Bulk SMS messaging makes sense for retail marketing, but nearly every kind of organization can benefit from sending SMS text messages.
Businesses, educational institutions, and faith-based organizations all use texting to connect more effectively with their audiences. What kind of messages do they send? Promotions, notifications, alerts, and more. In fact, text messages can help with things you many not have thought of, like collections, billing, delivery confirmations, and logistics.
Bulk texting has three key advantages - cost, reach and simplicity. SMS service pricing is only pennies per contact, and reaches older-model cell phones as well as the latest smartphones. SMS solutions like EZ Texting offer trials of bulk SMS free. Sending a bulk SMS from a PC to a mobile requires no technical or design skills and, in addition to conveying important messages, SMS alerts can also be used to generate engagement and build relationships.
SMS marketing works because 91% of people keep their mobile phones within reach twenty-four hours a day. Studies have shown that 90% of all SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of delivery. People reach for their mobile phones as soon as they hear the ringtone, which is why SMS texting is so powerful.
How Does Bulk Messaging Work?
To send SMS marketing campaigns you need to subscribe to a bulk SMS service provider like EZ Texting. Once you have logged into the SMS software, you simply upload your list of contacts, compose your message, and click send. Within minutes, your contacts will be reading your messages, wherever they are.
Once a message has been sent, your service reports on delivery rates, open rates, and spikes in engagement. With these analytics, you can fine-tune the content and timing of your messages. Preview SMS messages can be saved as templates and adjusted as necessary to save time when sending out future messages.
Any replies are received by your service provider. What’s great about sending text messages from a PC to a mobile, is you don’t in have to sit at your PC waiting for replies. Your bulk texting platform can be accessed from any Internet-connected device, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can also have your replies forwarded to your mobile phone by SMS.
Bulk SMS Tools for Creating a Database of Contacts
In addition to access to bulk texting software, you also need a database of customers, employees, students, voters or parishioners to receive your text messages. Due to the regulations governing how to send SMS marketing campaigns, you cannot simply buy a list of cell phone numbers and start sending SMS text messages online. You have to create your database by inviting people to join your SMS text list.
The quickest way of creating a database of contacts is with tools such as keywords and short codes. Keywords are simply individual words that you ask your potential contacts to text to dedicated number - the bulk SMS short code. For example, if you were a pizza restaurant trying to create a database of contacts, you would ask your potential customers to text the word “PIZZA” to a SMS text short code such as 313131.
Keywords and a short code can be obtained from your bulk SMS service provider. EZ Texting includes a keyword and a bulk SMS short code in all our paid subscription packages. Most organizations usually need just one keyword and short code to create their database of contacts, but you can use more to develop a database of contacts with different interests or to market multiple products at the same time.
Other bulk SMS tools for creating a database of contacts include “click-to-join” widgets. These can be placed on your website or on your social media channels to encourage people to join your bulk messaging database. Encourage potential customers to join your service, by offering special rewards, coupons or early notifications of promotional events. This strategy works equally well for keywords and short codes as it does for “click-to-join” widgets.
How to Send Bulk Text Messages to Different Groups
There are many reason you might want to send bulk text messages to different groups within your database. For example, a faith-based organization might have meetings for different ministries within the congregation each week. It would be helpful to have unique lists of parishioners so you could send them personalized text reminders. Employers might want to message different departments individually, or schools may message students studying different subjects.
In order to send bulk text messages to different groups, you simply divide your database of contacts into sub-groups according to their roles, their interests, or whichever categories you choose. You don’t have to sort your database into sub-groups manually. You can use different keywords to create a segmented database or integrate your bulk SMS gateway software in an existing contact management solution.
Whenever you next use the bulk messaging software to send a text messages, you simply select the sub-group of your database that is relevant to the text message. If you need to send everyone within your database the same message you can select multiple groups, without worrying about members getting the same message twice.
Sending personalized bulk text messages by group rather than en masse has two benefits. It prevents contacts from opting out of the bulk SMS service because they receive irrelevant. And saves you money by targeting your SMS campaign to those who are most interested in your message. Tailoring your text message to specific interest groups within your database should actually result in a higher ROI on your SMS marketing effort.
The Differences between SMS Bulk Texting Software and a Bulk SMS App
A bulk SMS app is an app that you download onto a smartphone or PC and then use to communicate with your groups of contacts. Apps perform similar functions to SMS bulk texting services, but there are some significant differences. In short, online texting services like EZ Texting allow you to send many more messages at a time than most apps.
Typically, bulk SMS apps will limit you to a set number messages, while a SMS bulk texting service lets you message thousands of opted-in contacts at once. Furthermore, when you use a bulk SMS app to send bulk text messages, all of your contacts have to have the same app installed on their smartphone or PC to receive your text message. Even then, unless the bulk SMS app has a push notification feature, your contacts may not know that they have a message to read until the next time they log into the app.
With SMS bulk texting software, it takes just minutes to upload your sub-group of contacts, write your text, and click send. By comparison, the “labor costs” of manually adding each contact to the bulk SMS app and sending multiple messages in order to reach your entire database are potentially very high.
How Different Organizations Send Bulk SMS from a PC to a Mobile
Having elaborated on how bulk SMS works, the bulk SMS tools you can use to create a database of contacts, and how to sort your database into groups to facilitate easy management and save money, now might be a good time to expand on how different organizations send bulk SMS from a PC to a mobile. The examples below are not exhaustive, and we continue to be surprised at some of the applications found for bulk texting.
Bulk SMS for Business - Retailers
SMS for retail works especially well when businesses attach discount coupons to their SMS messages.
- Redemption rates for discount coupons attached to SMS messages are typically eight times higher than is normally achieved via email marketing.
- Bulk SMS messages can also be used to inform customers of special promotions and new store openings.
Bulk SMS for Companies, HR and Internal Communications
Not everyone realizes this but texting can be a helpful tool in the workplace, just like a copier or computer. Here are a couple ways your HR department can utilize SMS marketing while in the office.
- Start using text messaging as a way to begin promoting new openings, reminding potential candidates of interview times and notifying them if they got the job or not.
- Instead of using emails to keep track of meetings and those invited to join, send a text to invitees to make the gathering more prominent in their minds.
- Update employees about bad weather reports through a text message, which they are guaranteed to see quicker than an email or voicemail.
- Celebrate the cheery news of promotions or other commendations easily via SMS messaging
Bulk SMS for Political Parties
SMS texting enables your campaign to get its message out to thousands in the time it would take to make a few phone calls. Political campaigns can use bulk SM service to text for donations, announcements, updates, and more. It is becoming one of the most popular ways to raise money & awareness because it's fast and has a 98% response rate. Just upload your contact list, type your message, and schedule or send immediately.
- Conduct valuable surveys
- Blast appearance and rally notifications
- Send election day reminders
- Collect non-profit donations via Text-to-Donate campaigns
Bulk SMS for Schools
Before cell phones and text messaging, school-wide announcements primarily relied on in-person updates, email, regular mail, or the campus PA system. Now, SMS text messaging is the most cost-effective and efficient method for sending notifications at schools and universities.
- Send notifications about after-school events and activities
- Exchange info about assignments and exams
- Alert students, parents and teachers about campus emergencies or closures
Bulk SMS for Faith-Based Organizations
Whether you’re seeking volunteers for an event or requesting donations for a family in need, your messages won’t yield results if they go unnoticed. Bulk texting can help faith-based organizations:
- Promote community engagement
- Increase event attendance
- Coordinate volunteers
- Encourage donations
- Share inspirational messages
Generating Engagement with a Bulk SMS Sender Gateway
The SMS software services like EZ Texting are capable of doing a lot more than just sending plain text messages. Indeed, many of the bulk SMS features have been designed to encourage feedback, generate engagement, and develop relationships. One of the most effective ways of achieving these goals is to include polls or surveys in bulk SMS messages, asking your contacts to express their opinions.
Polls and surveys are easy to add to a text message. You simply ask a question in the content of your message - i.e. “What is your favorite pizza topping?” - and request that your contacts reply using a keyword that represents their answer (for example, text “mushroom” to 313131). The feedback from your survey can help shape future mobile marketing campaigns and product development.
Sending fun or thought-provoking polls can help increase the size of your database. People love to share media they find interesting and - if a question you ask becomes the topic of discussion between families, friends and colleagues - your text marketing campaign can result in many more individuals opting in to your service and taking a deeper interest in your store, company, political party, school or church.
Other bulk SMS tools you can use to encourage feedback, generate engagement and develop relationships include multimedia (MMS) texting. With MMS you can increase the impact of your plain text message with images, audio and video files - or you can replace the plain text message altogether. MMS bulk texting also allows you to integrate tiny URLs into your messages or add QR codes.
The Legal Requirements for Sending Bulk SMS Online
As mentioned above, you cannot simply buy a list of cellphone numbers and start sending bulk SMS messages online. There are rules and regulations in place to prevent organizations from sending spam text messages or sending bulk SMS from a PC to a mobile too frequently. Most of the legal requirements for sending bulk SMS online are contained within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991; it is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Mobile Marketing Association´s Code of Conduct.
Even if you do not intend to send bulk text messages for the purpose of marketing, the Mobile Marketing Association´s Code of Conduct includes guidelines for bulk texting to protect consumer privacy standards. The “Code” has been prepared with the assistance of Microsoft, Yahoo and Verizon to prevent abuses by all organizations that send bulk SMS messages, and to avoid the introduction of additional regulations.
Organizations sending bulk SMS online are also subject to the terms and conditions of the telephone companies (“carriers”) who deliver the SMS text messages. Carriers will usually refuse to deliver bulk SMS messages that contain profanity, pornography or hate speech, or those that endorse illegal drug use or violence. The carriers´ terms and conditions apply equally to plain text bulk texting and to MMS bulk texting.
Complying with the legal requirements for sending bulk SMS online is generally a matter of common sense. If you send bulk SMS messages to your contacts containing material they are likely to find distasteful - or you send bulk text messages so often they become irritating - your contacts will quickly opt out of your bulk SMS service.
Find Out More about Bulk SMS Free Advice
If you would like to find out more about bulk SMS, free advice can be obtained from our team of Client Success Managers. Our team will be able to answer any questions about how bulk SMS works, how to best use the bulk SMS tools to create a database, and the legal requirements for sending bulk SMS online. We can even give you tips on how to maximize engagement with a bulk SMS sender gateway.
Our service allows you to send important messages to groups of people and encourage feedback, generate engagement and develop relationships. Thousands of organization already use SMS software to benefit their businesses and their communities. Find out how you can join them by contacting us today