Looking for messaging strategies that are proven to engage your audience? SMS broadcasting cuts through the noise, ensuring critical communications are delivered and, most importantly, seen. This article explores bulk texting as a business messaging strategy and includes numerous examples of how it can be used for promotional, transactional and internal communications.

You'll also discover seven best practices to help you craft an effective SMS broadcast campaign, plus some simple steps to get started.

What is a broadcast SMS?

SMS broadcasting means sending a single text message to a broad audience where all recipients receive it simultaneously. Unlike group texting, where all group members can see the message and read each other's replies, an SMS broadcast is sent to individual recipients as though it's a personal one-to-one message. Replies from recipients appear in your SMS inbox as private chat threads.

SMS broadcasting is a valuable strategy for both internal and external communications. It can be broadly categorised into promotional SMS messages, transactional messages and informational broadcasts.

Promotional SMS broadcasts

Promotional broadcast text messages can attract new customers, increase brand awareness and engagement and build customer loyalty. Typical promotional SMS broadcast messages include discount offers, textable coupons, flash sales, new product launch announcements and surveys. Here are some examples and templates to use.

Discount offer:

Hi Sam, enjoy big-name brand electrical items with 20% off in our seasonal clearance sale! Browse the range here: [URL]

Special textable coupon:

Hi Vicki, get 15% off your next purchase with coupon code 15OFF! Redeem it at the checkout before 31st Jan. Shop now: [URL]

Flash sale:

OUR 24-HOUR FLASH SALE STARTS NOW! Don't miss out on huge savings - grab a bargain while stocks last! [URL]

New product launch announcement:

It's finally here, Emma! Introducing our most powerful, ultra-quiet robot vacuum, with a 1.2L capacity bin and self-cleaning station: [URL]

Event invitation:

Hi Ahmed, due to popular demand, our FREE digital design workshop is back on 25/01/24 at 2pm GMT. Register your attendance here: [URL]

Event reminder:

REMINDER: our digital design workshop starts in 30 mins. Use this link to join online: [URL]

Customer survey/poll:

Hello Michael, how was the service you received today? Text 1 for excellent, 2 for good, 3 for average or 4 for poor.

Loyalty programme:

Hi Amanda, check out offers just for you via our app - and get 1000 extra points when you shop online today!

Holiday greeting:

Happy Holidays! All of us at Holistic Healthcare wish you a joyful festive season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Volunteer request:

Hello John, we need people to deliver leaflets locally to promote our upcoming amateur dramatics production - can you help?

SMS broadcasting - example volunteer request text message

Transactional SMS broadcasts

You can't take a blanket approach to some transactional messages as they're sent in response to customers taking a specific action and contain sensitive information. For example, a customer places an order and a payment confirmation is triggered. Or they request a unique 2FA PIN code for account authentication.

However, customer-wide security notifications, emergency alerts, delivery updates, and appointment reminders are among the transactional messages that work brilliantly as broadcasts. Like promotional broadcasts, these can be personalised so they look like individual messages.

Security alert:

Dear Graham, one of our overseas servers has been compromised in the last 24 hours. Security measures are in place, but you can learn more here: [URL]

Emergency announcement:

SEVERE WEATHER WARNING: Strong winds and floods are expected overnight. Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary.

Shipping confirmation:

Hi Zoe, we're pleased to confirm your order has now been shipped! Track your delivery and update delivery preferences here: [URL]

Appointment reminder:

Dear Dimitri, your car is booked for a service on 01/02/24 at 9.20am and will take around two hours. Please remember to bring the log book with you.

Internal information SMS broadcasts

SMS broadcasts are helpful for internal communication, especially if you have remote workers or personnel spread across different offices. You can use broadcast messaging to inform employees about company news, contract or policy changes, staff benefits, new hires, shift scheduling or other business alerts.

Company news:

Hi Sally, Cascade Business Solutions will acquire BYT Accountants in March 2024. This move will strengthen our offering. Learn more: [URL]

Policy changes:

Dear Kate, our Learning and Development policy has been updated to include extra secondment opportunities and training courses. [URL]

Meeting request:

All staff are expected to attend our annual conference on 18/04/24 from 1pm to 5pm. This will be held offsite at The Grand Hotel, with refreshments provided.

Staff benefits:

Hi Richard, you can now benefit from eye care vouchers and seasonal flu vaccinations. Log onto the staff portal for details on how to access these. [URL]

New hires:

We're pleased to announce that Esther Hillman is joining us on 01/03/24 as IT Director. Esther comes from top tech firm, GeneTech Solutions. [URL]

Shift scheduling:

Hi Paula, the team rota has been updated due to a staff member taking annual leave. Please see this link: [URL]

SMS broadcasting - example internal comms message

Benefits of SMS broadcasting

SMS is a very effective communication channel due to its wide reach and accessibility. Everyone with a mobile phone can access text messages, but despite this, SMS isn't an oversaturated channel - open and response rates are consistently high.

Many customers and employees like to receive text messages over other forms of communication because they're fast, convenient, direct and quick to read. From a business point of view, SMS is affordable compared to paid online ads - with an SMS broadcast service such as Messente, you'll only pay for the texts you send. To give you an idea, it costs just €10 to send 500 SMS messages to the United States (per month). Check pricing for specific destinations.

Seven best practices for an effective SMS broadcast

To get the most out of your SMS broadcast campaigns, it's vital to manage subscribers in the correct (legal) way and send content that resonates with them. Follow these tips to maximise your chances of success.

1. Gain loyal subscribers

You need to build a list of SMS subscribers before you can start sending text message broadcasts. To make your broadcast text messages legal, you must encourage subscribers to willingly opt-in (and explain what they're signing up for).

You can incorporate opt-in methods via your website, online store, or social media profiles. For example, you could publish a Facebook post highlighting the benefits of your SMS list, along with a link to your signup form.

Messente's Head of Marketing, Taavi Rebane, also advises: "Once you've started building your list, you'll need to manage it properly. This means letting subscribers opt out if they wish and regularly checking your data to ensure it's accurate. When you start sending broadcast messages, make sure your content is relevant and valuable to subscribers; otherwise, they'll opt out in a heartbeat."

2. Craft compelling messages

When creating the copy for your broadcast text messages, ensure it's clear and concise (you'll only have 160 characters to get your point across). To grab attention, try to convey a sense of urgency - use words and phrases like 'HURRY' or 'TODAY ONLY' along with a strong call-to-action (CTA) such as 'SHOP NOW' or 'BOOK HERE'. Check out this article on writing SMS copy that converts.

3. Optimise broadcast timings and frequency

The ideal yet hard-to-achieve goal of all SMS marketers is to be visible without causing annoyance. This involves getting your messaging frequency right so that you're not texting too much but also not so little that customers forget about your brand. Testing is the answer here to find the optimal frequency your subscribers are happy with.

Regarding timing, don't text at odd times, like late at night when your audience is resting - or early in the morning when people are rushing to get to work. Find the right time to text your subscribers. As a guide, consider when you would be happy to receive a text and start from there.

4. Personalise your messages

Bulk SMS means sending a single text to many recipients simultaneously. However, sending the exact same content to everyone on your list will come across as impersonal.

It makes sense, therefore, to personalise your broadcast text message, which you can do easily through your SMS provider's software. You can pull variables from your subscriber database into your content, such as your recipients' first name, order details or other unique information. Segmenting your audience into specific groups, e.g. new customers, VIPs or leads, can help you personalise further.

5. Comply with regulations

SMS broadcast messages are perfectly legal as long as you follow the telemarketing and anti-spam laws and regulations that govern the countries where your recipients are based. Examples are the TCPA, which covers the United States and Canada, and the GDPR, which covers Europe. Both are designed to protect customer data and privacy. These laws stipulate that you can't text customers without their express consent and must allow recipients to opt out easily.

Your business can be heavily penalised if you breach data protection laws and regulations. In the U.S., some states have their own laws regarding text message marketing in addition to the federal laws, so fines can vary from $500 to $1500 per text message!

6. Evaluate your broadcasts

Monitor and measure the success of your broadcast text messaging campaigns by carrying out A/B testing and using relevant KPIs (e.g., Subscriber Growth Rate, Open Rate and Click-Through Rate) to determine how they're performing. Start with small test campaigns, and once you know what's working, you can adopt those successful strategies on a wider scale.

7. Choose the right SMS broadcasting service

SMS broadcasts aren't something you can send from your personal mobile phone. You'll need to enlist a reliable bulk SMS provider to help you manage your contacts, set up personalisation and send messages securely to large volumes of recipients.

When researching providers, compare pricing, features, integration capabilities, support availability and scalability. Ask yourself: do you need two-way conversational messaging? Does the provider cover the geographical locations you need, and can they help you with your compliance efforts? What's their experience and portfolio like? Consider all your business requirements to find a provider that meets your needs.

How to send a broadcast text message

Broadcast text messaging is very straightforward with Messente's platform. Here's what you'll need to do once you've created an account and received your API keys:

  1. Upload your contact list via Messente's Phonebook feature.

  2. Create your message in the Campaign Composer tool. Type out your message copy and add personalisation variables corresponding to your list's header fields, such as 'FIRST NAME'.

  3. Select your contact list where prompted.

  4. Preview your message and view the cost of your campaign.

  5. Add credits to your balance if needed to cover the cost.

  6. Send your text (or schedule it for later).

All of the above can be done when you log into Messente's dashboard. But you can also integrate Messente into your existing CRM system and use it alongside that.

SMS broadcasting - person checking mobile phone.

Get eyes on your content with SMS broadcasts

If you need to send an important message (marketing, transactional or internal), an SMS broadcast gives you a high chance of it being opened, read and actioned. SMS is a highly visible and accessible channel that's familiar and convenient for most people. It's hard to ignore a text message, unlike an email, which can easily get lost in a busy inbox or diverted to the junk folder.

Use our best practice guidelines and templates above to send broadcasts effectively. Start by choosing an SMS broadcast service - try Messente for free today.