Bulk text takes advantage of the most popular form of person-to-person communication in order to keep businesses and organizations connected with people who have opted-in to their bulk text messaging services. Although most commonly associated with the retail industry, bulk texting can be used in many different scenarios.
Possibly the most significant non-commercial bulk text message occurred in 2008, when President Obama announced Joe Biden as his VP. Approximately three million Americans opted-in to the President´s bulk text messaging service to hear the news first. Those three million contacts subsequently generated record-breaking political donations that contributed to the President´s re-election in 2012.
President Obama may have been the first to solicit donations by bulk text, but he wasn´t the last. Many charitable organizations, churches and community projects now use bulk texting as a way of raising funds. Political parties continue to raise funds using “text-to-donate” campaigns, as well as taking advantage of a bulk text messaging service to “Get Out the Vote” on Election Day.
Other Bulk Text Messaging Scenarios
Due to its cost, reach and simplicity, bulk texting is often used by faith-based organizations to connect with their communities. Volunteers can be coordinated by bulk text, prayers requested for those in need, and parishioners sent inspirational messages related to the previous week´s sermon. Bulk texting can also be used to keep in touch with parishioners unable to attend church ministries.
For non-retail businesses, bulk texting represents an effective way of communicating with groups of employees when email is unavailable - if, for example, a sales team was on the road in an area with no mobile Internet service. It can also be used in times of emergency when data services are overloaded, or as a means of advising jobseekers of vacancies within the business, or the status of their applications.
Schools are another example of where bulk texting can be effective. Schools can divide their database of contacts into groups of students, parents, teachers and administrators, so that each group can be informed instantly and simultaneously of important school events. Again, bulk text messaging can be of vital importance in times of emergency to keep students safe and parents informed.
How Bulk Texting Works
Bulk texting uses SMS technology to send text messages simultaneously to groups of contacts. It requires that the business or organization running a bulk text messaging service has a database of contacts who have given their permission to be contacted by SMS text. Usually this is achieved by contacts opting into a service after texting a keyword to a short code number (more about this below).
Once the business or organization has a database of opted-in contacts, they log into a group texting platform, upload the group(s) of contacts for whom the message is intended, write the message and click send. Within minutes, their contacts will be receiving the message on their mobile devices wherever they are, whatever they are doing.
Responses to bulk text messages are received by the group texting platform, which also records delivery rates, open rates and spikes in engagement. These analytics can be useful for retail businesses in the planning of future mobile marketing campaigns, and are essential for organizations enquiring about the safety of employees, students or other contacts during an emergency situation.
More about Keywords and Short Codes
Most people will have been exposed to keywords and short codes (for example - text `pizza` to 313131 in order to receive a free drink with your next order) without necessarily recognizing their full potential. When a contact texts the keyword to the short code, they are invited to opt into the business´s bulk text messaging service - usually to take advantage of future promotions.
When the contact opts in, they are automatically added to the business´s database maintained in the group texting platform according to the keyword they used. This enables businesses to manage their databases effectively, send targeted campaigns to groups with specific interests, and avoid the scenario in which contacts opt out of the service for receiving too many irrelevant text messages.
Keywords (or, more specifically, sub-keywords) and short codes can also be used to conduct polls and surveys. If, for example, a church was soliciting its parishioners´ opinions on the subject of the following week´s sermon, it could send a bulk text poll requesting parishioners to reply with their favorite Bible passage from a selection. Assuming “church” is the primary keyword, the poll might look like this:
- Text `church 1` to 313131 for Corinthians 13:4-8.
- Text `church 2` to 313131 for Isaiah 41:10.
- Text `church 3` to 313131 for Galatians 5:22-23.
- Text `church 4` to 313131 for Proverbs 22:6.
There are many different ways in which bulk text polls can be used to generate engagement and - in the retail industry - build brand awareness. When a particular poll catches the public´s imagination, it can often be shared among families and friends, expanding the reach of the business´s or organization´s bulk text messaging service and prompting new contacts to opt into the service.
MMS Bulk Text Messaging Services
Bulk texting does not have to be limited to plain text messages. Businesses and organizations can increase the impact of their communications by replacing their plain text messages with multimedia (MMS) messages that incorporate content such as images, video and audio. MMS bulk texting also gives organizations the option of sending out messages in excess of 160 characters or using Unicode non-standard characters.
Most cellphones and smartphones are capable of receiving MMS bulk text messages, and the impact MMS messages have - particularly for retail businesses - is significant. MMS bulk text messages enjoy an engagement rate 6-8 times higher than email marketing; 15% more contacts click on a link in an MMS message than click on a link in a text-only marketing message; and eight times as many contacts share MMS messages with families and friends, and across social media channels.
In terms of coordinating contacts in times of emergency - or conference delegates, or community volunteers - MMS messages can be used to send maps, video updates and voice broadcasts. Like plain text SMS messages, responses to MMS messages can be received by the group texting platform, or forwarded to an individual´s mobile device by SMS if access to an Internet service is not possible.
EZ Texting´s Bulk Text Messaging Service
EZ Texting has been providing bulk text messaging services for businesses and organizations since 2006. Over time, we have developed our group texting platform to be feature-rich while remaining easy to use. We back our service with industry-leading customer support, so, although no special design or technical skills are required to use our service, there will always be help available if needed.
Many of the features on our platform are designed for convenience. A scheduling feature enables businesses to compose messages in advance and send them when they will attract the most attention. The same feature can be used to send recurring or drip-fed marketing campaigns. Sent messages can also be saved as templates to save time and effort when preparing future campaigns.
Features to further increase the impact of messages include the option to customize bulk text messages by including each individual recipient´s name. We also make it possible for businesses and organizations to create tiny URLs and QR Codes - QR codes being particularly effective if a quick response to a bulk text message is required - and our poll builder feature is incredibly versatile, yet still easy to use.
For larger businesses and organizations, we can provide tools to integrate EZ Texting with popular web applications such as Salesforce and MailChimp, and APIs are available for developers who want to build our group texting platform into their own applications. We can also arrange for dedicated short codes and vanity short codes for businesses that want their short code number to be as memorable as their bulk text messages (an example of a vanity short code is 466453, which spells `google` on a keypad).
“Free & EZ” Bulk Texting from EZ Texting
If your business or organization would like to experience the effectiveness of bulk text messaging for free, we offer a “Free & EZ” texting plan you are invited to take advantage of. “Free & EZ” allows businesses and organizations to send up to 250 plain text messages per month free of charge with a demo keyword and use of a shared short code number included - also free of charge.
Our offer gives businesses and organizations the opportunity to become familiar with bulk texting with no credit card required, no contracts to sign and no obligation to commit to a higher level of service. Naturally we want your bulk text messaging service to be as successful as possible, so we also include tools to create “click-to-join” widgets you can place on your website and Facebook page, and provide full customer and technical support from our team of Client Success Managers.
To find out more about our “Free & EZ” texting plan, or to discuss how you would like to communicate with large groups of people simultaneously, give us a call and speak with one of our Client Success Managers today.