An introduction to Bulk SMS for business

bulk sms banner image

 

Bulk SMS is a great way to engage and interact with customers and prospects. People are more responsive to text messages and bulk SMS is a great way to get your business’ message across. Whether you’re alerting customers to a system update or looking to promote your latest product offering, bulk SMS ensures your message makes it to your audience and doesn’t get lost among the inbox spam.

Here are a couple of stats to consider:

In 2018, 52% of all online traffic was generated through mobile phones according to research by Statista. And this figure is increasing year on year around the world.
Various reports also estimate that SMS open rates are as high as 98%, while response rates can reach up to 45% – this is significantly higher than the figures for email messages.

So what does this tell us?

Well, if you really want your messages to be read, bulk SMS is the way to go. And with more and more online traffic coming from mobile phones, bulk SMS can be used to drive traffic to your website or e-commerce store where consumers can take action.

If it sounds like bulk SMS could benefit your business, read on to find out:

  • What it is
  • How businesses are using it
  • The necessary steps to set up bulk SMS
  • Bulk SMS campaign tips

What is Bulk SMS?

As the name implies, bulk SMS refers to the sending of large numbers of SMS messages to mobile phones. To send out these high volumes of text messages in a short time span, a specialty service is needed.

Businesses can use applications, software programmes or an API integration with their website to send bulk messages. These services usually interact with a network’s SMS gateway to ensure messages are delivered no matter where in the world recipients are.

Even if your texts are going to 100,000 mobiles, bulk SMS messages are usually delivered within seconds of being sent.

How businesses are using bulk SMS?

Bulk SMS is used by every kind of business, from banks and e-commerce sites to traditional retailers and tech companies.

Campaigns can be used for entertainment, information or marketing purposes. Here are just some of the messages businesses can communicate to customers and prospects via bulk SMS:

  • Offers, discounts and sale alerts
  • Coupon codes
  • Product news
  • Election vote appeals
  • Thank yous
  • Service notifications
  • Feedback requests
  • Survey links
  • App download links
  • Internal employee updates
  • Emergency updates
  • Reminders

As with email, bulk SMS campaigns can be created and put into action in a matter of minutes. The immediacy of SMS allows businesses to react quickly to situations. Retail stores can drive footfall on a slow day or clear stock before the new season arrives. While marketers can promptly react to a competitor’s promotion or conduct damage control in a PR crisis.

Implementing bulk SMS for your business

The easiest way to implement bulk SMS is to use a solid and reliable tool. There are many to choose from including:

Once you’ve chosen your tool, you can simply open its app or web interface, sign in and type or paste your text message and branded link in. Most interfaces will show your character length and most services also offer the option to personalize your texts with the recipients first name, last name, as well as some more advanced options.

You’ll also be able to choose who the sender appears as and which lists you want your messages to go to. Don’t forget to check out the cost of your campaign before you confirm.

5 tips for successful bulk SMS messages

Bulk SMS campaigns should be targeted as much as possible. It’s likely the audience has already interacted with your business in some way or other – they may be a current user, have opted in for SMS alerts or previously purchased from your business. So this makes them ideal targets for marketers and research teams.

To help you engage with this more-than-warm audience, here are 5 tips for creating effective campaign messages:

1. Keep it short:

Keep your message below 160 characters. Going above this limit could lead to your messages appearing fragmented on older phones. You’ll also be charged more. Shorter, succinct messages will make more of an impact on recipients anyway so there’s no reason not to keep things simple.

2. Showcase your business name:

You don’t want your texts to appear with an anonymous number shown up top. A text coming from your business name builds trust in your message and lets people know a text isn’t spammy or malicious. It also boosts brand visibility and looks professional. Most bulk SMS services enable you to edit the sender ID. However, some countries require registration in order to do this so check this out.

bulk sms example

3. Personalize your messages:

Although bulk SMS campaigns are sent out in large numbers, this doesn’t mean you can’t personalize your messages. Most bulk SMS service providers will allow you to alter messages to suit a specific recipient based on the information in your database. Address people by their names, refer to an account number or mention the date and time of an event. Consider how you’d like to personalize your messages when creating fields for your sign up pages and database.

4. Include a branded link:

With just 160 characters to convey your message, it makes sense to shorten the link you plan to include in your SMS message. But don’t use a generic link shortener, use a branded link and customize it to drive clicks.

Branded links look neater and can boost your click-through rate by up to 39%. They receive more clicks because they are trusted and indicate where the link leads to.

Another big benefit of using a link shortener like Rebrandly is that you can update your short link at any time. Once an SMS is sent, you can’t make any changes to the text. But you can edit the destination of your link in the Rebrandly dashboard.

Rebrandly is easy to implement as part of your bulk SMS strategy. Use our tool alongside your SMS service of choice or automate the process using Rebrandly’s API.

bulk sms message example

5. Track and monitor your results:

Add UTM parameters to your branded links and you’ll be able to track precisely how effective your bulk SMS messages are. This will let you see which text, topics, and CTAs drive customer engagement. You’ll even see what leads to conversions. This will inform future decisions and let you improve each bulk SMS campaign you run.

Check out this piece on SMS marketing for more tips on ways to improve your SMS messages.

Beyond Bulk SMS

With increased targeting and personalization becoming more sought after in marketing and customer service messages, SMS messaging services have evolved to meet the needs of modern businesses. Alongside bulk SMS messages, many services provide other features like the sending of single texts for passwords, delivery status alerts, and verification codes. With the growing popularity of chatbots, some services also provide interactive messaging features. These bots can now interact with inbound messages that come about as a result of your outbound bulk SMS campaigns.

Though it has been around for a long time, bulk SMS messaging isn’t going anywhere soon. The high levels of engagement it receives combined with new features in SMS communications means it will continue to be a go-to tool for businesses of all kinds. If you haven’t started implementing bulk SMS campaigns as part of your marketing or customer service strategy, now is the time.

Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • Bulk SMS
  • What is bulk SMS
  • Bulk messaging
  • Bulk texts

Photo in main image by rawpixel via Unsplash

Louisa McGrath
Louisa works on putting together creative and useful content for Rebrandly customers to read. Though she spends a lot of time reading and writing online, she still loves to buy the Sunday papers.