile coupon to subscribers. Have empty tables over the dinner hour that you want to fill? Have extra bread that will go stale before the end of the day? If you need to draw a crowd to your establishment, send them a coupon with an exclusive offer and an expiration date. Something such as “Receive free breadsticks with the purchase of every pizza from now until 8PM” could serve to drive traffic quickly.
  • Efficiently schedule automatic appointment reminders. Getting customers to confirm an appointment by simply replying “Yes” to your message is a lot easier than calling, leaving a voicemail and hoping they’ll call back. Streamline your process using online texting to create hassle-free workflows.
  • Grow your audience with a text-to-win campaign. Get mobile users to text in for a chance to win and exclusive prize. Grow your list for future marketing opportunities by giving people the choice to opt-in to your messages.  

Free online texting vs. paid online texting

If you’re interested in sending text messages from your computer to help your business but not sure where to start, you might consider trying an online texting platform to experiment. There are a lot of providers out there you could choose between, some of which are free and others that cost money. It’s important to compare providers and find the best fit for you so you don’t waste your time with a solution that isn’t robust enough to really make a difference in your business.

Here are some criteria to consider when comparing free online texting platforms with paid ones.

1. Is the provider legally compliant?

There are strong rules governing elements of branded text messaging, but not every online platform adheres to them. Usually, free online texting services have the highest risk of being noncompliant.

What’s at stake? At the least, you may experience outages with a noncompliant provider as they can be subject to being shut down when they’re found to be out of compliance. At the worst, you could find yourself embroiled in a legal battle.

Another challenge to watch out for is the potential that any numbers you add to your list with a noncompliant platform could possibly not be accepted by another platform, should you choose to change services. If you can’t clearly show opt-in dates for the numbers on your list, you could face some challenges when switching providers in the future.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to start with a reputable platform when experimenting with text message marketing. You’ll want to make sure the provider has a clear anti-spam policy. Here’s an example of SlickText’s anti-spam policy you can use as a guide.

2. Do they offer a text messaging app for convenience?

If you’re using online texting for business there’s probably going to be a time when you want to check your business texts on-the-go. This is especially important if you’re a small business owner and providing one-on-one lead nurturing or customer support. You don’t want to feel tied to your computer screen after you set up texting for your business. Finding a platform with flexibility is key to starting a strong text message marketing program. Sending free texts online might work for right now, but finding a solution that has more robust offerings could give you a way to get better at sending mass text messages. 

3. Will the platform scale with your business?

You might simply be experimenting with online text messaging for now, but in the future could decide to grow into more enterprise solutions for business. Assume you’re going to have success with your online text messaging efforts and plan accordingly so that you can grow in the future. If you start with a free online texting program that doesn’t offer a wide range of business options you can scale up to, then you’ll eventually have to switch to a different text message marketing platform. Finding a platform that fits your needs now and will grow with you is key to avoiding growth pains later.

4. Personal texting or mass text messaging for business?

Are you looking for a platform that will facilitate personal online texting or are you looking for a platform that can serve your business needs? This will help you immediately rule out a lot of providers. If your primary purpose is business texting then it’s important to go with a provider who caters to businesses and can anticipate the pain points of your situation to help you grow your business.

Experiment with texting from your computer

If you’re still on the fence about whether sending mass texts from your computer is the right marketing strategy for your business, the best way to know is to try it out. You don’t have to commit a huge amount of your marketing budget to experiment. SlickText offers a basic plan of $29 a month, which includes 500 texts and two text words. That’s definitely enough to get going and discover if this is the right platform for you.

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