Sitting with a list of mobile numbers and a smartphone attempting to send text messages to all and sundry is no way to go about conducting an SMS marketing campaign. If you want to send multiple SMS messages programmatically to a large number of people, you'll need to use a bulk SMS service. These can provide you with the technology and resources to send messages to a large number of people automatically. Unfortunately, they don't come for free. If you want to contact a large number of potential punters by SMS, you'll need to be prepared to pay.
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Collate a list of mobile phone numbers you can use for your SMS campaign. If you don't have your own database, you can buy data from the bulk SMS company you choose to use or a third-party data provider. The owners of any numbers you have on file will need to have opted in to receiving marketing messages for you to be able to contact them by SMS.
Contact bulk SMS firms such as Textlocal, BulkSMS.co.uk or Text Marketer and assess the services they offer. Most charge per individual message sent and offer big discounts for large campaigns. Don't just go for a company based on unit price alone. Look for firms that can provide short codes and keywords you can add to other marketing materials. You'll also need to decide if you want a service you can operate yourself from your PC, or one that's managed by the firm you choose.
Establish what form of data you will need to supply before it's uploaded to your bulk SMS service of choice. It may need to be formatted or imported into alternative software before it can be used.
Write the content for your first marketing SMS message. If you're no marketeer, consider asking for advice on content from the bulk SMS service or a third-party marketing agency. Getting the wording right could make a big difference to the response you receive.
Tips and warnings
- Always capture your customers' mobile phone numbers and encourage them to opt in to receiving marketing messages if you're planning to use SMS marketing over the long term.
- If your bulk SMS service allows you to monitor campaign response, send out multiple SMS messages with different content to gauge what works well with your customer base.
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