Bulk SMS: A Comprehensive Guide to Bulk SMS Marketing in Kenya

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In the current digital age, communication is vital for businesses to stay in touch with their customers. With the rise of mobile penetration in Kenya, SMS marketing has become an effective and efficient way to reach a wide audience. This comprehensive guide will explore the power of bulk SMS marketing in Kenya, providing valuable insights and practical tips for businesses looking to leverage this technology.

What is Bulk SMS?

As the name suggests, bulk SMS is a messaging service that allows companies, SMEs and individuals to send a large volume of SMS messages quickly and efficiently. It enables businesses to reach their staff, suppliers, or customers with important updates, promotions, and news. Compared to email marketing, SMS texts have an impressive 98% open rate, with 90% of messages being read within 3 minutes of delivery. This high engagement rate makes bulk SMS an essential tool for businesses or any other entity to connect with their target audience effectively.

Benefits of Bulk SMS Marketing

Bulk SMS marketing offers numerous benefits for businesses in Kenya. Here are some key advantages:

  • High Open Rate: SMS texts have a significantly higher open rate in Kenya compared to email, ensuring that your messages are seen by your target audience.
  • Fast Delivery: SMS messages are delivered instantly, allowing you to reach your audience in real-time.
  • Personalised Messages: Bulk SMS platforms enable businesses to personalise outgoing texts, such as including the recipient's name or customising the message based on specific customer information.
  • Cost-Effective: Bulk SMS is an affordable marketing solution, with simple pay-as-you-go pricing models without any setup or maintenance fees.
  • Detailed Reports: Bulk SMS platforms provide detailed reports on message delivery, allowing businesses to track the success of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

Getting Started with Bulk SMS in Kenya

Legal Requirements for Bulk SMS

Before diving into bulk SMS marketing, it's important to understand the legal requirements and costs involved in starting your own SMS campaign. To send bulk SMS using your business name or product trademark, you may need to enter into a contractual agreement with a licensed content service provider (CSP). This agreement will include the agreed rate for bulk SMS, which can be negotiated based on the volume of messages you plan to send. The CSP will register a dedicated sender ID with telecommunication providers on your behalf, ensuring that your messages are delivered with your business's identity. Also, you will need to provide a copy of you business registration certificate to prove that you are authorised to send messages on behalf of that business or organisation. Please note that the name of your sender ID must match the name on the business registration certificate. For international companies operating in Kenya, you will also need to provide a copy of Certificate of Incorporation.

Cost of Starting Bulk SMS in Kenya

The cost of starting a bulk SMS campaign in Kenya varies depending on the volume of messages you plan to send and the features you require. SimpleSell SMS offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, starting at KES0.70 per SMS. If you opt for the shared sender ID, there are no setup fees or monthly charges. This makes it an affordable option for businesses of all sizes particularly those with small budgets. However, discounts are available for people interested in buying large volumes of bulk SMS.

Obtaining a Dedicated Sender ID

A dedicated sender ID is a unique identifier that represents your organisation when sending bulk SMS messages. It helps recipients recognise that the message is coming from your business, enhancing trust and brand recognition. To obtain a dedicated sender ID in Kenya, you need to work with a licensed CSP. SimpleSell SMS partners with licensed CSPs who will register the sender ID with telecommunication providers on your behalf. Please note that the maximum number of characters for the sender ID is 11 characters. Also, the sender ID only allows alphanumeric letters for the registration.

It is also important to note that custom or dedicated sender IDs are registered for each individual network. Unlike a shared sender ID, each dedicated sender ID requires upfront payment of KES 7,000. This is a one time fee and applies to each individual network. For instance, you can register Safaricom only, Airtel only, or Telkom only. This would cost only KES 7,000 for each. Please note that if you register on one sender ID only messages you send to other networks will not see your sender ID. You can also opt to register a sender ID for all networks so that people of different networks will receive messages with your sender ID. In which, case, this would cost KES 21,000. Each provider may have different requirements. Safaricom takes 2 to 3 business days to register a dedicated sender ID while Telkom and Airtel take 2 to 5 business days.

How to Use Bulk SMS for Effective Marketing

Now that you understand the basics of bulk SMS marketing in Kenya, let's explore a few ways to leverage this powerful tool for effective marketing campaigns. Naturally, bulk SMS can be used for marketing campaigns, alerts, promotions and to spread information. However, there are a number of ways to increase the success rate of bulk messages including personalisation, understanding timing and scheduling messages, and measuring the success rate of your marketing campaigns.

  • Personalised Messages

One of the key advantages of bulk SMS is the ability to personalise your messages. By including recipient information, such as their name or specific details related to their account or purchase, you can create a more engaging and personalised experience. This personal touch helps to build a strong connection with your customers and increases the likelihood of them taking the desired action. With SimpleSell SMS you can send personalised messages at no extra cost.

  • Timing and Scheduling

Timing is crucial in SMS marketing. Sending messages at the right time can significantly impact their effectiveness. For example, scheduling a holiday promotion message before your business closes for the holidays ensures that your customers receive the information in a timely manner. Bulk SMS platforms like SimpleSell SMS allow you to schedule messages in advance, ensuring that your campaigns are delivered at the perfect time.

  • Detailed Reports and Analytics

To measure the success of your bulk SMS campaigns, it's essential to track and analyse the delivery and engagement rates. SimpleSell SMS provides detailed reports that show which messages were delivered, which failed, and why. This valuable information allows you to optimise your campaigns, clean up your contacts list, and make data-driven decisions to improve your SMS marketing strategy.

Overcoming Challenges in Bulk SMS

While bulk SMS marketing offers numerous benefits, there are challenges that businesses may face. Understanding and addressing these challenges is crucial for successful SMS marketing campaigns.

  • Deliverability and Opt-Outs

Ensuring that your messages are delivered to your recipients' mobile devices is a top priority. However, there can be instances where messages fail to deliver due to various reasons, such as incorrect or inactive phone numbers. Bulk SMS platforms like SimpleSell SMS automatically clean up your contacts list by removing failed numbers and providing opt-out options for recipients who wish to unsubscribe from your messages.

  • Regulatory Compliance

Complying with regulatory requirements is essential when conducting SMS marketing campaigns. In Kenya, businesses must work with licensed CSPs and follow the guidelines set by the Communication Authority of Kenya. SimpleSell SMS ensures regulatory compliance, allowing businesses to focus on their marketing strategies while adhering to legal requirements. It is worth noting that sending bulk messages that may cause harm such as hate speech, misinformation, propaganda, obscene content and other such materials are against the law. Therefore, one must be responsible in the content the share through bulk messages to avoid legal action and offending customers.

SimpleSell SMS: One of the Best Bulk SMS Provider in Kenya

When it comes to choosing a bulk SMS provider in Kenya, SimpleSell SMS stands out as a trusted and reliable option. With its user-friendly platform, affordable pricing, and excellent customer support, SimpleSell SMS has become the go-to choice for businesses across various industries. Moreover, SimpleSell SMS not only supports bulk SMS marketing in Kenya but also covers other African countries, including Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This extensive coverage allows businesses to expand their reach and connect with customers across multiple countries in Africa.

Here are some key features and pricing options offered by SimpleSell SMS:



Personalised Texts  Included in base pricing
Schedule Messages Included in base pricing
Detailed Reports Included in base pricing
Affordable Pricing KES0.70/SMS (Kenya)
Custom Sender ID Optional at KES7,000 per network
Shared sender ID     No Setup Fees

Here's what some of our satisfied customers have to say about SimpleSell SMS:
"I love that you can view delivery reports after a campaign!" - Fit n Fab World
"A great way to keep in touch with my customers!" - Six Ideas
"Very convenient and easy to use!" - Bovic Enterprises
"So much easier to communicate special offers!" - Dear Sugar
"The backbone of my business!" - Lipa Solutions
"I can always keep my clients up to date on any ongoing maintenance work!" - Simple PABX

In conclusion, bulk SMS marketing is a powerful tool for businesses in Kenya to effectively communicate with their target audience. By leveraging the benefits of bulk SMS, such as high open rates, personalised messages, and detailed reports, businesses can enhance their marketing strategies and drive engagement. With SimpleSell SMS as a trusted bulk SMS provider, businesses can confidently navigate the challenges and unlock the full potential of SMS marketing in Kenya and beyond. Start your bulk SMS journey today and experience the benefits of this efficient and cost-effective marketing solution.

By Christine Njoki - Published 31st Aug 2023, 08:58pm

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