Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Disaster SMS Campaign Using iMessage To Send Bulk SMS – Big No No!

A business owner called us recently in a bit of a pickle….let’s called him John.

John was new to the world of SMS, as most people are, and decided to send a text message to his client database .

All good so far. He had his iPhone, and someone told him that he could send free SMS via Apple’s iMessage program.

Cheap way to do a marketing campaign…….you’d think.

Except for 2 things:

you can only use this with other people who have iMessage and an iPhone (a lot of of people use Android phones these days so you may miss many customers).
iMessage is meant to be used as a Group Conversation…my 18 year old niece loves it as all of her friends keep up with the gossip of the day.
So John carefully composes his first ever SMS message to his loyal customers promoting his weekly specials, and BLASTED it out to 600 people on the Group setting.

Luckily for John, at least half of his customers also had iMessage installed.

Unluckily for John, when a lovely client replied to his message asking him what time he closed, the other 599 people also got this message.

Then an angry person replied WHO IS THIS?

The other 599 people also got this…then other people started replying…and everyone got multiple messages and got caught in this loop….you can imagine the chaos!

John called us in a flat panic as a few very very angry customers had called him with some choice words.

He needed to send an urgent apology from a proper bulk messaging platform, which we were happy to do, and got the message out in 15 minutes after setting him up with an account.

We monitored the replies, and got a lot of STOP requests, which we expected. John also received replies from upset customers whose phones seized up trying to cope with 599 messages coming in every 10 seconds.

It finally died down around 2am! A few people were also angry that their privacy may have been breached as their email addresses also show up on iMessage.

We used to see this in the early days of email marketing when you plop a bunch of email addresses into the TO: or CC: address bar and press SEND…not realising that everybody else can see your other clients’ email addresses…a bit of a privacy oops.

Free programs like iMessage are great, but they are not geared for bulk SMS. They are for a bunch of friends or colleagues…certainly not for 600 of your customers!

John lost a few customers but now he uses the bulk text platform to send his weekly specials. The system manages opt-outs automatically, plus he gets replies forwarded to his email address for free, so if he can’t login to view the Replies, he has a copy sent to his email, so he does not miss any customer queries or complaints.