Mass SMS Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started

March 21, 2024
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Mass SMS Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started

What do Short Message Service (SMS) marketing and Sam's Club have in common? Both know how to do bulk right.

Mass SMS marketing lets you reach thousands or millions of the right recipients with the right message at the right time. You can do mass text message marketing without losing any quality or efficiency.

The same goes for shopping at Sam's Club. You can get everything you want in the quantities you need, saving you time and money.

OK, Sam's Club metaphor aside, mass SMS marketing (or text messaging) is a powerful way to engage with your audience on their mobile phones. In today’s business world, “58% of consumers say texting is the best way for businesses to reach them quickly,” as opposed to 21% who prefer phone calls and 21% who prefer email communications.

"Mass sending" gets a bad rap for sounding spammy, but there's nothing wrong with the tactic when used appropriately. Robocalls and unsolicited emails are different stories—now those are spammy.

Well-timed marketing text messages? Your customers actually want those. How do we know? Well, because they opted into these messages—or at least they should if you're following sending guidelines.

Below, we'll teach you everything you need to know about mass SMS marketing:

  • What it is
  • What the primary benefits are
  • What are some tips for sending
  • Who is the best mass SMS provider
  • How to get started

What is mass SMS?

Mass SMS marketing (also known as bulk SMS marketing) is mass communications via text message to a database of consenting contacts. In layman's terms, it's sending a lot of texts to a lot of people at once. Mass SMS text messages typically require specialized software apps or marketing platforms. 

Unlike pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, sponsored messages, or commercials, it's a channel your customers opt in to receive. Plus, it’s illegal to text or call a cell phone number without prior consent under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

So while your customers can't choose whether they see a billboard ad or hear a radio commercial, they do get to choose whether they receive your text message. Get your text message marketing campaigns right, and they'll likely decide to keep receiving them. 

Your SMS marketing messages could be:

  • Welcome messages
  • Promotions and campaigns
  • Product updates
  • Customer service communications
  • Event invitations
  • Appointment reminder texts and confirmations
  • Birthday rewards
  • And more

Mass text vs. group text

Although the two share some similarities, mass SMS texts differ from group SMS texts.

Both group SMS texts and mass SMS texts go to multiple contacts at the same time. However, recipients of group messages can interact with other recipients by seeing who else receives the message and replying to the entire list. In contrast, mass texts engage recipients privately, without revealing who else receives the message and without allowing recipients to reply to the entire contact list.

Provided you abide by regulatory standards, mass texting is perfectly legal. 

SMS texts are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). Additionally, business SMS messagings must follow applicable laws, notably the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act). 

To comply with these regulations, be sure to:

  • Obtain express permission from recipients to text them by inviting them to opt into your contact list.

  • Allow subscribers to opt out of your list.

  • Send texts within the hours that are allowable per the location of your recipients, typically between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in your recipients' time zones.

  • Avoid content involving topics such as sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, or tobacco—also known collectively as SHAFT.

Regulatory agencies and cell phone carriers may restrict additional types of content. There can be significant risks for non-compliance with regulatory standards so have your legal team check your compliance regularly.

Mass SMS marketing benefits

Whether you're looking for cost savings, efficiency, engagement, or reach, you'll find plenty of reasons to use SMS marketing:

  • Less competition: Everyone and their famous Instagram cat use email to communicate with customers—and it works. However, it's a competitive channel, as 82% of email users receive at least 25 emails per day. Yet, just 25% of businesses use text messaging for marketing and promotions, which is good for you if that's how you use the medium.
  • Huge return on investment (ROI): Sending a text can be as cheap as $0.0075 per message, but each of these messages has the potential to earn big sales. For example, a retail company sending 10,000 texts would only spend around $75, which a single purchase would likely offset. Learn how to maximize your SMS marketing ROI.
  • Quick to send: Mass SMS marketing messages take little-to-no time to write, format, and send. Still, you’ll want to personalize your messages to the appropriate segment, though this is relatively fast and straightforward.
  • Trusted cloud-based communications: When you use a trusted cloud-based service, you get extensive global reach, flexible pricing, advanced software features, and simple integrations via programmable APIs.
  • Tremendous engagement: SMS messages have an outstanding 98% open rate, and recipients open 90% of these messages within 3 minutes of receipt. You won't find better engagement than that anywhere else.
  • Massive reach: There are over 6 billion smartphone subscriptions in the world. If you want to reach someone, there's a good chance they have a cell phone.

7 tips for sending better mass SMS messages

SMS can be a powerful marketing channel when used correctly. Below, we'll cover a few best practices to remember when creating bulk SMS messages:

  1. Obtain permission: Don't send text messages to customers unless they've provided consent. Permission is not only legally required, but it increases engagement and deliverability.
  2. Segment your list: mass messaging doesn't necessarily mean every customer receives the same message. You might segment your audience and send different messages based on demographics, behaviors, or user preferences.
  3. Keep it concise: The shorter the better. Make your messages clever and compelling, so your customers take action instead of ignoring them or opting out.
  4. Provide an opt-out: Let your customers know how to stop receiving your messages. For example, you might include "Text STOP to stop receiving messages" at the end of your texts.
  5. Use a short code: There are several different number (sender) types available. Examples include short code, toll-free, and 10DLC. Use our simple-to-follow guide to select the best number type for your particular situation.
  6. Send at the right time: Understand your customers' behavior. They might be more likely to make a purchase from a lunchtime text rather than a late afternoon text. You’ll also need to respect your recipients’ local time zone and comply with TCPA requirements calling for texts to occur between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  7. Track your mass SMS marketing results: Monitoring KPIs such as open rates and conversion rates can tell you whether your message campaign was effective and what adjustments to make. It can also indicate whether certain segments of your list respond better to your message than others, suggesting follow-up opportunities.

Get started with mass SMS sending

SMS marketing is one of the highest ROI channels when it comes to reaching your audience. The first step in getting started with mass SMS marketing is choosing the right platform. That's where we come in.

Twilio Messaging empowers you with everything you need to use SMS to build customer relationships at scale. We provide a single platform to engage your customers across SMS and other preferred channels, including MMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Business Messages. Our MessagingX platform lets you instantly add channels and send and receive texts with just a few lines of code. You can get up and running with just a few lines of code, quickly building workflows with SMS (and all your other connected channels) using Twilio's visual workflow builder, Studio

Try Twilio's trusted SMS platform free to start scaling up your customer engagement with mass SMS text marketing.