When you think about mass SMS marketing, you may think of unwanted spam messages.
However, when done properly, business texting increases engagement with your customers, employees, and prospects.
Business texting has higher response and read rates than emails and is a familiar technology to most. If you know the compliance regulations and different types of mass SMS marketing tactics, you can implement better marketing campaigns that yield results.
Mass SMS marketing unveiled
Mass SMS marketing is simply sending out text messages to multiple contacts simultaneously.
It may have negative connotations - anonymous, generic, or spammy. But the truth is that mass SMS marketing can be a huge advantage to your business's bottom line. When you choose a business texting provider with robust features, you can personalize messages, increase engagement, and save time for you and your contacts.
With a mass SMS marketing platform, you can create personalized text messages and make it easy for users to share content without duplicating work (and text messages), which often leaves room for errors and misses important contacts who should receive the content.
When customers feel inspired and connected to the brand, they are more likely to engage with you. Mass SMS marketing allows you to find the right cadence of messaging to your audience with the ability to go from transactional messages to conversational two-way communication.
Quick ways to use mass SMS marketing:
Increase email conversions with SMS follow-ups: Since SMS has higher read and engagement rates than email, mass SMS marketing is great for pinging your contacts when they have ignored your email. A quick text message is much easier to send than scanning a longer email and replying.
Schedule quick reminders: People are busy and want convenience. Maybe they meant to respond to you, but life and work got in the way. Scheduling a reminder about your event, meeting, or touch point lets you nurture relationships and get quick replies.
Send follow ups after events and tradeshows: You attend events and trade shows with the anticipation of making connections and turning contacts into real leads. You can send relevant information to your contacts via a quick text message immediately during the event. Waiting three to five days would make the comment seem offbeat and not offer as much value.
Send exclusive SMS-only offers: A common way to build your list is to provide exclusive offers to those who sign up to receive mass SMS marketing. This isn’t spammy but exclusive and something the right contact will want and appreciate.
Send mass alerts and notifications: While mass SMS marketing can be personal and nurture leads, there are also times when you just need to let everyone know the message simultaneously and as soon as possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught all industries and users that in an ever-changing environment, you need an instant way to alert people.
In hospitality and retail, this could look like closings. In hospitals, this could be updated policies and procedures. In schools, it could be announcing weather closures. Employees and consumers both need to receive notifications in real time. Mass SMS marketing is the tool to get the basics out in a fast and controlled manner.
Types of mass SMS marketing
Now that you understand some of the benefits of mass SMS marketing, let’s look at different ways to send text messages.
Short code mass SMS marketing
Short codes were one of the first ways brands started to use mass SMS marketing. Short code messaging may include five- or six-digit numbers used from a text messaging platform.
Short code mass SMS marketing is an easy way to send promotions and offers to customers. Since it lacks personalization and brand identity, short code mass SMS marketing is best used for automated notifications that do not require a response. The benefit of this is that you can send more messages faster.
One of the downsides to short code mass SMS marketing is that it tends to be more expensive to set up and maintain than other text numbers. It can also take up to six to twelve weeks to set up, which is not ideal if you are looking for immediate implementation.
EXAMPLE: Short code text from 85558: Use code PARTY to receive 15% off all 4th of July items sitewide at PartyPlus.
If you use short code mass SMS marketing, it’s a good idea to include the brand name in the message since your phone number will not be known to the customer. Also, ensure you use branded links instead of shortened links to limit any questionability of the text message being considered spam or from an unwanted source.
Short code SMS compliance
Due to the lack of brand recognition, contacts may not be certain of the sender and may view the text message as suspicious activity, not a real offer, or containing a virus link.
Phishing accounts have added to this by mimicking brands and offering codes or offers via short code mass SMS marketing that turns out to be illegitimate.
In addition to a lack of brand awareness, short code mass SMS marketing previously included shared short codes. This caused confusion with brands sharing the same code and prompted the SMS industry to move towards dedicated short codes, thus eliminating shared codes.
If you work in retail, a common use case for short code mass SMS marketing is you are likely to send promotional offers at the same time as your competitors. If you share a short code with your competitor, you could send your offer from the same number as your competitor, confusing the customer and potentially losing a sale to your competitor.
In an industry like retail, it’s also common that customers may sign up for multiple stores to see who has the best promotional offers and frequently shop at many different stores. Brand loyalty still matters. Losing it to a short code can be harmful, but sharing it with a competitor is even worse.
Another downside to short code mass SMS marketing is that it is not compliant with 10DLC.
This is a formal program designed by US carriers that secures and improves business-to-consumer text messaging, also known as application-to-person (A2P), the common act of using a business texting platform for mass SMS marketing. 10DLC compliance focuses on building a strong brand identity and sending qualified campaigns, making short code mass SMS marketing better for one-way communication.
10-digit long code mass SMS marketing
10-digit long codes look similar to a regular, local business phone number and include 10 digits. These numbers can be used in more ways and sectors compared to short codes that are primarily a marketing and sales tactic.
Unlike short codes, 10-digit long codes build brand awareness and credibility because contacts learn to recognize your number and can see the entire conversation.
Contacts can respond to text messages and carry on a two-way conversation with your brand. This type of communication is more personal and effective in forming one-on-one conversations from a mass SMS marketing campaign.
While short code mass SMS marketing doesn’t comply with 10DLC, it's required for 10-digit long codes.
This builds and maintains trust between businesses and consumers by establishing routes and validity for sending messages and rewards companies who know their consumers and provides wanted content to them.
10DLC mass SMS marketing improves deliverability, and you will see higher throughput determined by your registration.
10DLC looks at your brand size, which vertical you support, and the types of mass SMS marketing campaigns you send to determine the daily maximum number of messages you can send. Additional vetting may be required for campaigns such as political, sweepstakes, or emergency text messages.
Creating a transparent ecosystem means your business will see greater results from your mass SMS marketing campaigns, and you can trust that you are ethically building relationships with your customers.
How to optimize mass SMS marketing
Once you determine which text message number is right for your business, you can optimize your mass SMS marketing strategy by looking for features that enhance your campaign.
Some of the top features that let you optimize campaigns include:
Scheduled campaigns: The ability to create mass SMS marketing campaigns when it’s convenient for you and have them sent at the right time to contacts is a huge benefit to both parties.
Unlimited campaigns: Not all text message platforms are created equally. Some have limits to how many contacts you can reach at once, as well as how many campaigns you can send. Make sure you know how many contacts and campaigns you will need to be successful before you launch mass SMS marketing.
Personalized messages: Remember that one of the drawbacks of mass SMS marketing is that it is generic. Having a personalization feature will let you create campaigns tailored to the audience so they don’t even realize it is part of a major campaign.
Analytics: You can’t measure the key performance indicators of your mass SMS marketing campaigns without analytics. Understand which campaigns are performing the best so that you can send more of what is working and less of what isn’t.
Quality text indicator: You may think writing 160 characters should be easy, but sometimes, saying less is harder. Make the most of your mass SMS marketing campaigns by getting suggestions on tone, content, and emojis with a built-in quality text indicator.
While you may have a number of contacts to reach, it is important to understand that there is no real unlimited texting plan.
Mass SMS marketing platforms may come with some strings attached or not be viable for business needs. Some may limit how many contacts you can reach or how many campaigns you can run simultaneously.
Businesses have different use cases and audiences to reach. Unlimited business SMS may not be as important for your business as features such as segmented contacts and campaigns or unlimited keywords and contacts.
Let’s explore additional features you may want from your mass SMS marketing platform.
MMS mass SMS marketing
If you want a feature that makes your mass SMS marketing campaigns come to life, look to add rich media.
This feature includes attaching images, videos, GIFs, and PDFs to enhance your text message while increasing response rates and conversions.
You can use images to show marketing promos in a catchy design that is more appealing than just plain text. You can use branded links to build trust and brand recognition with your contacts. A branded link will look cleaner than a long URL and is more secure and safe than a short link from a third party that may have the potential to be blocked by certain carriers.
Here is an example of using rich media mass SMS marketing.
EXAMPLE: Hello, Elizabeth! Just a quick reminder that we’re throwing a taco party at the conference this week. Wednesday, 1:30 pm in Conference B.
(Send a photo of the exact entrance point for Conference B)
In this example, you can send a rich media text message to contacts registered for a trade show.
Conferences can be large, so asking people to meet you at booth three or conference B can be confusing in a large and unfamiliar area. Make sure your contacts know exactly where to find you by sending an image with clear markers on where you’ll be.
Keywords mass SMS marketing
SMS keywords are words that can be texted to your number to trigger automated responses to your mass SMS marketing. Keywords are a feature that simplifies opt-ins and grows your contact list so you can get more from your mass SMS marketing campaigns.
Creating contact groups from keyword responses lets you easily retarget engaged contacts with relevant mass SMS marketing campaigns to maximize your results and sales.
You can use keywords for large outreach and then segment responses for follow-up campaigns, making this feature a practical way to use both mass and personal text messaging.
The best part is that keywords save you time by implementing an automation capability for such a large send. Instead of having to copy and paste the same message or manually keep track of responses, keywords manage that for you.
Here is an example of using keywords in mass SMS marketing:
EXAMPLE: Heather - It’s fireworks night on July 3 at American Family Field! What better way to celebrate the holiday than with the best view and team in America! Reply back with “FIRE” to hear our deals!
In this example, when Heather responds back with FIRE, she will be sent the promotional messages she asked for.
Heather can be one of the hundreds of contacts looking for deals, but your team only has to schedule that campaign once and can automatically follow up with responses instead of keeping track on their own.
A/B testing mass SMS marketing campaigns
In marketing, you always want to A/B test your message, whether it’s for email marketing or social media ads.
You will also want your mass SMS marketing campaigns to have the capability to test different text messages, including rich media like photos and link tracking support for increased engagement.
Let’s say you want to send a candidate a job description; you can test if candidates are more likely to respond to a PDF of the job or a link to your site.
It's ideal if A/B testing features are built into your mass SMS marketing platform so you can easily set up campaigns and see results in real-time to make any necessary adjustments. It’s also a benefit if link tracking is also built into your mass SMS platform so that you can save time from copying and pasting links from other third-party vendors and know that your link is marked safe by carriers.
Mass SMS marketing is a great tool for sales and marketing verticals of your business, where knowing your contact engagement, especially at various funnel stages, will let you discover which content and campaigns are resonating with different contact groups.
Some tips for A/B testing your mass SMS marketing campaigns are:
Target your goals: You want to be certain of what you are looking to test. Pick a few goals for which you want answers, and test each at a time. You may be looking for a purchase, review, social share, form submission, link click, or content view. These are all great goals in your marketing strategy, but each will require different tests.
Expand your users: You may be tempted to hand-select users who you think will match your hypothesis and control the results on your own, but this type of thinking will only inhibit your mass SMS marketing efforts. Make sure to expand your users to include a larger group so that you can find the best patterns and results of people who are using your product.
Keep testing: Another temptation is to call it quits once you achieve the result for which you were searching. You want concrete results and not a one-off fluke. The more you A/B test your mass SMS marketing, the better you can adjust and be confident that you are targeting and reaching your audience.
Focus on one variable: Similar to having multiple goals requiring separate tests, you will also have different variables you want to test. You may see if one image or no image is better, if changing the call-to-action makes a difference, or if people prefer links or no links. If you change all of those variables in one test, your results will be skewed, and you won’t know how to use each variable to create the optimal message.
Mass SMS marketing doesn’t have to mean spam. With a trusted text message platform provider, it can improve user workflows while still giving personalization to contacts. Mass SMS marketing lets you reach everyone, but not everyone will see the reply, and you won’t have to send the same message many times.
Regulations in the SMS industry improve deliverability and keep mass SMS marketing spam free so that you can communicate confidently and effectively.
Did you know SMS open rates can be as high as 98%? Check out these 46 SMS marketing statistics that prove why this technology can have a powerful effect on all businesses.
Reach your customers in an instant
Increase brand loyalty and engagement by delivering timely, personalized messages to customers’ mobile devices.
Jennifer Adler is the Brand Director of TextUs and an experienced creative and content leader at growth-stage companies. Prior to TextUs, she’s been at multiple start-ups where she developed and managed the creative process from concept to completion across brand, marketing, sales, and UI/UX assets.
Reach your customers in an instant
Increase brand loyalty and engagement by delivering timely, personalized messages to customers’ mobile devices.