Textlocal Mobile Marketing FAQs and Help Centre

If you have any questions about mobile marketing or Textlocal Messenger, read these FAQs. If you cant find what you're looking for call our support team

Discover our dedicated library of support videos from sending SMS, creating contact groups and managing your account.

General Questions

What is an SMS gateway?

An SMS gateway is the means through which a computer can send or receive SMS messages. Often allowing for the conversion and sending of other forms of media or message (such as email), SMS gateways will generally use the same mobile phone networks as the messages sent from mobile phones.

Are there any contracts or commitments with Messenger?

There are no contracts involved in running a Messenger account – it all works on a pay as you go basis, so you can send text messages with no hassle. If you purchase any inbound systems, they have a minimum term of one month which is renewable.

Do I need a mobile phone?

You do not need a mobile phone; messages are sent and received from Messenger. It is all web-based so you don’t need to download anything. All you need is an internet-enabled PC, Mac or Tablet.

Can I see how many credits will be used before I hit send?

Before you send a message, you will be presented with a pop-up box. This preview screen confirms your message content, sender name, contact group etc. as well as how many credits this send will use.

Can I cancel a scheduled message?

You can view and amend or cancel all scheduled messages in the Reports section of Messenger.

Does Textlocal provide data?

We do not provide data, however we do offer an SMS Short Number which is extremely effective in collecting opt-in numbers from your customers and can be used alongside any text marketing activity.

Who can use Textlocal services?

Any UK business, society or community group can use Textlocal to reach out to customers, staff or members with SMS, instantly connecting to people wherever they are. With different levels of service, there’s something to suit an organisation regardless of size.

What is the difference between SMS and MMS? 

SMS stands for Short Message Service and refers to sending short text messages from one device to another. MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. MMS is an expansion of the SMS format that is able to send larger quantities of information per individual message. With an MMS, you’re able to send multimedia content types including video, images and audio to another device.

Can people opt-out of my SMS marketing?

Yes, people can opt-out of your SMS marketing using your free, randomly generated keyword that is given to you when you open the account. The opt-out instructions will be the keyword followed by the word STOP to 60777 (UK only), or simply the word STOP to a Virtual Inbound Number (available at extra cost).

Alternatively, we also include a URL based opt-out option for your clients, ideal for non-UK traffic.

When one of your users chooses to opt-out of your SMS communications, their phone number will be automatically removed from all of your contact lists and added to your opt-out list. This opt-out list can be viewed, edited and exported for further use. The opt-out will block any messages being sent to this number from your account again until the sender chooses to opt back in. If you upload the number to your contact groups again by mistake, again the system will remove this for you, ensuring the opt-out is maintained.

How secure is my data?

Your data is completely safe. Textlocal does not share or pass on any of your data, including the mobile numbers you upload. Your data will only be used for your SMS marketing. For further information see our SLA.

How can I check if a message has been sent?

The Reports section of your Messenger shows if a message has been delivered or undelivered, if it’s pending or if the number was invalid.

Will my SMS credits expire?

Your SMS credits will never expire and are available for use as long your account remains in use.

When was Textlocal established?

Textlocal was established in 2005 by Alastair Shortland and Darren Daws.

Who is Textlocal owned by?

Textlocal was acquired by imimobile in 2014. As of 2021, imimobile and Textlocal are part of Webex by Cisco.

Can I use Textlocal to receive OTP?

Our inbound services will only support inbound SMS from actual handsets. We do not support Application-to-Application messages, such as verification codes, social invites or OTP.

Receiving SMS

Can I receive replies?

If you use a sender name, for example your company name, people cannot text back as the receiving phone cannot tell where the message originated without a phone number. To receive replies, your outgoing SMS must be from a number. This can be either your own mobile number, meaning the replies will be delivered to your handset, or a Virtual Inbound Number which we can supply.

Alternatively, for a few credits more, you can use our Simple Reply Service. We will allocate a Virtual Inbound Number to each group of messages you send out, each message using 1.5 credits.

What is the cost of receiving replies?

There is no additional cost for the inbound element of the conversation. The cost for Simple Reply Service is selected at point of send. The sender will be charged at their standard network rate.

Why can’t I receive replies when using a sender name?

By using a sender name, you are overriding the number the message comes from. This means that the receiving phone cannot decipher where the message has originated in order to send a reply.

What is a Short Number?

A Short Number, also known as a ‘short code’, is an abbreviated phone number, and in the context of mobile marketing, these allow for consumers who have received a marketing message to easily respond.

For example, if you were looking to increase the number of recipients of your marketing messages, use a call to action with the message “To opt-in to receive further marketing communications send ‘OPT-IN’ to 60777”. In this instance, ‘60777’ is the Short Number, which would direct the message to our servers. Upon reading the keyword ‘OPT-IN’, our software will automatically sort the number that sent the message into your business’ opt-in database.

Can I charge people to text my Short Number?

We do not offer premium rate services.

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is a requirement when using any kind of shared number. The message must start with the keyword so the Textlocal system can direct the message to the correct inbox. Try and keep your keyword as simple as possible to avoid mistakes.

How do I see my received messages?

All the messages you receive online will appear in your Textlocal Messenger inbox. This inbox works just like your email inbox.

How long do messages stay in my inbox?

Messages will stay in your Messenger inbox permanently. You can easily export these to an Excel file for your own records.

Can I receive text messages as an email?

All inbound messages sent to Messenger will be automatically forwarded to you via email. You can select up to 20 email addresses for the messages to be forwarded to for each live inbox. This is free.

Can you forward a message I receive to my number?

We can automatically forward inbound messages to your handset. This costs 1 message credit. You can set this up in the settings area of your inbox.

Can I receive personal messages?

Inbound services are available for business users only.

How can I receive text messages online?

Using a Virtual Inbound Number or Short Number, you can receive text messages from UK customers at no extra cost. It’s free for you to receive the message and only costs the customer their standard network cost. All messages will appear in your Messenger account. You can also choose to automatically forward all inbound messages to you via email for free.

Short Numbers will only work from handsets registered in the same country as the code. Our 60777 and 66777 Short Numbers work only in the UK. However, for Ireland, we own the Short Code 51777 and Textlocal has access to Short Codes in more than 20 other countries.

How can I get a free UK Short Number? 

Textlocal offers a free UK Short Number with every Messenger account, along with a free unique Keyword. This comes as standard and it’s free to receive texts to your Messenger account. Any message sent to a shared Textlocal short number with your keyword at the beginning will automatically be forwarded to your Messenger account.

There are additional options to personalise Keywords and Short Numbers. The short number only works on handsets in the country it is registered to. For more info on Short Numbers, see the page on receiving SMS.

Can people text my Short Number or Virtual Inbound Number from abroad?

Short Numbers are country specific.

Only UK +44 numbers will be able to text into UK Short Numbers. Only Ireland +353 numbers can text into the Irish 51777 Short number.

Our Virtual Inbound Numbers (long numbers that looks like this +447XXXXXXXXX) are also designed to work in-country. If wish to have two-way traffic with a specific international destination, a dedicated number for that country would be a better solution (subject to availability). Please speak to our Sales team to discuss your requirements.

Does a Virtual Inbound Number need a keyword?

A Virtual Inbound Number allows you to receive all inbound traffic to that number, regardless of what the content starts with. You do have the additional option to segment by keywords if you wish to (if you have multiple marketing campaigns).

International Sends

Can I send messages outside of the UK?

Yes, we do support enterprise businesses in sending messages internationally. To benefit from global reach and share messages with international customers, your account manager will need to enable the feature. To ensure your business qualifies for access, the support team will need to validate your company details. Contact us at support@textlocal.com to request to have this feature activated.

Can you send to the US?

We currently offer transactional SMS to USA numbers. To send to the USA, your text message will need to have a US sender ID. To activate a US sender ID, the cost is £150 setup and £50 per month rental, ex vat. Messages will cost 1 credit per 160 characters (based on £ sterling billing).

Please note; marketing messages are not supported to the USA. We can only support two way and transactional SMS communications to USA numbers.

You must not send more than 1 SMS per second per sender ID. Each sender ID is limited to 250 SMS sends per day. If this is exceeded, your number will be blocked and will no longer work. If you need to send more than this, you need to purchase additional sender IDs and spread the traffic across the different IDs.

If you would like to purchase a US sender ID please contact your Account Manager, or our Sales team.

Can you send to non-EU countries?

Textlocal allows you to connect with any mobile phone in over 200 countries. Depending on the country you are sending to, the message will cost you between 0.2 and 2.5 credits. International credit multipliers are available here – https://www.textlocal.com/product/international-sms/

Can I send in other languages?

As standard you can use the GSM character set. If you are a business user and you require Unicode please contact support@textlocal.com

Please note, a Unicode message will be at most 70 characters per SMS message, instead of 160 characters for GSM.

Sending SMS

Can the sender name be my business name, rather than a number?

Yes it can, as long as it is 11 characters or less. Sender names are a great way to enhance brand awareness. You can create as many sender names as you wish, at no extra cost.

How long does it take to send SMS in bulk?

Our typical processing speed is within 3 seconds. For larger campaigns we also offer API and SFTP integrations.

How many characters can fit in a message?

One SMS credit will use up 160 characters, 161 characters will use two credits and so on. It states clearly when typing your message how many characters you have used and how many credits your text will use up so you can edit this accordingly.

Are there SMS packages for bulk sends that reduce my costs?

Yes there are, the more credits you buy the cheaper it gets. To see a list of our bulk SMS prices, please sign up or log in to see our bundle prices.

Can I schedule messages to be sent at a later date?

Yes, it’s easy to queue text messages for delivery. Choose to schedule them to be sent only after specific times and dates. You can also set an end date for your message to expire, to prevent it being sent out after a specified date. Staggering messages is also possible, to allow time to handle responses instead of being overwhelmed by many at once. If you need to change the time and date the send is scheduled for you can do so via the reports section of Messenger.

Can I merge data into my messages?

Yes, you can merge data into your messages by inputting the information into your Excel spreadsheet. Once you have uploaded the file you can make sure each column heading is relevant to the information stored in each column.

Why are my messages using up two credits?

A message will use over one credit if you do either of the following:

  • You are using over 160 characters per message.
  • You have opted to use the simple reply service which uses 1.5 credits per message.
  • You have merged data into your message which is increasing the characters.
  • The message contains Unicode (this is an optional setting on your account)
  • You have sent to international dialling codes, please see international pricing for a full list.

Does the delivery time differ from country to country?

Messages are processed for delivery within 3 seconds. Onward delivery of the SMS to the final handset delivery is reliant on networks involved, cell site coverage and handset connection.

What support do I get creating SMS campaigns?

Using our award-winning SMS platform sending messages is simple, however if you would like help managing or sending your bulk SMS campaigns, then please consider using our managed services or contact our friendly support team for help.

Can I integrate the Textlocal SMS gateway into my application?

Yes, our SMS gateway can be used reliably from any email software, server or CRM application. Access to the gateway is free and allows the user to send SMS to an unlimited number of recipients. Simply sign up for a free Messenger account.

Can I recall my messages after they are sent?

Before you send a message, you are presented with a confirmation pop up box. This screen confirms your sender name and if replies will be permitted, who or what group will receive your message, how many credits your send will use, when the message will be sent and finally the message content.

Unfortunately, as we offer this information before you send your message, we’re unable to recall a message due to the delivery speed being 3 – 5 seconds and we do not offer any refund of credits for messages sent out in error.

Email to SMS

What is Email to SMS?

Email to SMS is a built-in feature of Messenger which allows you to send and receive SMS from your Email application.

How do I set up Email to SMS?

You can set up your email address, sender names, message length and security in the Email to SMS settings within your settings tab.

How do I send an Email to SMS?

Simply send an email to anymobilenumber@txtlocal.co.uk from your registered Textlocal accounts address. To send from other addresses simply add them as aliases on your Settings->Email to SMS settings page.

How do I stop my email signature being included?

To indicate the end of your message simply include ## and any text following this will not be included.

How much does Email to SMS cost?

Email to SMS costs the same as sending SMS from your Textlocal account.

Who does the message appear to come from?

You can select what you want the sender name to be by entering this in the subject field in this format: sender=YOURNAME. This is optional; if you choose to not enter anything in here your default sender name will be used.

What email service provider do I need?

Email to SMS works with any email service provider.

What address do I send the email to when sending to a group?

Each group created in your Messenger has a group ID which can be found in your reports section and then Advanced Reports. To send email to SMS to this group use the address format: tlgrpXXXX@txtlocal.co.uk.

What address do I send the email to when sending to a single contact?

Use the format 077XXXXXXXX@txtlocal.co.uk you can add as many single contacts as you wish by adding to the ‘to’ and ‘cc’ fields and also within the body of the email.

Charities

What are the benefits of a UK charity account?

If you are a registered UK charity, then you can benefit from a flat rate of 2.8p per text (UK only sends). Specially tailored for charities, Textlocal provides the lowest cost possible for text credits, enabling you to enhance communications with supporters, colleagues and potential donors.

Do I qualify for a charity account?

You must have a registered charity number and have an email account registered at that charity’s domain address. To apply for a charity account, click on the charity button in Settings.

Mobile Web Pages

Can I create a Mobile Web Page myself?

Yes, you can use the free Mobile Web Page creation tool within your Textlocal account.

What is a Mobile Web Page?

A Mobile Web Page/ site is designed especially for the smaller screens of mobile phones. It will improve the customer experience for people visiting your page/ site on their mobile handsets.

How do I send a Mobile Web Page?

You can send a link to your mobile page via SMS.

Do I have to have multiple pages?

No, you can create single pages. For example, you could take an existing customer email campaign and turn it into a Mobile Web Page.

Can you create a Mobile Web Page for me?

Our Managed Services team can help create these for you, cost-efficiently. Contact us for a quote.

MMS

What is an MMS message?

An MMS is a message that contains either a picture, video or sound file. These can be sent and received in your Textlocal Messenger account. Please note MMS can only be sent to the UK.

Developer Interface

What is a text messaging API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API allows for easy communication between two pieces of software; acting as a translator or go-between. In the context of text marketing, an API translates the information that you enter into a text marketing programme into a format appropriate for sending over a mobile phone network, or vice versa.

How long does it take to set up?

It only takes 15 minutes to be up and running. See our Developers page to see example documentation and code examples. http://api.txtlocal.com/docs/

How much does it cost to use the API?

The API is FREE to use. You just need to pay for the credits to send the messages.

Pricing and Purchasing

Is Messenger really free to use?

Yes, you simply purchase SMS text bundles and we even have a price match promise. If you find prices cheaper elsewhere, we’ll do our best to match it.

How can I buy credits?

You can purchase bundles of credits up to 25,000 online with a credit or debit card or PayPal. Alternatively, if you wish to pay by bank transfer, contact the team to request an invoice – subject to minimum of £100 value. The credits will be added upon receipt of payment.

Where can I find my online invoices?

Your online invoices can be found under the Reports tab in Messenger, under the invoices option.

How do I buy a Virtual Inbound Number or Short Number?

Any inbound number can be purchased via the inbox section in Messenger. Click ‘create a new inbox’ to proceed.

Am I tied into any contracts?

No, you pay for the number of credits you need and inboxes for as long as you require them for.

Can I pay by Direct Debit?

No but we do offer auto top-ups.

How much does it cost to send a message?

Whether you’re sending 500 or 50,000 text messages, Textlocal can find the price plan to suit your business needs. Our platform is full of fantastic features to really help drive the delivery of your business messaging.

Whatever your requirements, our direct carrier relationships and price match promise guarantees that we can’t be beaten on price.

How do I make sure I don’t run out of credits?

Within your Messenger account settings, you can choose to add an alert to your SMS credit balance. You can add up to four alert thresholds, choosing additional email addresses that you’d like to be notified as well as a contact number to send an SMS to. This will cost one SMS credit.

Can I add credits automatically?

From the purchase page, you can select the auto top-up option to ensure you always have enough credits in Messenger to manage your sends. You set the number of credits that will trigger the top-up and the maximum amount of times a month you’d like to top up automatically for the credit bundle of your choice.

Survey and Forms

What is a mobile survey?

It is an online data capture form which is designed especially for the screen of a mobile phone.

I don’t need to send feedback surveys, what else can my business use this tool for?

The tool can be used to create any kind of data capture form. This can be application forms, registration forms, questionnaires, booking forms and much more.

How much does it cost to send a mobile survey?

There are two different pricing options available. The pay-as-you-go option will cost 2 credits for every survey sent within 160 characters. There is no other cost for this. Alternatively, you can pay £25 a month and send an unlimited amount of surveys (still using one text credit per send).

How do I send the survey to my customers?

The survey is sent via a link in a text message.

Can I brand my mobile form?

Yes, you can insert images to your form, including your logo.

Can a mobile survey or form be viewed on any kind of mobile phone?

A mobile survey can be accessed from any internet enabled phone.

How will I get the responses to my survey?

Responses are collected in your Textlocal account. They will be displayed in charts to easily digest the information and available to export to Excel.

SMS Attachments

What is an attachment?

An attachment is an additional file you can send as a link in a text message.

How do I attach a document to an SMS message?

Providing that the document that you wish to attach is smaller than 10MB in file size, you’re good to go. Within your dashboard, select the file that you wish to attach. Our platform will convert the file into an easily accessible link within the body of the text message. The file will be hosted securely on our servers, so attaching a file to an SMS message is not only easy but requires minimal IT infrastructure on the part of your business.

When on the ‘send SMS’ screen, click to include attachment and we will host it online for you and add the short link in your text message.

How much does it cost to send an attachment?

There is no extra cost to include in an attachment to your text message. The link will use up characters in your message.

Will the end user be charged to download the attachment?

If their phone is not connected to a WIFI connection, then they may be charged for data allowance.

What is the maximum file size I can attach?

The maximum file you can attach to a message is 10MB.

Ticketing

What is the difference between a voucher, a ticket and a loyalty card?

Tickets and vouchers are for one-time use only. Once the unique code has been redeemed, it cannot be redeemed again.

A loyalty card can be used multiple times; you set the rules for how many times it can be redeemed and what actions sit behind each scan.

What will my mobile voucher, ticket or loyalty card look like?

You design this as part of the tool in your Textlocal account. It’s a mobile optimised page, you add images or logo’s, colours, text, bar codes and/ or QR codes, plus any links or mail merge features.

How do I send it to my customer?

Your voucher, ticket or loyalty card is sent to your customers as a link in a text message. This can be sent directly to them or as an auto-response to a short number keyword.

My business doesn’t need to offer ‘tickets’, is there anything else I can use this feature for?

Yes, these are unique codes that can be used for any kind of redemption. A unique code or bar code could be used for entry into an event or venue, to claim a discount on a purchase, one-time access to an online account or a unique pin number.

Do I have to create my own unique codes?

Your Textlocal account can assign unique codes to all your customers or you can upload your own unique codes if you have them.

How do my customers redeem their code?

Codes can be redeemed by either scanning the bar code or QR codes with the Textlocal app. which This will marry up with the rules set in place in your account, or you can manually enter the code into your account or integrate it with your EPoS system.

What if my customers don’t have a smartphone?

You can include the unique code for that contact in the body of the text message so they can still access the code even if they can’t click through to a mobile page. You don’t have to include a mobile page.

Can I integrate this with my EPoS/ online store?

Yes, full integration is possible so tickets, vouchers and loyalty cards can be redeemed through your till system.

Will I be able to access results to see who has and hasn’t redeemed?

Yes, all results are displayed in your reports and you can also download them as a CSV file. You can separately download the data for anyone who hasn’t redeemed their code yet and target them with a reminder text message.

Can I include anything else in my mobile ticket, voucher or loyalty card?

You can include any normal mail merge fields and trackable links in the text message itself or on the mobile ticket, voucher or loyalty card.

Do I set the rules for my loyalty card?

Yes, you set how many times it can be redeemed and what alerts are set after each scan, so you know what rewards are due and when.

Are unique codes open to abuse? Can they be used more than once?

The unique codes we set for one-time use are fool proof and cannot be redeemed more than once. If attempted, an error message will occur and then redemption will be declined.

My business runs offers for short periods of time, can I put a start and end date on the vouchers I send out?

Yes, you can set the expiry date and an expiry message on the first set-up screen. Once you’ve completed the entire set up you choose when you want to push the ticket, voucher or loyalty card live.

Reseller Partnership

What are the options to resell Textlocal Messenger?

In partnership with Textlocal, you can create a new revenue stream from existing customers, whilst helping them grow their business using highly effective SMS marketing.

Can we white label Textlocal Messenger?

As an SMS White Label partner, we make it easy for you to create new revenue streams for your business. Your branded platform can be set up in minutes so you can quickly benefit from offering mobile marketing solutions to your customers. You can set your own pricing for different customers, which means you can build the most competitive offering. We provide you with your own account creation tool, master account and fully integrated reporting tools, so you have full control over your SMS propositions.

White label SMS benefits include:

  • White Label platform with your company logo and brand colours
  • We provide an account creation tool, master account and report package
  • Pricing structured to suit your business
  • Platform maintenance and updates included for the duration of your contract

Your fully branded platform means that Textlocal is hidden away in the background. You purchase SMS credits from Textlocal in bulk and these sit in your platform. These credits are transferred to your customers when they make a purchase, however you must have enough credits in your account to be able to transfer them.

These credits can be sold to your customers at a competitive price, to maximise your profit margin. We will require a domain name with a secure (SSL) certificate to set-up your branded platform.

We can usually do this within seven days, to get your service up and running on time. Please speak to our Sales team to discuss your requirements.

Creating Contacts in Messenger

Can I import data into my Messenger account?

You can import mobile numbers from an excel sheet or a CSV file. You can upload your mobile numbers along with five fields of information with just a few clicks of a button. You can also enter your numbers individually or by copy and pasting if you have smaller volumes.

Why do numbers look like 4.47741E+12 when I export to Excel?

This is because Excel thinks your mobile number is an SMS long number so has converted it into scientific notation. To fix this click on the column header, click Format Cells->As Number->0 decimal places.