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How does bulk SMS marketing work?

To start a bulk SMS marketing strategy, marketers should create message templates, monitor engagement and ensure that customers can opt in or out of communications.

Organizations of all sizes have turned to bulk SMS marketing to reach their target audiences in real time, and in a cost-effective and easy-to-implement way.

Bulk SMS marketing is quickly becoming popular among businesses, as it lets them maintain relationships with existing customers while reaching out to potential new ones. With the right strategy, bulk SMS marketing can help brands engage with customers and prospects more effectively.

To implement a successful bulk SMS campaign, marketing leaders must understand how it works and how it differs from other forms of communication.

What is bulk SMS marketing?

Bulk SMS marketing is a type of digital marketing strategy that enables businesses to send text messages directly to customers and prospects. When marketers send text messages, they travel directly from a business's SMS services into the recipient's mobile device. This direct connection ensures customers see messages almost immediately, which can give organizations an instant response rate compared to other methods, such as email or social media posts.

With bulk SMS messaging, marketers can draft a message template once and use the same template each time they want to promote their products or services -- similar to how automated emails are built and distributed. Marketers can determine which message to send and when to send it based on segmented lists or actions a user takes that may trigger communications.

This direct form of communication enables brands to create personalized messages tailored specifically for their target audiences. If marketers use data from customer preferences and purchase histories, they can craft more effective campaigns to grab customers' attention and enable higher conversion rates. Bulk SMS messages also let marketers track response rates and measure campaign effectiveness with ease. With this strategy, they can optimize their message templates for better results.

Overall, bulk SMS marketing offers an effective way for organizations of all sizes to engage with customers. It has quickly become one of the most popular forms of digital marketing due to its convenience and ability to deliver instant results.

A chart depicting various message templates that marketers can send to customers in a bulk SMS marketing campaign.
Customer segmentation helps keep bulk SMS marketing campaigns afloat.

10 steps for bulk SMS marketing

To make a bulk SMS marketing strategy work, these 10 steps can help marketers implement, improve, monitor and optimize their messaging strategy.

1. Ensure customers opt in to receive messages

Firstly, marketers should not send text messages to customers or prospects that have not opted in to receive messages. Organizations are legally required to obtain permission for these types of communications.

Customers that opt in to communications also provide marketing teams with increased engagement and deliverability -- two key metrics for success in bulk SMS texting programs.

2. Research the target audience

When marketing teams develop campaigns to target prospects and customers, they must do the necessary research to understand customers' demographic information, interests and preferences.

This information helps teams craft effective messaging tailored specifically to their target audience and is more likely to resonate with them when they engage with the content.

3. Segment customers to improve engagement

After marketers research their target audience, they can build segments within a database to ensure customers receive the right message targeted to them.

Marketing teams can base segments on customers' demographics, interests and preferences, so teams can personalize messages. Segments can also take information from past purchases or engagement to tell marketers to interact with an audience that has shown high interest in the brand's products or services. This personalization can lead to increased open rates and higher customer engagement.

4. Create message templates

If marketers take the time to create and set up text message templates, they can simplify how they distribute bulk SMS communications with minimal investment or effort.

Message templates should outline the information that teams plan to share with each audience. This information can include promotional offers, product updates, new product releases or special seasonal communications.

5. Schedule messages

Marketers must decide when it is most appropriate to send a message to a recipient in a bulk SMS marketing campaign. To identify the best times, teams should identify customers' habits and patterns in engagement data, such as open rates or click-through rates.

The timing of bulk SMS sends can affect engagement rates, because they are designed for customers to see and act on them quickly without much effort.

6. Automate bulk message sending

If an organization plans to execute SMS marketing campaigns to a wide audience, automation can benefit the overall strategy.

Marketing teams can use automation triggers based on end users or around promotional periods, like holidays. These triggers ensure customers receive messages based on a set of rules set up from the automations, making message delivery more effective and timely.

7. Design engaging campaigns

The message templates are central to full campaign design, as they can ensure the messages and campaigns will grab the recipients' attention and encourage them to interact.

The campaigns can also be a part of a larger multichannel effort, where marketers can send out bulk SMS messages in support of other channels within the campaign, such as email, advertising, account-based marketing and social media.

8. Monitor campaign performance

After marketers launch the bulk SMS marketing campaign and ensure they send messages in a timely fashion, they must monitor and track the campaign's performance. This can include the following metrics:

  • Response rates.
  • Conversion rates.
  • Open rates.
  • Click-through rates.

This monitoring can help marketers quickly adjust the campaign with little effort based on metrics and feedback.

9. Analyze results and optimize

When marketers monitor the campaign's performance, they should identify optimization opportunities. This could relate to when messages are sent, the accuracy of the list segmentation, the calls to action, the length of the messages, etc.

The measurement and optimization of campaigns enables a cyclical campaign to go to market, with the model to plan, launch, measure, optimize and repeat the process.

10. Provide an opt-out option

Just like marketers should ensure recipients opt in to receive text messages, it is equally important to provide an opt-out feature. Giving users an option to stop receiving communications can enable a positive experience. It also helps marketers monitor key metrics, as they can avoid sending messages to users who either do not want them or no longer find value in them.

Giving users control over their experience also helps make the audience more relevant, so marketers only send messages to people who truly want to hear from the brand.

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