How to Choose the Best Bulk SMS Service Provider
Bulk messaging, also known as mass messaging, is an efficient marketing technique. It involves sending multiple messages to a broad audience — active or potential consumers. Bulk SMS Service usually work automatically and target a specific group of contacts.
Unlike common SMS messages for personal communication, bulk texts deliver specific information to many people at once. Therefore, they require lower operational costs and provide instant access to the recipients. The customers’ location and device type don’t matter.
But how to choose a text marketing SMS service that meets your requirements and addresses your company’s goals? With dozens of options, you may find it challenging to pick the most suitable one for your texting campaigns. There are numerous factors to consider: the platform’s features, scalability, API integrations, convenience, available pricing packages, etc.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. But first, let’s look at the bulk SMS use cases.
Bulk SMS Use Cases
Bulk text services offer a comprehensive approach to providing result-driven messaging campaigns. Due to this technique’s effectiveness, numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations can benefit from applying it. Here are just a few industries and business areas that can benefit from a mass texting solution.
- Sales and marketing
- Real estate
- Transportation and logistics
- Sports and fitness
- Event promotion
- Healthcare, etc.
Of course, emails and push notifications also provide numerous advantages. However, bulk messaging remains a top tool for these and other types of business.
And the effectiveness of sending multiple SMS is statistically proven. Gartner’s survey claims that SMS open rates (98%) and response rates (45%) are significantly higher than, for example, the corresponding indicators in email campaigns.
Why? Because marketing text messages are more accessible and suitable for a larger audience. They don’t require an Internet connection and enable direct seamless delivery. That’s why the customers are more likely to open your message and respond.
Now, let’s focus on how bulk SMS services can address your business goals. We will reveal texting app best practices, explain how such solutions work, and highlight their key benefits.
SMS App Best Practices
A helpful and result-driven messaging service should provide essential features, integrations, and tools. Moreover, these services offer multiple additional options you can use to expand your audience and open new opportunities. With such an app, you can boost your texting campaigns’ efficiency and choose a suitable pricing plan.
Let’s look at the core SMS Service platform principles necessary to help you accomplish your business goals. Remember that these practices are not uniform since each system offers its advantages and capabilities. However, the directions listed below will enhance your text marketing and make your life easier.
Intuitiveness and Accessibility
No matter how powerful and feature-rich a platform is, you won’t enjoy using it if it is too complex and confusing. In contrast, a user-friendly, simple, and clean interface allows learning the app’s functions and capabilities faster.
Not surprisingly, the business pays much attention to the system’s intuitiveness and usability when making its choice.
Therefore, the client’s interface should provide the users with streamlined navigation. Thus, they can find what they need right away. Another vital aspect is easy-to-follow onboarding. It helps understand how the platform’s features work in no time. Even unprepared and inexperienced users should be able to use the app’s essential functions without undue effort.
However, the ease of use does not mean a lack of sophisticated capabilities. Thus, a good texting software should offer the clients a well-established customer support system. Even if any technical issues occur, you can quickly address them by phone, email, or live chat.
Ensuring Two-way Communication
You probably recall automated and standardized mass messaging when thinking of a text marketing SMS service. But in fact, many businesses need solutions for direct personal communications with their customers. That’s because one-way texting is often not enough to engage their audience and achieve a high response rate.
For such needs, two-way communication is a must-have feature. Modern SMS marketing companies offer their clients a two-way communication functionality. It aims to boost customer service or ensure the company’s efficient internal messaging.
Such an approach can help you keep an actual dialogue with your customers and thus, improve user experience. On top of that, two-way messaging may critically impact conversion rates and lead generation.
To effectively implement this feature, one should remember several significant related factors.
- Meaningfulness. Two-way SMS messages should be clear, precise, and informative. The recipient should instantly get the alert’s point. Also, they need to understand how to talk back on this channel. Such texts should be brief (up to 160 characters) and enable opt-out.
- Personalized experience. A generalized message with no apparent value to a particular user does not encourage a response. That’s why an effective two-way communication strategy involves customized conversations. You will need to collect and process information about your customers’ individual needs and expectations. And a good SMS marketing service will allow you to do so.
- Compliance. Two-way communication requires SMS compliance with specific rules and regulations. It’s necessary because your messaging database should consist of the opt-in phone numbers that have confirmed receiving your messages. You will find more information about the compliance of the SMS marketing services below in this article.
The clients prioritize text services that offer multiple integrations with other apps and services. As a result, businesses can expand their capabilities and synchronize their marketing efforts.
For example, in addition to typical opportunities a texting app provides, it also allows for automating order confirmation, collecting valuable data, etc.
Thus, integrating with third-party platforms is a great benefit a text marketing SMS service can provide. Most such apps aim to help the clients boost their marketing, use CRM, synchronize text message and email campaigns, etc.
For example, some integrate with MailChimp or Constant Contact to ensure efficient text messaging and email sync. Other popular options are Salesforce, Shopify, HubSpot, NetSuite, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.
Finally, to ensure the clients can take advantage of any CRM they need, an SMS platform can integrate with Zapier and link to other systems via this service. Zapier is a tool that enables automating tasks between two or more apps.
In particular, our platform allows integrating with any CRM or software connected to Zapier, which works for more than four thousand apps.
Of course, the pricing plans offered by an SMS marketing service matter a lot. It’s another crucial factor that businesses consider when making their choice. Many companies expect the price to be affordable for a small startup just beginning to launch its messaging campaign.
Here, it’s essential to consider specific services and features offered by a particular platform. Your choice will depend on the actual value and benefits to your business needs. For example, some systems are more suitable for real estate or hospitality companies, while others offer valuable features for e-commerce.
The pricing plans usually use one of the following models:
- Pay-as-you-go. A client pays for SMS marketing services based on usage. It is suitable for those who don’t need to text their customers regularly or want to run a temporary campaign.
- Low-volume monthly plan. A monthly or yearly package involves paying for long-term text messaging services. It’s efficient for those who look for a constant and convenient texting tool to communicate with their customers.
Another great advantage of texting software is a free trial version that allows the clients to assess the app’s benefits and effectiveness for their needs.
Perhaps, every business hopes to get bigger one day. But once your audience grows significantly, will you have enough of your chosen tool?
The difference between an average and an excellent text marketing service is that the latter offers a consistent path for growth. When you need to scale your campaign, the service will provide a solution corresponding to your advanced requirements. It may involve more robust features for automation, targeting, deliverability, and more.
At the same time, the client shouldn’t be forced to move to a much more expensive pricing plan. A scalable platform will offer them a seamless and affordable way to gradually increase the campaign’s capacity without charging an outrageous fee.
The automation solutions can significantly benefit your texting campaign. However, you should also be mindful of your audience’s specific expectations.
Supposing you want to go further than establishing fundamental interactions with your customers and one-way communications. Then, it’s worth considering a custom approach. It’s one of the crucial options to be offered by text marketing platforms.
Implementing a custom approach will help you boost your relationships with the target users by personalizing their experience. For example, you have to solve more complex customer situations and deliver specific, individual information. How can text messaging software help you with that? Here are several options a good service will provide.
- Customizable templates. Some text messaging services offer clients to build their own texting campaigns with flexible and customizable templates. It allows you to address your individual goals and adapt the service to your audience’s specifics.
- Personalized messages. Collecting the information about your customers, including their names, birthdays, etc., will help you personalize their experience. Thanks to your texting tool, you can capture this data and establish a better connection with your audience.
- Targeting specific groups of customers. Customization enables targeting your texts to the users who expect to get them. For example, you might thank those recently purchased on your website. Or, send additional information about particular goods/services to those interested in them earlier.
Finally, the chosen SMS marketing platform should comply with specific regulations and laws governing the telecommunication industry. Any bulk message campaign should be based on permission granted by the recipients. Accordingly, it depends on their wish to get your texts. And the service you use should provide a completely compliant solution.
Here are the most crucial requirements and regulations all text marketing platforms should follow.
- Get the customers’ consent. Before sending any promotional text sent automatically, any business must get written consent from the recipients. This rule is strictly regulated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). You can get the permissions by asking your users to opt in. Also, it’s necessary to leave your customers the opt-out opportunity.
- Follow CTA requirements. The call-to-action link encouraging the users to opt in should consist of specific predefined components. It’s supposed to contain information about your campaign’s purpose, the notifications’ frequency, and the recipients’ fee (if any). Finally, the message should provide a link for viewing terms and conditions.
- Send a confirmation message first. The compliance alert should be the initial message you send to your users, no matter how they conducted the signup process. This notification should contain all information about your company and the texts you deliver. The recipient should also be able to opt-out.
- Avoid forbidden content. There is certain content regulated more strictly for automated texting campaigns. The rules are set by the CTIA and monitor messages containing information regarding sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco. These topics are monitored more closely and may require additional age restrictions.
How We Evaluate and Test Apps
Now, keeping in mind all guidelines and best practices mentioned above, let’s sum up what is necessary to consider when choosing a text marketing platform. These conclusions stem from Smarter Contact’s reach expertise in providing the best text messaging service for business.
What to Look For
Among numerous SMS marketing services, prioritize those offering the following benefits:
- Usability. A user-friendly interface and convenient mobile app are vital. Thus, you will get a satisfying user experience and access to the platform from anywhere and any time you need.
- Helpful support. Make sure the chosen tool has well-established and responsive customer support. It should provide you with the required assistance and help you solve any potential issues.
- Data-centered approach. Measuring key metrics and KPIs and having access to the required data is the key to success. Instant and relevant reports will enable you to monitor your marketing effectiveness and productivity. Also, it will help you improve your future campaigns.
- Convenient account management. The texting software you use should allow you to manage your account with grades, user roles, and access levels.
- Enhanced approach to lead generation. The system should help you conduct result-driven communication with your customers. Thus, you will get more chances to generate new quality leads. For instance, follow-up campaigns can reach the customers who didn’t reply to your first message. At the same time, those you don’t want to contact in the future may be forwarded to the DNC (Do Not Contact) list.