Using SMS text messaging to communicate with your customers is a powerful tool to enhance the marketing and efficiency of your business. To make the most of it, you should integrate your SMS campaigns through an application programming interface (API). This opens up greater possibilities for you to capitalize on the opportunities business-to-consumer (B2C) SMS offers.
What is an SMS API?
A SMS API is a software interface that enables you to send text messages via an SMS gateway using your computer. Text messaging doesn't run on the same infrastructure as the internet, so an API can be used to connect the internet with telecommunication carrier networks.
Being able to send or receive SMS messages quickly and easily through a website or application on a device allows your business to operate more efficiently. You can message and respond to multiple customers from within the API more effectively, and also set up scheduled bulk messages to provide customers with important notifications and information even outside of business hours.
Automating more of your customer communications reduces the likelihood of unnecessary errors and frees up resources that can be better allocated elsewhere.
How an SMS Gateway Works
An SMS gateway connects your web or mobile application to a server that sends on the SMS messages you produce to your chosen audience. It does this by consolidating the multiple connections into mobile carriers you need to have to reach your audience into one simple connection via an API.
The best SMS gateways have global reach and provide seamless aggregation to interconnects and local mobile operators, while giving you superior support in message management, so that you can send your SMS text messaging effectively. Technical communication protocols, rate limiting, and number management is taken care of.
The gateway provides a user-friendly interface for operators to work in, while handling the technical side of connecting to mobile networks via HTTP, or SMPP (Short Message Peer-to-Peer) protocols, translating and sending your messages behind the scenes. A flexible, well engineered SMS gateway API can do more than simply send a single text message at one time, like you'd be forced to do if using a conventional cell phone or smartphone to send SMS. It allows you to connect your business communication platforms directly into the SMS gateway for broadcast to mobile operators.
An SMS gateway API is an ideal solution for businesses that want to send bulk SMS notifications to specific groups, or set up automatic responses to opt-in texts received from customers. Not only is there a guarantee of consistency across all messages sent, but the gateway will also seamlessly perform its tasks with reliability and speed.
Because the gateway operates via the internet on a computer or other device, it means that customer information stored locally, or in the cloud, can be easily integrated into the API, maintaining the security of your customers' personal data while ensuring your business has accurate records and contact information. The same also applies for new customers who opt into services via text message; you can retain their phone numbers and add it to your pre-existing database.
Who Needs an API SMS Solution?
An SMS API gateway is the ideal solution for any business seeking to conduct broad customer outreach via text message. Whether it's for promotional messaging, peer-to-peer customer services, calendar alerts, or automated updates and verification codes, the integration of an SMS API will simplify the process and free up valuable time and resources within your organization.
Here are some examples of good use cases for SMS API integration and why it can benefit your business:
The ability to send thousands of text messages at the click of a button is invaluable, not to mention automatic replies and scheduling for strategic messaging. This also has benefits for international customers, as you can coordinate your campaigns to fit with various time zones.
Gateways for SMS APIs can be encrypted, meaning the connection between your business systems communication platforms and the SMS gateway are secure.
Regardless if you're using text messaging as a marketing tool, or critical service messaging method for business and institutions, you'll want to know how well it's performing. You can use the API to track your messages, confirming they reach their final destination as well as seeing how fast they are delivered and opened.
You can also connect your API to an analytics platform, so you can take the data gleaned from tracking and build metrics around performance to strategize and set targets for enhanced campaigns in the future.
Information Without the Internet
While many people are almost always connected to the internet with their smartphones, there are still plenty of occasions when data isn't available, but a cellular connection remains. This is especially true in certain locations overseas where more people use feature phones rather than smartphones. With SMS texts, you may not need to rely on your customers having an internet connection for your messages to get through if their local mobile operator has integrated backwards compatibility between full 3G and newer operating standards such as LTE that are dependent on IP (Internet Protocol) and associated internet availability.
Fast and Reliable
Having direct access to the SMS gateway through an API means improved speed and reliability. You can send thousands of text messages to your target audience from your desktop in seconds, making it incredibly convenient to reach out to customers swiftly.
The API works on all of your platforms and applications, which allows you to view and organize your messages and campaigns cohesively from one interface across multiple devices. This integrated developer experience provides an easier way to manage all of your SMS services, whether it's sending out promotion offers, creating automatic responses, providing calendar and account alerts, or providing single-use codes for two-factor authentication (2FA).
Why Choose Swift SMS Gateway?
Using an SMS API gives you the flexibility and power to utilize text messaging to its full potential, benefiting businesses, institutional services and customers alike. There are many options available when it comes to using an SMS gateway API to manage text messaging, with providers offering a variety of services. There are some with very appealing price tags — even free. However, you always get what you pay for.
The key things to consider when choosing an SMS gateway API:
- Delivery time: How long does it take for an SMS message to be delivered? When recipients are available and active, you should expect messages to arrive promptly. This is particularly important for time sensitive messages such as alerts, verification codes or limited time offers.
- Sender ID customization: While some countries don't allow companies to personalize their sender name, many do, and using this feature encourages customers to open and trust the SMS messages you send them. A quality SMS gateway will allow you to use this feature, so long as it's permitted by the recipient's country and telecom operator.
- Message delivery confirmation: To successfully monitor the success of your SMS campaigns, you'll want to be able to gather reliable, accurate information about the send and receive success of your messages. A professional gateway service can provide you with this data, while a quality API will give you the means to examine, analyze and export that information for optimum use.
- Data protection: The protection of customer information is paramount to maintaining the reputation of your business. Be sure that you're confident this data will be well-protected and not misused by your service provider.
- Hyperlinks: Being able to include working, direct hyperlinks in your SMS campaigns is a huge part of successful marketing through text messaging. Not only do you want to ensure you can include hyperlinks, but you also want to know they are going to send customers to the right place without any malicious interference, such as redirects or link manipulation.
Be wary of free API solutions
It's important when choosing the right API service for your business that you consider the reputability and expertise of the company. This is especially true of those advertising free SMS API services. Many of these services operate out of countries where the laws on data privacy and protection are different to those in the U.S. and Canada. Some don't have any at all.
By providing any of these companies with your customers' personal information and phone numbers, you could be putting both you and them at risk. Your business could incur fines or legal action as a result of how you allow the information of your customers to be handled. On top of that, your customers' trust in your company is of utmost importance and once lost, almost impossible to regain.
Also, free and near to free cost SMS services are notoriously poor in proving successful delivery and reach to end users, as they are the typical source of SPAM, which is aggressively blocked by mobile carriers.
The Swift SMS Gateway API offers comprehensive integration across your systems to provide a seamless process for sending and receiving text messages with your customers. We exclusively use good quality SMS delivery routes to ensure messages are received promptly. Our service and support experts have a high level of knowledge in the smooth operation of application-to-person (A2P) SMS messaging, which is why when you engage Swift SMS Gateway, you can trust that your text message campaigns are in good hands. Also, we always operate in full compliance with privacy and data protection legislation to keep the personal information of your clients safe and secure.
Find out more about how Swift SMS Gateway can help you achieve excellent text message services for your customers by signing up for a free demo today.