Bulk text messaging is an easy and effective way to communicate with large groups of people to send notifications, promotions and alerts. Although it is often associated with retail promotions, bulk SMS can be used in many different scenarios.
How Bulk Texting Works
Bulk messaging uses SMS technology to send text messages simultaneously to groups of contacts. It requires that the organization 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 by texting a keyword to a short code number (more about this below).
Once you have a database of opted-in contacts, you can upload it to a a bulk SMS software provider like EZ Texting. This service will hold your contacts and allow you to send a bulk SMS in seconds. Soon your contacts will receive your message on their mobile device.
Responses to bulk text messages are received by SMS software provider, 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. You can also use it to send notifications to employees, students or other contacts you need to reach fast. EZ Texting has pricing plans for every budget -- check out our plans now!
Bulk Text Messaging Uses for Different Industries
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 job seekers 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.
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.
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 SMS 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 Message 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-feed 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).
Bulk Texting from EZ Texting
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 SMS software works, how to best use the bulk messaging tools to create a database, and the legal requirements for sending a mass text online. We can even give you tips on how to maximize engagement with a SMS marketing service.
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
To find out more about our texting plans, or to discuss how you would like to communicate with large groups of people simultaneously, give us a call at (800) 753-5732 and speak with one of our Client Success Managers today.