How to Send and Manage Group Messages
With Text Request group messaging, you can send the same message to as many people as you want simultaneously. Below we’ll show you:
- How our group messaging works
- How to send a group message
- What a Text Merge message is and how to send one
- How to monitor group message progress
- What to do with replies
- And how make sense of your group message analytics
Our group messaging has been designed specifically for business. You can send one message to a group of people, or to multiple groups at the same time. Groups can hold as many contacts as you want, and can be customized to suit your needs. For details on creating and editing groups, view our Group Contacts page.
When you send a group message, it goes to all recipients. But - like a BCC email - no one can see who else the message went to. It will appear to them like any other individual message, so you don’t have to worry about contact’s seeing each other’s information, or about creating a group chat.
Any replies to group messages also come directly back to you, not to the group, and start one-on-one conversations.
There are two ways to send a group message.
New Group Message
Go to Group Messages under of the Messages menu and click the New Group Message button. There are three steps to send a group message: add recipients, compose your message, and confirm and send.
Step 1: Add recipients
- Add individuals by typing their name or number into the "Add an Individual" bar. Click add or hit enter to add the contact.
- Select a saved group from the "Add a Group" drop down.
- You can also paste in phone numbers or upload a file containing numbers through the "Upload or paste" link.
All contacts will appear in the Recipients field as part of a pill. Groups you've added get their own pill while all other contacts will be added to the "Individual Recipients" pill. Click on a pill to view and edit the contacts in it. If you make any changes, be sure to click Save.
Before you can proceed to the next step, confirm you have permission to text all contacts that have been added as recipients by clicking the check box. If you have not received permission from each contact, remove the contacts you have not received permission from, and review our SMS 101 page.
Step 2: Compose your Message
- Type your message. It’s best to keep your message below 160 characters (there’s a character counter to help). Your message can be longer, but messages over 160 characters send as multiple texts, and count towards your monthly total usage. For more details, view our SMS 101 page.
- *Choose whether to include a signature. If applicable, select Choose under Signature and pick a signature to use. For more details, view our Signatures page.
- *Choose whether to include a saved response. If applicable, select the Saved Responses link and pick a Saved Response (your selection will populate in the Message field). For more details, view our Saved Responses page.
- *Choose whether to include an attachment. Click Choose under Attachment and select a file from your computer. Attachments can be JPG, PNG, or GIF files that are 5MB or less. Note: Each attachment counts as an additional text towards your usage.
- *Decide if you want to send your message now, or schedule it to send at a future time. To schedule your message, select Scheduled and pick a date and time for your message to start sending.
- Once you're satisfied with your message, click Next.
*=All of these steps can be accessed by clicking "Show additional options"
Step 3: Confirm
The last step is to confirm and Send/Schedule your group message. On this screen you can review your message, your total recipients, and when it will be sent. You can always go back and make changes to your recipients or message.
Pay special attention to the time to send to ensure your contacts receive the message at a reasonable hour.
Also, double check the "Total texts." This is what will be counted towards your monthly total usage.
Once you're happy with your message just click Send/Schedule to initiate your group message.
All users can send group messages, but only Managers and Administrators can create or edit group contacts.
For compliance, an opt out message automatically sends the first time you text a new contact. For more details, view our SMS 101 page.
Another Message to the Same Group(s)
If at anytime you want to send another message to the same collection of contacts you previously sent a group message to, follow these steps.
- Go to Group Messages.
- Locate the group message block sent to your target collection of contacts. You can click the blue graph button (it will turn green when your mouse moves over it) to get a detailed list of all contacts that message was sent to.
- Click the blue speech bubble button in the bottom right corner of the block (it will turn green when your mouse moves over it) to create another message pre-addressed to the same contacts.
- Add or remove any additional contacts or groups.
- Follow steps listed above.
Every time you send a group message, we'll scan your message for carrier spam filter indicators, and alert you of our findings. This should help you improve delivery rates by avoiding spam filters, and increase engagement with your messages.
The SPAM Scanner in particular looks for:
- The use of ALL CAPS
- Ending a message with a URL/link
- Including a long link instead of a short link (https://www.textrequest.com instead of bit.ly/1Sw1JKH)
- The use of dollar signs
- Email addresses
A Text Merge message is a group message with customizeable fields that allow you to personalize each message to the individual receiving it. For instance, you could have a merge field for the contact's first name and the date of their appointment. It would look like this:
Hi [First Name]! Quick reminder about your cleaning appointment on [Date]. Please confirm, or let us know if you need to reschedule.
But it would send like this:
Hi Katherine! Quick reminder about your cleaning appointment on Dec. 4. Please confirm, or let us know if you need to reschedule.
These group messages can make your life way easier (you can even schedule these messages to send later), and personalization like this is proven to increase sales and customer loyalty. So how do you send a Text Request Text Merge message?
How to Send a Text Merge Message
Step 1: Compose a message.
Go to your Group Messages tab and click the "Send a text merge message" link in the bottom toward the top of the page.
Step 2: Upload your list.
Make sure your list is properly formatted. Column headers need to be in the first row. Phone numbers need to be in the first column. You can upload either a .csv or .xlsx file. If you have blank fields in your list, you'll receive an error message while uploading.
Once your list is uploaded, you'll see the total number of contacts found. You can click the View Contacts button to review or remove contacts as needed. You'll also see Merge fields listed - one for each of your column headers.
To move forward, you must agree that you have permission to text each of the contacts. If you do not have permission, do proceed. If you are unsure, review the Permissions section of our SMS 101 guide.
Step 3: Create and send your message.
Click on a merge field to insert that column's information into your message.
Note the character counter below your message. Whenever you add a merge field, the average character count for that column is added to your character count. The final, actual number of characters and texts sent may be different than stated.
Add a signature or attachment (picture) as needed. Choose whether to send the message now or to schedule it to send later. Then confirm the message is how you want it. That's all!
Group messages send in batches of 50 messages every five minutes, or about 500 messages an hour. This is to keep your text number on good terms with mobile phone carriers. For more details, view our SMS 101 page.
You can monitor the status of your group messages, including how many messages have been sent and their delivery status, from the Group Message Details screen. To view:
- Go to Group Messages.
- Click on the group message block you wish to view.
You’ll see a detailed list of contacts and the message that was sent to them.
Because group messages send as individual messages to multiple people, all replies start one-on-one conversations. And because they start one-on-one conversations, replies to group messages appear in your Conversations dashboard on the Messages menu. From there, you can handle them just like you would any other incoming message. For more details, view our Individual Messages page.
After you send a group message, you'll see a section for Message Analytics on that group message's details page. To find this, go to Group Messages and click on the message block for which you want to view analytics.
Here's what you'll see:
- Number of contacts your message was Sent to
- Number of contacts your message was Delivered to
- Number of Errors (contacts your message was not delivered to, such as those who had previously opted out)
- Number of unique Responses from contacts
- Number of Opt-Outs
A response is defined as an inbound message from a contact when the last message they received was the group message, and their response came within 24 hours of the group message.
An opt-out is credited to your group message when the group message was the last message received by the contact before opting out (texting STOP), and the contact opts-out within 24 hours of receiving the group message.