Bulk SMS campaigns should be targeted as much as possible. It’s likely the audience has already interacted with your business in some way or other – they may be a current user, have opted in for SMS alerts or previously purchased from your business. So this makes them ideal targets for marketers and research teams.
To help you engage with this more-than-warm audience, here are 5 tips for creating effective and successful campaign messages:
1. Keep it short:
Keep your message below 160 characters. Going above this limit could lead to your messages appearing fragmented on older phones. You’ll also be charged more. Shorter, succinct messages will make more of an impact on recipients anyway so there’s no reason not to keep things simple.
2. Showcase your business name:
You don’t want your texts to appear with an anonymous number shown up top. A text coming from your business name builds trust in your message and lets people know a text isn’t spammy or malicious. It also boosts brand visibility and looks professional. USMS-GH services enable you to edit the sender ID.
3. Personalize your messages:
Although bulk SMS campaigns are sent out in large numbers, this doesn’t mean you can’t personalize your messages. Most bulk SMS service providers will allow you to alter messages to suit a specific recipient based on the information in your database. Address people by their names, refer to an account number or mention the date and time of an event. Consider how you’d like to personalize your messages when creating fields for your sign up pages and database.
4. Include a branded link:
With just 160 characters to convey your message, it makes sense to shorten the link you plan to include in your SMS message. But don’t use a generic link shortener, use a branded link and customize it to drive clicks.
Branded links look neater and can boost your click-through rate by up to 39%. They receive more clicks because they are trusted and indicate where the link leads to.
Another big benefit of using a link shortener is that you can update your short link at any time. Once an SMS is sent, you can’t make any changes to the text. But you can edit the destination of your link in the dashboard.
5. Track and monitor your results:
Add UTM parameters to your branded links and you’ll be able to track precisely how effective your bulk SMS messages are. This will let you see which text, topics, and CTAs drive customer engagement. You’ll even see what leads to conversions. This will inform future decisions and let you improve each bulk SMS campaign you run.
Check out this piece on SMS marketing for more tips on ways to improve your SMS messages.
Beyond Bulk SMS
With increased targeting and personalization becoming more sought after in marketing and customer service messages, SMS messaging services have evolved to meet the needs of modern businesses. Alongside bulk SMS messages, many services provide other features like the sending of single texts for passwords, delivery status alerts, and verification codes. With the growing popularity of chatbots, some services also provide interactive messaging features. These bots can now interact with inbound messages that come about as a result of your outbound bulk SMS campaigns.
Though it has been around for a long time, bulk SMS messaging isn’t going anywhere soon. The high levels of engagement it receives combined with new features in SMS communications means it will continue to be a go-to tool for businesses of all kinds. If you haven’t started implementing bulk SMS campaigns as part of your marketing or customer service strategy, now is the time.
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Bulk SMS is a great way to engage and interact with customers and prospects. People are more responsive to text messages and bulk SMS is a great way to get your business’ message across. Whether you’re alerting customers to a system update or looking to promote your latest product offering, bulk SMS ensures your message makes it to your audience and doesn’t get lost among the inbox spam.
if you really want your messages to be read, bulk SMS is the way to go. And with more and more online traffic coming from mobile phones, bulk SMS can be used to drive traffic to your website or e-commerce store where consumers can take action.
What is Bulk SMS?
As the name implies, bulk SMS refers to the sending of large numbers of SMS messages to mobile phones. To send out these high volumes of text messages in a short time span, a specialty service is needed.
Businesses can use applications, software programmes or an API integration with their website to send bulk messages. These services usually interact with a network’s SMS gateway to ensure messages are delivered no matter where in the world recipients are.
Even if your texts are going to 100,000 mobiles, bulk SMS messages are usually delivered within seconds of being sent.
How businesses are using bulk SMS?
Bulk SMS is used by every kind of business, from banks and e-commerce sites to traditional retailers and tech companies.
Campaigns can be used for entertainment, information or marketing purposes. Here are just some business use cases for bulk SMS:
- Collecting payments
- Offers, discounts and sale alerts
- Coupon codes
- Product news
- Election vote appeals
- Thank yous
- Service notifications
- Feedback requests
- Survey links
- App download links
- Internal employee updates
- Emergency updates
As with email, bulk SMS campaigns can be created and put into action in a matter of minutes. The immediacy of SMS allows businesses to react quickly to situations. Retail stores can drive footfall on a slow day or clear stock before the new season arrives. While marketers can promptly react to a competitor’s promotion or conduct damage control in a PR crisis.
Implementing bulk SMS for your business
The easiest way to implement bulk SMS is to use a solid and reliable tool. Here is where we come in. USMS-GH has just the tool you needed for the job- fast, reliable and affordable.
Once you’ve chosen your tool, you can simply open its app or web interface, sign in and type or paste your text message and branded link in. Most interfaces will show your character length and most services also offer the option to personalize your texts with the recipients first name, last name, as well as some more advanced options.
You’ll also be able to choose who the sender appears as and which lists you want your messages to go to. USMS-GH has great support for users to guide you through your bulk SMS journey.
Reasons why you should consider text message marketing as part of your customer communications
As more brands look to target customers on the move, SMS is becoming an increasingly essential part of effective multi-channel marketing. However, with few digital marketing agencies featuring SMS as a core offering, their clients are potentially missing out on communications with customers and increased ROI.
Organisations mistakenly believe that mobile marketing requires heavy investment in apps and does not allow for personalised, targeted communication and lacks strong analysis to support ROI. The reality is that access to mobile communications is far easier than perceived and gaining access to mobile consumers (smartphone and non-smartphone) can be as simple as sending a personalised, targeted text message. The means to instigate two-way SMS messaging between a company and their mobile users is essential to building a brand in households around the world provided consumer privacy is protected through legal requirements for opt-in.
In this post we will summarise the key findings from our latest whitepaper which we explain in our webinar on The benefits of using SMS in your marketing mix and discuss why SMS should be used in a communications mix as well as looking at how it can be used as part of a multi-channel strategy for engaging with customers across the customer lifecycle.
1. It’s a direct, immediate channel
SMS is one of the most immediate channels available; with a read rate of 97% within 15 minutes delivery, you can be reassured that your time critical messages will be read almost instantly. A significant 45% of SMS campaigns generate a successful ROI, reaching over 50% when combined with other popular channels such as email and social media.
2. You can use shortcodes to simplify response and build your database
Have your customers make the first move by adding a shortcode or keyword to print collateral, advertisements and advertising boards as well as social media. This strategy means that customers soon become familiar with a brand’s code and keyword and are therefore more likely to interact and respond.
3. It can support and integrate with other channels
It is important that all channels work well together within the marketing mix and SMS is no exception. SMS is a great standalone channel, however it also has the ability to enhance and support other marketing mediums, such as social media and email.
As well as being great on its own, SMS can also function to enhance and support other popular mediums among consumers, such as social media and email.
For example they can serve to remind customers to read an email sent by a brand hours or even days before. A simple follow up SMS asking “have you read our email?” can help increase email open rates by 20%–30%.
4. You can learn more about your customers
SMS is a great channel to get feedback from your customers via surveys. Research shows that on average 31% of consumers will respond to a survey via SMS with the average response time for users being just over 5 minutes. Meaning you can get great results in a short period of time.
5. You can increase customer engagement
Think of SMS as a way to enhance how your brand engages with your customers across the entire customer lifecycle. Businesses should remember to vary the type of content they send out – while customers may value updates and news on forthcoming developments within the brand, this information is best delivered via email where longer, more creative messaging is more appropriate.
Although marketers may feel that texting is invasive, many consumers are now familiar with text from when using local services like dentists, garages or hairdressers or public services like the NHS. This is a great example of how the NHS is engaging its audience in an admittedly high-engagement occasion!
Additionally, brands can use texting for more immediate, expected sales-related offers such as vouchers, discounts, promotions or even birthday messages.
6. Response data enables you to monitor, track and improve
Tracking meaningful ROI, identifying customers engaging via text message and monitoring delivery rates are all possible through SMS revealing the realities to the misconception of SMS being an untrackable channel and bringing it more in line with what has been possible with email for years.
By using these analytics, businesses can create further targeted campaigns and continually build a better understanding of their mobile database. Not only does it mean they save money and improve ROI but by profiling and segmenting out numbers that are least likely to respond, SMS allows a company to target those customers via email or another channel.
What is the maximum length for an SMS sender ID?
If the SMS sender ID is alphanumeric, the maximum number of characters permitted is 11. If the sender ID is set as a numeric value, allowing the recipient to reply, then the maximum permitted number of digits is 15.
So there are two different sender ID maximum lengths, depending on whether you are using letters or numbers.
Why is there such a small limit on the number of characters permitted in a sender ID?
This is simply one of the SMS standards that has always been the case.
When SMS began, way back in 1992, the sender ID was set at 11 characters and has remained as the standard since then.
Back then, screen sizes were comparatively tiny, so it may not have been possible to fit more than 11 characters on all phone models.
Can you reply to a message if the sender ID contains letters?
If you set the sender ID to letters, recipients will not be able to reply to the text. (See example below where a message send was attempted and the sender ID of the incoming text was JohnLewis.)
So you have a choice. You can set the sender ID to letters, in which case you cannot reply to the message. Alternatively, you can set the sender ID as a reply number, allowing replies to be sent.
Can the SMS sender ID contain spaces?
The sender ID can only contain letters or numbers, spaces are not permitted.
No other GSM characters are permitted either. So no dashes or other imaginative ways to create visual interest!
Can the SMS sender ID contain a mixture of letters and numbers?
A sender ID can contain both letters and numbers. See below for an example SMS sender ID that contains both letters and numbers – Test1234. If numbers and letters are used, the maximum character limit is 11
Different countries and networks set their own rules on how much control they allow in setting the SMS sender ID.
Can the sender SMS sender ID be spoofed?
In many countries the sender ID can be set to whatever the sender wishes. This means that there is a danger that a fraudster could attempt to impersonate an organisation or individual.
There have been many illegal smishing campaigns that attempt to convince consumers to visit fake websites and enter their account details. (Smishing is similar to email phishing except the fraud is attempted over SMS.)
SMS smishing fraudsters will often use the sender ID to convince the recipient that the message is from a legitimate source.
Alarmingly if someone sends a text from a sender ID that is already a contact in your phone, rather than just displaying the digits of the number set, the person’s name will be displayed.
The message will also appear in the message thread, making it appear even more genuine.
Country restrictions on setting the SMS sender ID?
The ability to set the sender ID depends on which country you are sending to. In the UK, you have complete control over what you set it as. In many countries including the US, the networks do not permit you to send messages from a custom sender.
All messages must come from either a local long code (that looks like a normal mobile number) or from a short code.
Each country and network has its own rules on what is permitted.
If you attempt to send a message with a customised sender ID to a country or network that does not permit them, then the sender ID will usually be replaced with a local long code or the message may fail to be delivered.