4 key aspects you need to look at when choosing SMS marketing service
At the end of 2015, more than half of the world’s population had at least one mobile subscription. Thus with a correct tool you could reach a large numbers of customers at a single click. This need caused the rise of SMS marketing services. With a large numbers of individuals having access to mobile phones - businesses have found messaging technology to be a perfect tool to interact with people. This is a very lucrative option for enterprises, considering that around 95% of sent SMS are opened by the user. If we compare this number to other more traditional communications such as email (open rate around 20%), the difference is huge.
With the help of SMS communication platform, one could send promotions, alerts, notifications and other to a large numbers of target groups rapidly and in convenient manner. Now the question arises how to choose the best SMS marketing platform for your business?
What channels are used to send your campaign?
It is quite important to know the routes that your provider uses because it could have a negative impact on your business. There are basically few routes the service could use. One is “Tier One Connections” - meaning that the SMS marketing platform provider uses legitimate connections of the mobile networks. This leads to you getting the best possible delivery rates for your messages.
On the other hand, some providers could use “grey” routes. Meaning that it could bounce your messages from network to network to avoid paying connection fees. This could lead to taking much longer time to deliver your message or it could never reach your customer.
However, these “grey” routes are not the worst that could be provided. The worst of all are “SIM farms” where the provider of the bulk SMS will be using unregistered SIM cards. These are usually cheap but most of the time linked with spammers. Meaning that most of the time the message will not reach the receiver and you will end up wasting time and money on a failed campaign.
Product Versatility - do they offer more than sending a text messages?
Besides the simple option of sending out your text message does the SMS bulk providers offer any other advanced marketing/service tools for your use? Because a simple service of sending bulk message is not enough. To have a successful messaging campaign other tools are a must. Here is a list that should be part of SMS marketing provider’s repertoire:
- High deliverability
- Contact group Management
- Option to send Transactional or Bulk SMS with a click of a button
- Option to send long messages (at least 2 messages combined)
- Brand SMS messages
- Multiple connectivity options
- 2-way communication
- Unicode – send the message in any language
- Ability to schedule your campaign
- API to integrate with your own system
- 24/7 help center
- Number of countries covered
These not only allow you to do more, but show that the provider has invested in developing their service and are serious about what they offer!
How is the customer service like?
A big number of SMS marketing platforms are self-service. Meaning that almost everything you do will be done by you. That is to plan, upload and send SMS campaigns. When choosing, it is important to choose a platform that is easy to use. To avoid a tedious learning curve. Secondly it is essential to check the customer service that is available. Cloud based solutions can sometimes be quite limited in the service they provided. Thus it is important to check if they provide phone support, email, web chat - anything that you like to use and check if it is 24/7. Another important aspect to check for are guides. Do they have any that details how to use their software, the information should be readily available! However, the best way to find out about the customer service is always to contact them. Do not be worried to contact them to offer a partnership or ask for help. Majority quality service providers will be more than happy for a potential customer or partnership.
What are the prices like?
In the end check what the company is going to charge you. Quite a few companies will offer you free credits to test run their software once you open an account. This way, you could easily test and judge the effectiveness before making payment. Moreover, free trial allows individuals to make a detailed analysis of different risks involved. However, free SMS are not a norm in this industry. So do not fall for the platforms that promises you free services all the time. Mobile networks always charge for sending text messages, thus if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
I hope this will help you to draw an idea of what to look for when choosing an SMS provider. Keep in mind when looking for a provider for a good service, product variety, and their reputation. If you are aware of those you will be fine.