5 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Bulk Text Messaging

13 Sep

After a decade in the bulk text messaging business, we know which questions people ask most and which questions they should be asking, but aren't.

These may be questions you already have in mind and just need answers to. Or you may find questions below which hadn't occurred to you to ask.

In this post, we'll cover some details that will help you understand if text messaging will be effective for your business, how much you can expect to spend, and what to look for in a bulk text messaging service provider.

woman on mobile phone texting

The Must-Know List for Business Bulk Text Messaging

There are a few things you should know up front as you explore using bulk text messaging to market your business. After reading through these six key items, you’ll be confident that you can make the right decision about Short Message Service (SMS) marketing.

1. How effective is it compared to similar marketing channels?

When considering using bulk text messaging for your business, it is helpful to compare it to similar marketing channels which you may already be using. The comparison can help you determine how much effort and budget to devote to text message marketing.

Text messaging is a permission-based activity, so we’ll compare it to two other channels which (mostly) require opt-in: email and social media. It's easy to see from the data below that bulk SMS typically gets a broader reach and higher engagement often at a lower cost than these two channels.

Open/Read Rate

According to Teradata, while only 29% of Tweets, 22% of emails, and 12% of Facebook posts are ever read, texts are read at an astonishing 98% (90% within the first 3 minutes).

Engagement Rate

Research from FunMobility has shown that text message advertising containing a URL to a business´s website has a click-through rate (CTR) 10x higher than URLs contained within emails. The text message CTR is 36% vs. 3.2% for email.

A Cellit study found that coupons attached to a marketing text message have a redemption rate 8x higher than when attached to an email.

Rival IQ recently reported that engagement rates for social media channels were 0.16% for Facebook, 1.73% for Instagram, and 0.046% for Twitter. Compare that to the Funmobility study (cited above) which showed a 36% CTR on texts with URLs, and you see just how much more effective text messages are.

2. How much does it cost?

You can see our pricing plans here. The cost can range from around five cents per text for very low volume accounts, to around three cents per text for high volume accounts.

Keep in mind that when you compare text messaging with other marketing channels, you should compare cost per engagement or conversion rather than cost per send. The cost per send may be lower on email or a social boosted post, but the cost per conversion may be much higher on those channels compared to text messaging.

3. Is MMS more effective than SMS?

SMS texts are messages up to 160 characters. Multimedia Messaging System (MMS) texts can contain more than 160 characters, but the most common use of MMS is to send rich media files either along with or in place of a text-only message. Typically, an MMS message can contain up to 500kb of data: enough for a quality image or 30-second audio or video file.

So, one of the core differences between SMS and MMS is the ability to include images. But do images really matter?

According to Hubspot, "When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of that information three days later."

It makes sense that texts sent with images can be more effective at solidifying the message in the recipient’s mind. So, while some providers may charge more per text for MMS messages (we don’t!), the ROI could be higher than SMS. It’s worth doing some testing in your own campaigns.

4. What are the key terms used in bulk text messaging?

As you begin exploring bulk text messaging, you need to know the lingo. Most of the terminology we use is straightforward, but there are a few that need an explanation because of the way we use them.

Keywords and short codes: You’ve probably seen a sign like this: “Text ‘PIZZACO’ to 313131 for a 5% off coupon from Awesome Pizza Company.” In that sentence “PIZZACO” is the keyword and 313131 is the short code. There can only be one ‘PIZZACO’ keyword at the 313131 short code. Though it is possible (and expensive) to rent your own dedicated short code, most short codes are shared between businesses. So, there may be another pizza shop using the shared 313131 short code, but they would have to use a different keyword than ‘PIZZACO’.

Credits: Most bulk text messaging service providers price their services per text. But the plans and fees they charge are often distributed by credits. Some services charge more credits for MMS messages vs. SMS messages. (Most of our plans price MMS and SMS the same.)

Text-to-Landline: With text-to-landline service, you can receive and reply to text messages on your existing 10 digit business phone number, even if it’s a landline. Chances are that customers and prospects are already texting your number, and you’re missing those messages.

Bulk Texting Variations: You might see variations of the term “bulk texting” to refer to business texting. Variations include mass texting, group texting, SMS texting, and Application-to-Person (A2P) texting. Basically, any texting activity which falls outside the normal usage patterns of Person-to-Person (P2P) human texting is considered bulk texting.

5. How do I find the best bulk text messaging service for my business?

Simply buying a tool isn't what will make you successful. You need the features, usability, and the support of a company that has helped a lot of other businesses grow with bulk text messaging. Here are three things to look for.

Features

At this time, you may only have in mind sending a text occasionally to a single list of contacts. But there’s a lot more you can do with bulk texting. Don’t limit yourself to a service provider with a skimpy set of features. Establish yourself with a service provider that offers robust features such as:
  • Keywords
  • Signup
  • Widgets
  • Drip Campaigns
  • Text Forwarding
  • Recurring Messages
  • Reminders
  • Text to Vote SMS Polls
  • MMS Picture Messages
  • Chat via Text to Landline

Ease of Use

One similarity between the best bulk messaging services is that they are easy to use. Let’s face it; if the platform is hard to use, your team won’t use it. We’ve dedicated a lot of resources to make your life easier with our simple and straightforward interface. (Our signup-to-send process often takes less than 5 minutes.) Don’t overlook this important factor as you compare texting services for business.

Reputation

You’re trusting your service provider with your brand, your contact list, and your personal time using their platform. If you select a brand new service with no established reputation, you could open yourself up to a negative brand experience through messages that don’t function properly, loss of data security, and a sacrifice of time as you deal with an app that is hard to use or glitchy.

What Can I Do with Bulk Text Messaging?

You may have a couple of ideas for ways you can use text marketing to accelerate growth, but there may be some other strategies which would be a perfect fit for your business. A great next step would be to download our free Strategies for Successful Text Marketing eBook. In the free guide, you’ll learn how to:

  • Effectively promote your goods and services
  • Increase engagement with customers
  • Quickly send alerts to your subscribers
  • Automate appointment reminders

 

Read 4 Strategies for Successful Text Marketing

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