How to Select a SMS Partner for Your Business
You were given the task of exploring commercial SMS solutions for your business needs. You have very little time and want to make a smart choice. Learn how to make SMS work for you. Lets get started.
SMS is the most effective communications tool
- 98% of SMS are opened (within 90 seconds) compared to 20%, email, 12% Facebook posts and 29% Tweets
Everyone has a mobile phone and loves to text
- 98% of people on Earth owns a mobile phone
- Over 8.6 trillion SMS messages are sent per year
- If you aren’t sending SMS to your customers, you had better believe your competitors are
It’s to the point
- 160 character limitation forces you to say exactly what you need to say
High ROI (Return-On-Investment)
- Mobile marketers are allocating 75% of their mobile budget to SMS
- Your competitors are using SMS to improve efficiency
- SMS is affordable
SMS INDUSTRY PROVIDERS
Application-to-Peer Value Add Provider
- Utilizing an application to generate and initiate SMS messages to update, notify or inform users.
Peer-to-Peer/Application-to-Peer Do-It-All Provider
- The sending of a message, from a person or application, with the appearance of being sent by a singular person.
- A gateway provider that maintains connections to wireless carriers and can provide various gateway connections.
- Offers direct connections to all users within its network and SMS is generally limited to each carrier subscribed to.
Types of SMS
Standard SMS – Any message that is generated from and initiated to a short code, which uses your end user’s text plan on their wireless phone bill
Premium SMS – Any subscription or service (Donations, Voting, Daily Horoscopes, Joke of the Day, etc.) where your end user will get charged on their wireless phone bill
Free to Enduser SMS – Any message that is generated from and to a short code, which DOES NOT use your end user’s text allowance. End users don’t have to have a text messaging plan on their mobile phone to receive Free-To-End-User texts
Long Code vs. Shortcode
Long code (10 digit Virtual Number) is used by many SMS providers to maximise their margin (US & Canada)
Short code (5 to 6 digit number) is an approved commercial number utilising the most direct routes to wireless operators
HOW IT WORKS
SMS+ lets you bypass network filters and firewalls to connect directly to the wireless networks.
Discovery – Assess Your Business Needs
Now that you have a good understanding of terminologies and how the SMS industry operates, let’s assess what is needed. Your SMS budget needs to accommodate your business needs. If you go for the cheapest pricing, you must be ready to sacrifice your business requirements.
1. Identify the type of SMS alerts you will be sending and with which quadrant it belongs.
2. Learn the rules associated with types of SMS you will be sending.
3. Identify your organisation’s business requirements
4. Select an ideal SMS gateway provider category that meets your business requirements
Now that you have a good understanding of what your organisation’s requirements are – you must decide where you want to go shopping.
Open a Demo Account
Utilise Demo Accounts
Every SMS vendor should offer a free demo for a minimum of 30 days. Open a demo account with the top 3 vendors on your shopping list and demo all of the features that you need for your business. Send test messages to multiple carriers (including international, should global messaging be required).
Your initial test messages will have failures – please don’t be to quick to judge their service. Give the SMS provider a chance to explain and provide details as to why some messages were not delivered. 95% of message failures are due to end user error and the SMS provider should be willing to work with you to ensure that all messages are being delivered successfully.
Action – Ultimate Test
Before you sign up for service, open a couple of support tickets or call the support department during non-business hours. How fast did they get back to you? If they are available when you need them, you have a winner. Congratulations! Sign up for service with the vendor you trust. Remember, if you buy cheap, you buy twice!