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Andrea Serventi
1 June 2017
Reading time: 6 min

SMS Marketing: a few insights and a new report

We introduce a new report for monitoring the consumption of SMS credits and your flows in sending. This will also give us an opportunity to sum up the progress of bulk messaging in Italy.

Today we’d like to take a look at the SMS channel from a broader perspective, considering the flow of text messages sent by companies: to do so we’ll introduce a new platform feature and then analyze some data on SMS volumes – which are so massive that they long ago led to the coining of the term Bulk Messaging.

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The new reports on the use of credits

Before taking a look at the new tool in the platform, let’s explain what bulk messaging is: the sending of large amounts of SMS to a specified list of recipients. This type of messaging is not restricted to that set of promotional messages sent by brands (what we usually call SMS Marketing), but also the vast amount of service messages (so-called transactional messages that we covered in a recent blog post) that can be sent by both companies and even public agencies and state institutions.

Given this definition, let’s take a look at the new tool. Our platform now offers a new feature that gives you an overview on your consumption of SMS credits and lets you understand the frequencies with which to maintain your SMS Marketing strategy.

To see the report just click on the SMS credit counter located in the lower left corner of the platform, and then select the Credits Usage Report.

credits report_2

The default report displays the last 30 days of sendings, with the ability to customize the timeline, extend the period you want to consider or, conversely, to narrow it down.

In addition to displaying a graph with the number of credits used per sending, the page will calculate the consumption for each list. By clicking on the magnifying glass icon, you can see a detailed list of how many credits you used to send each SMS to the recipients in the selected list.

And last but not least, the data in the report are fully exportable to be analyzed and processed elsewhere.

Bulk is constantly growing

Now let’s take a look at what has emerged from the Mobile B2C Strategy Monitoring Center of Milan Politecnico’s School of Management: we can see that the number of companies using bulk SMS messaging is steadily rising, recording a 10% increase in 2016.

volumi sms bulk

When analyzing the total increases in volume, we must consider the emerging role SMS messages play within Marketing Automation: text messages are in fact a vital link within an automation strategy that makes cross-channel solutions one of its most effective weapons. This means that SMS messages are increasingly used in conjunction with emails to relay customer communications on different supports. Cross-channel solutions and automation are intended to go hand in hand, and consequently the SMS channel clearly benefits.

Another interesting fact emerges from the Monitoring Center: to map the degree of maturity of the 170 Italian medium-large sized companies, they were asked if they owned a database for sending SMS. Here’s how the following companies responded:

Schermata 2017 06 01 alle 10.59.53
  • create a client DB
  • 30% – Yes, we have a client database but we don’t send them SMS
  • 29% – Yes, we have a client database that we regularly use for sending SMS

If a significant 29% of companies have already activated the SMS channel within their digital marketing strategy, the remaining 70% still have an effective tool available for cultivating relationships with customers and prospects: this leads us to believe that there is a lack of knowledge of the tools and communication resources.

The fact that SMS Marketing is not yet widespread leaves room for a large margin of growth; as the channel isn’t saturated, it will offer those companies choosing to use it more exposure among customers.

6 tips to send better bulk text messages

Far from being a simple fallback channel – it can be used if you can’t reach the user in-app or communicate with those who don’t even have a smartphone – SMS messaging has specific peculiarities that lead to specific benefits.  Here are some basic best practices to consider when creating and preparing sendings.

1. Avoid generic or shouted text

The term spammy is used to indicate these messages in English: even though they respect users’ privacy, they are intrusive, inappropriate, and harassing in both their content and tone. Always avoid writing SMS messages with generic content or exaggerated and unreasonably excited tones just to catch attention. On the contrary, establish a transparent, trusting relationship with your recipients, communicating clear information that they will find interesting.

2. Be specific

Within the limits of its 160 characters (or 480 by concatenating the messages), the SMS must be rich and exhaustive, capable of communicating its goal immediately with a clear and unequivocal call to action.

3. Avoid abbreviations and respect punctuation

To save space, companies often try to include more information by using abbreviations and avoiding punctuation: this trick inevitably gives the SMS a spammy, unprofessional feel, as well as increases the chances of misunderstanding and miscommunication. To be professional you don’t need to be overly polite or include formalities, just use proper English with a spontaneous, polite tone.

4. Pay attention to formatting

Clever formatting adds clarity: separating lines is critical, as it breaks up the text and improves the SMS’s readability (consuming just one character); instead, capital letters highlight and give emphasis to certain elements (brand name, call to action, phone number), and are certainly preferable to special characters such as asterisks. 

5. Include a subtle unsubscription link

The inclusion of an unsubscribe option adds transparency and trust to your communications, as well as reduces the chances of blockage by operators. Regardless of the degree of your campaigns’ segmentation and relevance, there will always be someone in the database who wishes to unsubscribe. We suggest adding instructions on how to unsubscribe to your campaign once a month. 

6. Identify the most effective time slots for your sending

What is the best time to launch an SMS campaign? It depends on the business and the target: find out which day of the week and which time period will help your SMS be most successful. For example, if you want to bring visitors into your shop on weekends, we advise sending them messages on Thursday or Friday, between 2 and 5 pm.

Once you’ve learned the channel’s fundamentals, modify the text messages to your company’s features. At MailUp you’ll find all the features and resources to implement and develop your SMS Marketing campaigns, sending after sending. The first step? Activate a 30-day free trial of the platform and see the credits page on our website. If you have any questions or want to know more, you can email us or leave your comment below.

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Andrea Serventi

I was born in 1986 in Milan, where I graduated in Modern Literature and started writing for online newspapers, magazines and TV news programs. Having now converted to marketing and the digital world, I am a Content Editor at MailUp: I read, listen, collect ideas, and write about what email marketing is and how to use it strategically.

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