what is bulk SMS

What Is Bulk SMS? And Why You Need It?

Bulk SMS is a term used to describe text messages that are sent out in large quantities. That’s the simplest way of defining it.

But to understand how bulk SMS works, its benefits, and uses, you need to read this article to the end.

By the time you are done, you’ll have answers to all your questions about bulk SMS, even those you didn’t know you had. 

Plus, as a bonus, we’ve included a step-by-step guide to help you send your first bulk text message.

So let’s get started

Types of Bulk SMS messages

Bulk SMS messages are part of our daily lives more than we realise. Here are the various use cases:

  • Service: When you sign up on a website and receive an OTP (One-time password), that is a service type of bulk SMS messaging. OTPs are used by a variety of enterprises to provide an extra layer of security for online users. They do this to verify that you are a real person and to provide an alternative if you forget your password. Birthday messages are also another type of service.
  • Promotional: A text message telling you about a product or service is promotional. Businesses and individuals use this to get more customers or buyers.
  • Transactional: This is the message you receive when you deposit or withdraw from your bank account. It is a transactional SMS preprogrammed by your bank to its customers. Banks and financial institutions use this.

These three uses mentioned above involve sending a large number of SMS messages to the mobile phones of a predetermined group of recipients. 

But how does it work?

How does bulk SMS messaging work?

What Is Bulk SMS? And Why You Need It?

Bulk SMS messaging is possible because of a series of factors:

A mobile phone application, a desktop software program, an SMS API, or a website.

You can send and receive bulk texts as long as you have any of these factors. These text message interfaces will first connect with an SMS service provider’s gateway. Then the SMS gateway will deliver the messages to mobile phone numbers anywhere in the world.

So you can say that the SMS gateway is the hub between the mobile network operators and the user/sender.

Please note that no matter how you send the bulk SMS messages, they have to go through an SMS provider’s gateway before getting to the recipients.

How to send different types of bulk SMS

Benefits of Bulk SMS

Service and Transactional Bulk SMS messages are sent with an API – (Application Programming Interface). They programme the messages to send off once any customer takes an action on the app or website (or bank account). To get this running, you need a developer. You also need to own a website or an application where an SMS service provider can be added on.

In contrast, Promotional SMS messaging can be done from the website of an SMS service provider. You don’t need to own a website or application or be a developer.

To send bulk text messages on an SMS service website you need:

  1. Phone numbers of your recipients
  2. Bulk SMS service provider
  3. SMS units

Once you have these three, you are almost ready to send your first bulk SMS campaign. But why do businesses still use text messages today? After all, there are more advanced ways of communicating with customers.

We will answer this question in the next section by looking at the benefits of bulk SMS messaging.

There are several benefits of using SMS for marketing and customer support. We have mentioned a few of them below.

A wider audience

According to a 2019 report, only 2.71 billion people use smartphones. Meanwhile, 5.11 billion people use mobile phones of any type. This makes it easier to reach more people since any type of cellphone can receive SMS while you need a smartphone to receive emails. So with SMS, you get about 100% more reach.

High Open Rate

Text messages get over 98% open rates, whereas a 30% open rate for emails is considered to be exceptional. Not everybody opens emails, but because of the nature and length of SMS they get opened immediately

More targeting options

With bulk SMS marketing, you can target all your contacts or narrow it down to a smaller group. This makes personalisation easier and boosts the success of your campaign. It also encourages your recipients to respond more favourably because your message appeals specifically to them.

Higher response rates

Bulk SMS gets over 200% more response rates than any other form of communication. The reason is simple, SMS is simpler to read and respond to than emails. And they require lesser technical know-how and minimal effort. That is why businesses that market with SMS experience growth.

Short and Direct

The short nature of SMS means you can pass a powerful message quickly with just 160 characters. As opposed to emails that may be longer than some essays.


The cost of sending bulk SMS is low in comparison to other forms of marketing communication. And when you consider the ROI that it brings, then that’s a double dose of sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

Suffice us to say that the benefits of bulk texting are endless, which is why we will stop with the points already given. Now that you know what bulk text messaging is and you know its effectiveness, we know what your next question is.

Who needs bulk SMS?

  • Businesses: They have a large base of users and clients that need to be reached at once with certain information. This may be information about future events, new products, or transactional information.
  • Enterprises: They send and receive bulk SMS to provide information to their customers. They also use bulk text messages to get feedback and notify their product users of transactions.
  • Schools: Schools can use bulk SMS to inform parents of upcoming events or activities in the school. It can also be used to remind parents of fees and give updates to the staff.
  • Individuals: Individuals use bulk text messaging for various things, like inviting guests to their events or marketing their products and services. 
  • Marketers: Marketers use text messages to spread the word about their client’s products and services. 

Bulk SMS messaging is also used by consumer brands, banks, media outlets, major airlines, travel agencies, healthcare providers, large consumer websites, retailers etc

This is not surprising because the benefits are endless. And anyone who has ever sent a bulk text message can testify to its effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I send bulk SMS with my phone?

You can send bulk SMS with your phone using a bulk SMS service provider’s mobile phone application. A good SMS provider’s mobile app is as good as their web and desktop platforms.

What is SMS called now?

SMS stands for Short Messaging Service, but people also refer to it as “texting’. 

What is the new type of SMS?

The new type of SMS is actually called Rich Communication Service (RCS). This new type of SMS ( or RCS) is capable of not just delivering texts but also high-resolution photos and files.

What are the four SMS?

The four most common types of bulk SMS are promotional, transactional, OTP and 2-way SMS. The most common type of SMS used is OTP, then the transactional and promotional SMS. 2-way SMS is mostly used by businesses for customer feedback.

How can I send cheap SMS in bulk?

You need a bulk SMS service or an SMS marketing platform to send cheap bulk SMS. Start by shortlisting the providers in your vicinity. Look for competitive pricing and reliable delivery. You can also have long-term contracts in place, which will give you a volume discount.

How many SMS can be sent at once?

There is no limit to the number of SMS you can send at once. However, consult local regulations before sending bulk promotional SMS. You may get blocked if you cross a threshold limit.

Why SMS is costly?

SMS may be costly based on where you live. Now you can purchase bulk SMS plans which cuts down per-SMS cost significantly. The costs pertaining to infrastructure maintenance and upgradation. But SMS is a highly reliable method to deliver time-sensitive bite-sized information almost instantly. This also contributes to the demand and cost.

What is better than SMS?

Messaging apps that use the internet, like WhatsApp and Signal, are comparable to SMS.

What is OTP on a website?

OTP stands for “One-Time Password.” A unique temporary code is sent to your registered mobile number or email address for authentication purposes on websites. You enter the OTP to confirm your identity and gain access to your accounts.

How do I get OTP online?

To get your OTP:

  • Sign-up for a service that requires OTP authentication. Provide your mobile number or email address.
  • Wait for the OTP to arrive at the provided contact information.
  • Check your SMS or email inbox for the OTP.
  • Enter the received OTP on the website to complete the verification. 

How can I create my OTP?

Here is what you need to do:

  • Choose a secure but random algorithm to generate the OTP.
  • Decide the length of the OTP. Choose between 4 and 6 digits.
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, or special characters to enhance security.
  • Ensure the OTP is unique for each session.
  • Implement the OTP generation algorithm in your website’s code.

If you are not a tech person, you can use authenticator apps to generate the OTPs for your applications.

How is OTP verified?

Here is how your OTP is verified:

  • You enter the OTP you received via SMS onto your website.
  • The website compares the OTP with the one it generated for that session.
  • If they match, verification is successful, and your OTP is verified. 

Can hackers intercept OTP?

Hackers can intercept SMS messages. If the messages contain OTPs, they are compromised in such an attempt. 

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