Texting software has done amazing things for marketers who want to connect with active audiences. Rather than being “just another email” in an in-box full of other special offers that are easy to ignore, a text provides some excitement. A personal text or even SMS bulk texting can arrive anytime, and reach recipients anywhere they, and their mobile devices, happen to be.
That sets a difference with emails. Desktop are not always in hand for people to open the email browser; and even if they can open emails using their phones, they can easily get lost in the spam folder. Judging from the growing popularity of mobile devices and texting in general, people also seem to enjoy how a text can announce its arrival with a pleasant tone or buzz.
That said, businesses who are exploring SMS bulk texting as an useful outreach service can face some challenges. Besides the SMS marketing regulations, which require for you to make sure everyone who receives their messages has opted-in voluntarily, there is a constant balancing act between offering helpful information and great offers and overstaying your welcome by sending too many texts.
SMS Bulk Texting Guidelines
The texting service you work with can offer some guidelines on best practices, or share experiences of some of their clients. But there are other strategies that can help your company’s text messages have the intended result: getting people excited enough to click for more info, and hopefully buy.
1. Be brief and relevant
The current text box allows 160 characters but no one says you have to use them all. So even though it’s not always easy writing short yet persuasive when you have a lot of interesting things to say, this is your limit – unless you want to continue your thought in multiple texts, which has the possibility of confusing or annoying subscribers.
You may only have room for a sentence or two in your text, but make sure you include a link, which can take people to a landing page with more info about what you’re trying to promote.
2. Address them personally
This is smart for person-to-person texts, since it adds a personal touch. But it’s less easy if you’re using bulk texting that offers the same generic message to the hundreds or thousands of others on your mailing list.
However, some texting services allow you to merge your database with your message to at least include the sender’s name in a top field. “Bob Smith, check out this great offer!” should see better results than a general “check out this great offer,” which is more likely to be seen as unwanted spam.
3. Time things right
You’re not going to know what your bulk texting recipients are doing during the day and whether they’re just waiting for your text, so you may as well go for it and send anytime. However, a big no-no in the commercial texting community is to send the texts after ‘prime time’ hours, like after 10 p.m.
While it might generally be OK to send a note to a friend or family members late or night or in the early morning, a commercial text could be less welcoming, especially since you’re already interrupting their lives with your message.
You also might want to avoid Monday mornings when workers are getting back into the swing of things, or Friday afternoons, when many are scrambling to wrap up their work and head home.
4. Target them properly
If you manage your SMS subscriber lists well, you should have an “everyone” list and other lists of users with certain interests. Your texts to the “everyone” group can be very general and can have a goal of promoting your whole brand or a perhaps a special event or sale that appeals to all. But your other lists can be written for fans of that particular item or service.
If you manage this properly, the recipients should appreciate you letting them know about something that you think will help them, rather than saying, “why are they sending me this? I don’t even like _____.”
5. Make things conversational, but not too conversational
Texting is about the least formal media out there, and your message will likely be found among casual conversations between friends and family members. So address them like an acquaintance might – “hey, check out this great offer!” rather than a more formal message like you’d find in an email.
That said, try to resist the urge to use SMS shorthand or abbreviations. While segments of your audience may understand, and maybe even appreciate, you speaking their language, remember that you’re a professional business and you want to make sure no one is left out.
SMS bulk texting can be a useful and relatively simple way to reach a lot of your audience at once, but there are some other methods businesses can use to enhance their message and get more people clicking and buying.
For other tips and a broader insight on SMS marketing and how it helps businesses grow, check out our Ultimate SMS Marketing Guide. You can download the PDF version for free here: