31 July 2015
When and how to use bulk SMS for maximum effect
Bulk messaging is the term used to describe the distribution of large quantities of SMS to mobile phones. Bulk SMS is most commonly used for mobile marketing, but other applications include:
- Alerts (for example, advising employees about system outages)
- Reminders of sale start and end dates
- Staff communication, such as company-wide announcements
- Emergency notifications to manage or inform people affected by natural disasters
- Special offers, such as discount code promotions
There are a number of reasons why bulk SMS is so effective for marketing activity, especially when compared with other direct marketing channels. These benefits also translate to other applications and include:
- ROI: SMS allows you to directly target your audience with a personalised message for just a few cents per contact. For example, at clinics where a patient’s failure to attend an appointment no-show can cost around $70, the ability to reduce no-show numbers can deliver an immediate benefit.
- Open rate: The mobile channel is still relatively uncluttered, and people are more inclined to open SMS message. Over 90 percent of messages are opened within seconds on delivery – no other communication channel can offer as much.
- Speed: In today’s competitive, rapidly changing, and highly mobile world, the ability to react quickly to changing market conditions is a competitive advantage. You can use bulk SMS to respond to any situation or opportunity and send thousands of messages to handsets instantaneously.
- Personalisation: Even though you may be sending thousands of the same message out to customers or prospects, you can personalise the message easily with SMS.
How to send bulk SMS
Software is required for sending and receiving bulk messages and various software packages are available. Software packages provide businesses with the opportunity to add as many phone numbers as required and these phone numbers can be managed in a variety of ways, such as allowing you to upload lists of mobile phone numbers using a TXT or CSV file.
These are the usual steps for sending a bulk SMS:
1. Log in
2. Upload or select your list of recipients
3. Type in your message
4. Click ‘Send’
Messages are sent via your provider’s SMS gateway directly to your recipients’ mobile phones, where you can also view statistics and reports online in one place. Sending bulk SMS online is considerably easier, faster, and cheaper than other high volume messaging options.
Bulk message campaigns need not look like mass communication. There are a few things you can do with your messages to help achieve excellent results from your next campaign:
- Use dedicated numbers or long codes so that your messages always come from the same sender.
- Personalise the SMS with the recipient’s name for improved message impact and response rates.
- Send URLs or tiny URLs (a URL shortening service) within the SMS to add another level of personalisation to the recipient.
- Use delivery reports to confirm message receipt.
- Always provide the option to opt out of receiving SMS messages for marketing or promotional campaigns.
If you are using bulk SMS for marketing or any other commercial application, it is critical that you are aware of your legal obligations to avoid prosecution for spam. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may also need to comply with privacy law and/or General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Used well, bulk SMS is an incredibly effective and efficient way to communicate with your customers.
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