Digital Marketing

The future of bulk SMS for South African businesses

Bulk SMS in South Africa

If you’re using bulk SMS to reach your South African customers, you’d know the way in which mobile users communicate is changing rapidly. The pace of the mobile revolution in South Africa is undeniable. More than 50% of people now own smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center.

That said, there’s another side to the numbers: 40% of South Africans still use a feature phone. In rural South Africa, where there is limited signal, you can be sure your SMS messages will be received. Additionally, it doesn’t cost your customer a cent to receive your message.

The case for bulk SMS

The Wireless Applications Service Providers Association of South Africa (WASPA) agree. Speaking to MyBroadBand, WASPA chair James McNab said: “SMS direct marketing hasn’t decreased in any other market where people have moved to over-the-top services for messaging.”

Bulk SMS is the most reliable form of communication, and lets you set up marketing campaigns quickly and simply, without any technical expertise. But that doesn’t make it any less valuable.

SMS messages are opened faster and more often than email. Our SMS Platform gives you the ability to SMS-enable any application, website or system to send bulk SMS messages quickly and easily.  Bulk SMS remains one of the most cost-effective marketing solutions. Clickatell’s bulk SMS pricing estimator will give you a good indication of the cost of each SMS.

Using community SMS to connect to all South Africans

You may be aware of the rise in instant messaging, too. While 63% of mobile users report still using text, 82% prefer communicating via instant messaging, according to a Deloitte report.

One of the key reasons? Cost. At 50 cents per SMS on most networks, instant messaging tools like WhatsApp are cheaper. There’s an important proviso, though. Services like WhatsApp use data, and these costs are highly contested in South Africa.

This means that many people - due to location and fund -  may struggle to maintain connectivity. The solution? SMS. SMS lets you connect with customers in rural areas, small towns, and villages, across the country. Bulk SMS is the best way to reach many South African customers because, in addition to the solid feature phone penetration, delivery is guaranteed - no matter the location - at no cost to your customer.

On top of this, text messaging remains the most common use of cellphones across Africa. Research from the Pew Research Center found 80% of cellphone owners use the device to send text messages.

SMS also doesn’t require the installation of any apps. You’re certain that your customer’s device can receive your message.

So, bulk SMS is a cost-effective, affordable tactic that lets you reach your customers at the right time. That’s why bulk SMS continues to deliver meaningful customer engagement.

SMS and the future of the mobile phone revolution in South Africa

While bulk SMS is here to stay, it helps to be aware of the developments shaping how your consumers want to be reached. If you’re interested in learning about the trends influencing how consumers communicate in Africa, read our article on the mobile phone revolution on the continent. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of how mobile phone adoption is changing the way people communicate with each other and organizations, and the role SMS plays in this evolution.

Explore other articles

Step into the future of business messaging.

SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.