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What’s an SMS broadcast, and how can your business use it?

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Advanced SMS guides 9 min read | rebecca wrote in blog on May 16, 2024

Need to promote a flash sale to all your customers? Got an important update you urgently need to send? Say hello to the SMS broadcast – a quick and easy way to get your message out to the masses.

What is an SMS broadcast?

Also called bulk SMS or broadcast text message, an SMS broadcast is what’s known as a ‘one-to-many’ message. It can reach thousands of customers at once. Millions, if you have them. So, with just one message you can reach as many people as you want. An SMS broadcast is therefore very similar to sending out an email newsletter.

Despite the fact that you’re sending the same message to thousands of people at once, an SMS broadcast will always feel like a one-to-one message to the customer (particularly if you personalise it). All they see is a single text from your business.

And this is where they differ from a group message sent from an iPhone or Android phone – which can only handle groups of up to 100 people – or a group text you’d send on an instant messaging app like WhatsApp. In group messages, everyone in the group can send and receive messages to each other and everybody sees the entire exchange, which can lead to some pretty messy messaging threads.

While this might be exactly what you want for your family group chat, it’s typically not what you’re looking for as a business when reaching out to customers. That’s where SMS broadcasts come in. You can still reach the masses, but one by one — and with very little effort.

Why send out broadcasts via SMS? Bulk texts, bulk benefits!

Using SMS to get your message out to the masses is a shrewd strategy. While mass texts are most commonly used for marketing campaigns, you can actually benefit from SMS broadcast across marketing, sales, and customer support.

1. Realise better ROI

With their sky-high open rates of around 90%, SMS cuts through the noise. It means your SMS broadcasts are an incredibly cost-effective way to get your message heard. Just take a look at the ROI that businesses in key industries can realise:

SMS works for any industry.

In terms of pricing, the rate you pay will depend on the pricing plan you choose. If you send an SMS broadcast to 1,000 people, then that broadcast equates to 1,000 SMS credits.

2. Get started fast

It only takes a few minutes to set yourself up with an SMS broadcasting platform, no special IT skills needed. Then, you’ll be ready to send messages out to millions of people in seconds.

3. Make every message personal

Just because it’s bulk, doesn’t mean it has to feel impersonal. Using custom fields, you can easily personalise each and every SMS, even if it’s part of a mass SMS marketing campaign. So your recipients feel like they’re the one and only person you’re speaking to. Even simply adding the recipient’s first name can make all the difference. Of course, none of this should be done manually. When using an SMS broadcast service, you can work with templates and variables to automate the process.

Elevate your text game with these templates

Save time and stay on brand with our SMS templates for key industries. Just copy and paste, sprinkle in details relevant to you, and save for later use.

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4. Invite a conversation

Turn your SMS blasts into a two-way conversation. Whether you choose to set up auto-replies by using keyword triggers or you have someone on standby to chat with customers, it’s a great way to integrate SMS into your marketing strategy to build stronger relationships and boost customer loyalty.

5. Free up your team’s time

Behind the scenes, scaling SMS messages deliver big in the time-saving stakes. You can schedule your messages in advance to coincide with big promotions or sales events like EOFY – freeing up your time to focus on the big day. Or, if you urgently need to spread the word about something, you can jump in and send your SMS alerts in just a few clicks.

ecommerce eofy sale sms
Free up your team during busy sales events.

6. Enjoy peace of mind

An SMS provider like Sinch MessageMedia offers the safest way to deliver bulk SMS – with easy opt-in and opt-out integration, 2FA, ready-to-go templates, alpha tags, and more. Plus, you can rest assured that our gateway keeps you and your customers’ data safe and secure.

7. Reach more customers

It’s pretty hard to keep in touch with all your customers on just one channel. Some of your customers might love emails, while others would rather hear from you via text message. That’s why an omnichannel strategy is so powerful. You can interact with each customer on the platform they actually prefer, reach completely new target groups, and grow your business faster.

If you’re already using email marketing or reaching out to customers through platforms like HubSpot or Shopify, it’s very easy to add SMS to the mix. At Sinch MessageMedia, you can simply stick to the platforms you’re already using while being able to integrate a new channel. Win-win!

How to send an SMS broadcast

You can’t send bulk text messages with a regular mobile phone or through a carrier plan. At least not in an easy way. Of course, you could type out the same message over and over and send it again and again, but that’s not efficient. Plus, who really wants to do that?

Another option is to use an online SMS service that lets you send text messages from your computer to a phone. However, most of these services either don’t offer the option to add multiple recipients or they explicitly block bulk messaging. The reason for that is very simple: Providers want to protect users from spam.

That’s also why there are strict regulations on text marketing and you need special business solutions like Sinch MessageMedia to send an SMS broadcast.

These professional platforms are purpose-built for broadcasts (and many other types text message customer communication), and ensure your promotional messages get delivered without being marked as spam. Of course, you still have to follow guidelines and always make sure to collect opt-ins from your customers first.

Get started with SMS broadcasts

Try Sinch MessageMedia for 14 days for free, and get free access to our SMS broadcasting platform.

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First steps with an SMS broadcast

Once you’ve set up your account, you need to decide what phone number you’ll use to send your messages. You’ve got options here, depending on your budget:

  • Use a random free mobile phone number to save on sending.
  • Set up your own dedicated number, short code, or alpha tag to make it easier for customers to recognise you.

Next, you’ll need to make sure your contact list, or database, is accurate and up-to-date. As part of this, don’t forget to capture consent before you hit ‘send’ on any messages – in Australia, you need to follow the rules for sending text messages, and a big part of it is getting the green light from customers before you text them.

Top tip: You can easily import a contact list to the Sinch MessageMedia platform, regardless of whether it’s a .csv file or it’s in an Excel spreadsheet. See this support article for instructions – look for the ‘bulk messaging’ tab. You can segment it, too. This makes it easier for you to send more targeted messages to key groups in your contact list.

Once your contact list is imported, you’re ready to start sending SMS campaigns from the platform. It’s as simple as choosing a group of contacts, writing your message, adding personalised fields, and hitting send.

Top tip: Don’t forget to test, test, test! When you’re sending a message out to thousands of customers, the last thing you want is an embarrassing typo or a link that doesn’t work.

The fun’s not over once you hit ‘send’. With bulk text notifications, you can also put the power of SMS automation to work to help you manage replies. It’s easy to set up automated follow-up messages using keyword triggers, which helps ensure your customers feel heard.

Situations where SMS broadcasts shine

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I could let every single one of my customers know about this great deal, right now”? With a broadcast text message, your wish is granted. Here are some examples of when sending an SMS blast is hands-down the best way to reach all of your customers or contacts, at once.

1. Spruiking your stuff

In just a few clicks, you can send limited-time offers and promotions to your entire database or a segment of it, fast. Include a trackable link so you can see who clicks through to grab a bargain.

2. Welcoming new customers

At the end of each day or week, you might want to send out a mass text to all the new customers or subscribers to your business, along with a friendly offer or deal to make them feel welcome.

3. Giving order updates

Use automated broadcast text alerts to keep your customers in the loop about their orders and shipments. Automation takes the pressure off you and keeps your customers informed, which in turn can reduce the pressure on your call centre.

4. Sending urgent alerts

Need to shut your school because of a nearby bushfire? Cancelling a class because of wild weather? Unexpected power outage affecting thousands of households? Send an SMS broadcast to all the people affected by the closure, cancellation or disruption to service.

5. Reminding customers of appointments

We all have busy lives, and it’s easy to forget appointments. Make it easier for your customers to remember them by sending out appointment reminders as an SMS message. With bulk SMS, you can automate these reminders by setting certain triggers or time frames and integrate them into your nurturing or follow-up flows as well. And: you reduce the no-shows that always cut into your bottom line.

6. Keeping staff in the know

Need to let all staff know about a change to an all-hands meeting? Got an exciting announcement? Use SMS broadcasts for quick, time-sensitive updates or to alert them to check their emails for more information.

Ready to get started with broadcast text messages?

Now that you’re sold on the benefits of SMS broadcasts, and you’ve seen how easy it is to get started, it’s time to dive in. If you’re already a Sinch MessageMedia customer, you can start sending SMS broadcasts right away.

Not a customer yet? Not a problem! Try Sinch MessageMedia for free today.

Ready to roll?

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