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The Difference Between Group Message & Mass Text Messages

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Many users get confused between group messages and mass text messages. While the two sound and appear similar, there’s a thin line that differentiates them. Let’s dig into the details!

What Are Group Messages?

A group message involves three or more recipients. The most interesting thing about group messages is that you do not need to invest in software to send group messages. Most mobile devices offer this functionality. There is, however, a limit on the number of recipients.

The maximum number of recipients depends largely on your mobile device and carrier. Older phones may only offer up to 10 recipients, but some newer models may allow you to choose up to 30 recipients.

Group messages are typically sent as an MMS and must be enabled from the settings, but the process is fairly easy. Simply go to your contacts and create a group of recipients. You can have several groups and name them accordingly.

While group messages are an easy way to send a text message, the limit on the number of recipients can be a problem. Plus, since they’re sent as MMS, not all phones may support group messages.

Group messages are not counted as a single message, i.e: if you have 10 recipients, you will be charged for 10 messages. Similarly, the phone may or may not open 10 different threads, which may also make it a bit difficult to manage all the conversations. In addition, all responses from your recipients will be received by every contact in the group text, which may not be ideal if you're sending out an announcement or asking a question that requires a response. To complicate matters more, if each of your contacts has a different brand of phone, the responses might show up both in the group chat and in individual messages to each recipient. 

What Are Mass Text Messages?

Mass text messages, as the name suggests, are used to text a large number of people at once. You will need special software or a mass texting agency to send messages.

There is generally no limit on the maximum number of messages when it comes to mass texting, but some software may not be able to send more than a few thousand text messages at once. Regardless, the limits will be much higher than the limits on group messages. At Text-Em-All, we work with your specific needs to adjust your limits with the carriers and help you send as many messages as you need. This can be extremely helpful for appointment reminders or enterprise business texting, where you need to send tens of thousands of messages at once.

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What Should I Choose?

Group messages are useful if you have a small list of recipients and want each member of the group message to see each others' responses. On the other hand, mass messages are useful when you have a huge list of recipients, you want to send them all the same message, and want to be able to start individual, two-way conversations with contacts who respond.

Group messages may appear to be affordable, but the cost per message can be very high if you have a huge list of recipients. Plus, responding to each message can be time-consuming as well since there are no automated options. Many mass messaging services offer automation features such as auto-replies and keywords that can help you respond to your contacts quickly without much effort. 

Why Group Messaging Doesn't Cut It

As mentioned earlier, group messaging is only viable if you only have a few people you want to reach at a time. Aside from the technical limitations of some carriers, phones, and operating systems that may max out your group messaging list at 10, 30, or some other arbitrary number, it's just not possible to effectively run a mass texting campaign for your business from a personal phone or handheld device. 

Never mind the confusion of trying to manage dozens of conversations at once on top of any texting you might already be doing, but group messaging is really only for smaller groups, not the large-scale dissemination of information that you'll need to kick off that campaign.

The good news is that mass texting is easy if you work with the right partner (psst!), and has a much better open and response rate than email.  

Is Business Texting Legal?

Yes! As long as your customers have given consent or requested to receive texts from you, you're free to message them as a business either in group messaging or via a mass texting program. That means they'll need to have signed up to receive texts from you before you can start sending anything, and it also means that if anyone requests to be removed, you have to honor their request. We make managing all this simple in our mass texting platform through an automated opt-out process, which is why we'd never suggest anyone try to go it alone with group messaging.

What Is the Texting Limit?

For group messaging, you'll only be able to send texts to a handful of recipients at once. But the problem is that each recipient will be able to see others' replies on the thread, which could be a privacy concern or frustrating for your contacts that don't want their phone to keep buzzing with responses. With mass texting, you can send texts to as many recipients as you'd like while keeping everything separate. When a contact replies, the message thread will be converted into a  private one-on-one conversation. As long as you're abiding by federal and local laws and the terms and conditions of the platform, you can reach all of your customers with just a quick click.

How Can I Text Existing Customers?

While it's true that you need consent before you can start texting customers, there are several ways to convert your existing customers into SMS subscribers, including offering new communication preferences and more. We also have additional ways to help bring over your existing customers to text-based communication baked right into our platform, which makes the process seamless for you and your customers.

Is Mass Texting Affordable?

While running a group messaging campaign from your person handset or finding a free mass messaging service might be slightly more affordable — you get what you pay for! But this doesn't mean that mass text messaging has to break the bank. In fact, mass texting is one of the most affordable ways to reach your customer base because, comparatively speaking, it's relatively inexpensive, and it really works. Almost 98 percent of people read every text they get, and nine out of 10 will actually read a text within a few seconds of receipt.

What Types of Businesses Can Benefit From Mass Texting?

If you think that mass texting is only for certain types of businesses, think again. Businesses and organizations of all sizes can leverage mass texting to save time and money and create better relationships with their customers. Whether you're an accountant, a car dealership, a religious organization, a doctor or dental office, an e-commerce company — or you're in hospitality, non-profits, politics, real estate, retail, education, or anything else — you can do more with mass texting.

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