Top tips on using bulk SMS marketing effectively

Companies shouldn’t be afraid of using bulk SMS to aid their marketing campaign. After all, research shows that text messages are read more quickly and frequently than emails and social media posts. According to Frost & Sullivan, 98 per cent of all SMS messages are looked at and are read within an average of five seconds. So it’s highly likely your messages will be successfully reaching your audience.

However, a customer’s phone is a private place and the last thing they want is to receive anything that’s annoying or irrelevant, so it’s important to get your SMS marketing campaign right. Here are some tips that will help you use bulk SMS marketing effectively…

Best content to use for bulk messages

What is contained in the SMS messages you send out is very important. Content very much depends on what type of company you are and what you’re trying to achieve, but there are still some things that every company needs to consider.

You only have a short space in which to put your message; 612 characters to be precise, so your content needs to be clear and to the point. A message that is too short doesn’t provide enough information and a message that is too long will lose the customer’s interest. Essentially, what you want to gain from a text message is a response, so give them something to respond to.

Offers are a particularly good way at attracting a reader’s attention. Research from Upstream shows that 68 per cent of UK consumers would like to receive promotions via SMS every week. A great way to make the most of this is to send out a message clearly explaining what the offer is, perhaps with a discount code included to make the offer seem exclusive to that customer. There should also be a deadline too, stating when the offer will end. This gives the message some urgency, so receivers will be more likely to react immediately. If they don’t feel like they need to react straight away, they’ll forget about the message.

Timing matters when you send in mass

What time you send out your bulk SMS will vary depending on your business. For example a café may wish to drive customers to their business during lunchtime, so they’ll choose to send their messages just before midday, when people are beginning to discuss their plans. A bar may choose to text people at the end of the working day, to encourage customers to go out for drinks after work.

There are, however, certain times you should avoid altogether. Mondays can be a bad day to send out bulk SMS messages because people are often most busy after their weekend. You don’t want to bulk SMS to be sent out during ridiculous times of the day either, because if you text someone at 3am, they’re probably going to unsubscribe from your service. Instead, try to pick times of the day when people will be most receptive, such as at lunchtime or in the early evening.

Regularity is important for mobile marketing success

Most customers probably won’t want a daily text message from your company, nor will you want to send out that many messages every month. If you send messages too regularly, customers might get annoyed and choose to unsubscribe from the service. However, if you leave it too long between messages, the customer may lose interest and will have forgotten why they subscribed in the first place.

There’s no set amount of messages you should be sending per week or month, as your audience and the purpose of your messages will mean the frequency will differ.

Targeting the right people to increase response rates

Think about who you’re targeting with your messages, as it’s likely that each offer or message will need to be tailored to individual customer groups. Age, gender, location and past purchases should all be taken into account when you send out your messages. For example you wouldn’t offer free lipstick to men, because it’s likely the response rate would be next to zero and some of your customers may choose to unsubscribe as a result.

Paying attention to a customer’s purchase history is a great way to target individuals effectively. For example if they purchase one particular product a lot, they’ll be pleased to receive a SMS telling them it’s half price this week, so would be more likely to respond.

You might also want to think about how a customer’s age can have a big influence in what you send. Young people may be more inclined to follow a URL or text your company back, whereas older customers might feel more comfortable calling you instead. A small change can make a big difference.

Privacy and legalities with business bulk marketing

As briefly mentioned before, a customer’s mobile phone is a much more private place than their email inbox, so the last thing they want is to feel intruded upon. Texting someone without consent will give your brand a bad image and is very unlikely to provide you with more business, so get the customer’s permission to send marketing messages beforehand. Remember that phones do not have a spam filter like emails do and as a result customers are more cautious when it comes to the text messages they receive.

There are also some legal considerations to take into account too. You must clearly identify your company within the text message and provide a contact address, whether that be a link to your website or a phone number. In addition, you must offer a way to opt-out of the service, which is usually the word ‘STOP’ sent to a particular number.

The best thing to do with your bulk SMS marketing campaign is to test a variety of things out and see which work best. Even when you have an established campaign, there’s always room for improvement and new ways to boost customer engagement. Just remember to get your aim out clearly and concisely and to offer something your customers will want.