SMS message marketing is the key to staying in touch with consumers and providing a quality service for customers. Business text message communication has proven to be a powerful marketing tool with impressive open rates and great cost efficiency.

SMS Campaign Service Providers (CSPs) bring your SMS marketing to life. By pairing a high-level CSP with the right application programming interface (API), it's possible to leverage your SMS channel to expand your customer outreach and offer additional convenient services direct to your customers.

An SMS API provides businesses with a simple, streamlined solution for reaching out to customers. To ensure future success for your SMS campaign, it's crucial that you make the right choices to meet your organization's text messaging requirements.

But how do you know what makes a good API for managing your SMS campaign? And what's the best way to match your business needs with the features on an API?

Let's first look into how SMS APIs work and understand the ways they can be used to benefit your business.

How an SMS API Works

An API is a series of digital tools that allow you to easily communicate with other APIs. In the case of an SMS API, the application connects you to an SMS gateway, which subsequently links to a mobile network and permits you to send and receive text messages using a computer, as opposed to a mobile phone.

In short, an SMS API bridges the gap between the internet and cellular (mobile) networks. They specify the rules and protocols that systems use to interact with each other, allowing you to send and receive text messages A2P (application-to-person), rather than from one mobile phone to another.

To explain the SMS API process, we've broken it down into four simple steps:

  1. You write a message using the SMS API, which is sent to your SMS gateway provider.
  2. The message is then translated into a protocol that's understood by mobile networks and gets passed on to your customer's mobile carriers.
  3. The mobile carrier sends a response to the SMS provider with delivery status updates, or an error code if there was a problem delivering your message.
  4. The SMS gateway receives the update, which is translated by the API to give you a status update, telling you if your message was successfully delivered to the destination carrier.

Using an API instead of a mobile phone opens up a vast array of capabilities that go beyond simply sending and tracking messages. With API, you can send thousands of bulk SMS marketing messages, offer secure payment services, create automated campaigns and overcome international roaming protocol limitations — just to name a few.

Utilizing text message marketing methods has also proven to be an effective way of gaining support for other channels. According to Smart Insights, after customers receive a follow-up message from a business, open rates for emails increase by 20 to 30%. Just by sending a simple text, such as "Have you seen our latest email offer?", you immediately grab the attention of your audience and encourage them to engage with your other channels.

What Is an SMS Gateway CSP?

As with any business-focused application or piece of software, the best APIs are developed and offered by Campaign Service Providers. CSPs vary greatly in their level of expertise and offered services. A good SMS Gateway CSP has expertise in API programming and development while also offering a robust digital platform that can easily integrate into your existing systems.

Although finding an SMS API is as simple as a quick Google search, finding the right SMS Gateway CSP for your business is a bigger, more complicated task.

To start you off on the right foot, the CSP you go for should provide you with these three essentials:

  1. Simplification of regulatory requirements — As experts in the field, CSPs can assist you with meeting guidelines for broadcasting your text message campaign.
  2. Flexible SMS API library — A CSP can provide an API library that's compatible with your company's systems, offering all of your desired features.
  3. High-quality support services — With reasonable and scalable costs, CSPs offer high-quality support for your enterprise, regardless of size.

Be cautious of providers that tempt you with great-sounding offers, like free SMS API solutions. Many of these providers are based in countries where legislation and regulations are lax, which could land you in hot water very quickly and result in serious penalties, including fines or prohibition from operating on our cellular networks.

It's imperative to engage with a reputable and trustworthy provider by finding companies that align with the Telephone Customer Protection Act (TCPA) guidelines. In the U.S. and Canada, there are strict rules around what businesses can and cannot send as part of B2C (business-to-customer) marketing. Therefore, it is in the best interest of your company to examine the risks of potential SMS API providers and make well-informed, confident decisions.

What Should An SMS Gateway CSP Do?

SMS APIs are designed to simplify the process of sending a text message from a company to a customer's mobile number. A reputable SMS Gateway CSP will take responsibility for supporting the initial setup of the API by liaising with in-house developers and operations teams to configure everything correctly.

Following that, your CSP should walk you through the platform, educating your staff on the SMS API functions available. This not only gives you valuable insight into all their API's, but it reveals the true potential of expanding your SMS business strategies for marketing and client communications. CSPs like Swift SMS Gateway offer access to the API as well as ongoing technical support to provide expert guidance, ensuring functionality and optimization.

But, CSPs can provide more than just bulk SMS marketing capabilities. Here are various ways to utilize the services of an SMS Gateway CSP:

Order Confirmations — Another type of transactional SMS that can send order confirmation to a customer's phone number, keeping the information on hand and convenient.

Delivery Notifications — SMS delivery notifications can be automated to inform customers of their package arrival in real time.

Two-Factor Authentication — Offering an additional layer of security, these codes verify user identity by requiring customers to input a code they receive through SMS.

Appointment Reminders — Sending an appointment reminder will give customers a friendly nudge so they don't accidentally miss out on an important booking.

Job Alerts — Instead of opening job advertisements on multiple websites, text message job alerts are a useful tool for companies who are looking to fill vacant positions.

Surveys and Polls — With high open rates, surveys and polls are a great way to send promotional SMS, reaching thousands of recipients and successfully engaging them with food for thought. 

Customer Support — Where SMS API supports two-way communication, businesses can employ this as a way for customers to reach out for assistance. Top tip: Utilizing automation methods can help to optimize this service.

Opt-In — Automation is also beneficial for the opt stages of your SMS campaign, streamlining the enrollment process with trigger words, such as "YES" or "SIGN UP."

Opt-Out — This SMS functionality allows customers to have complete control over the text marketing they receive from your business, refining your outreach database to only include those with a genuine interest.

Employing an SMS Gateway CSP will give you the opportunity to explore the many ways that A2P SMS can enhance B2C communication, and in turn, improve customer satisfaction by simplifying your business communications. But, what's most important is ensuring your provider is the right fit for your organization's SMS requirements.

What To Look for When Choosing an SMS Gateway CSP

With so many CSPs offering numerous SMS API connectivity options, it can feel overwhelming when trying to decide what's best for your organization's SMS needs. There are, of course, going to be functional features that are specific to your business needs, but to ensure you hit the bullseye with your SMS provider, consider taking these universally desirable aspects into account first:

A high-quality network infrastructure will reduce the risk of outbound SMS messaging getting lost or undelivered. A reliable SMS service provider will have a robust mobile network that remains stable for handling, sending and receiving bulk SMS messages, ensuring that your text messaging attempts are received by your customers.

Experience will go a long way in the realm of SMS messaging. Text messages have seen a lot of advancement since their inception, but the underlying technology of SMS API integration remains the same. SMS API services that have stood the test of time and evolved to adapt to the latest changes will bring a wealth of knowledge with them.

To successfully handle high volumes of text messages, an SMS gateway provider must have a strong and established enterprise-grade infrastructure. It needs to be sturdy enough to withstand substantial spikes in traffic and continue to perform at a professional level. Only the best SMS API providers that locate in world-class data centers can give you the freedom to scale your SMS campaign and traffic to meet your needs.

Not all network routing is created equal — scammers can easily hijack unsecured SMS API. If your company becomes the victim of a hijacking-related cyberattack, it will reflect poorly on your business security and potentially put you at risk of network infringement penalties. Choosing a reputable, experienced SMS gateway provider will provide you with high-quality, secure network routing for your messages. Search for companies with a well-established reputation and good track record of customer satisfaction.

Wide Reaching Network
On top of stable security, you'll also want to be able to reliably send bulk SMS API to customers no matter where they are in the world. If you're looking to send texts internationally, search for SMS API providers that have network coverage in your desired target markets. Try to ensure they provide 24/7 global support so any issues that may arise outside of local time zones can be addressed immediately.

With most SMS companies having the capacity to deliver internationally, finding a nearby SMS aggregator isn't essential. However, there are some significant benefits to make note of. In terms of how businesses send SMS for marketing campaigns, there is a dramatic variation in local legislation and regulations around the world.

SMS API providers are able to offer extensive experience with the requirements and restriction rules in your country, offering solid advice and guidance on how to go about your SMS campaign the right way. They'll also be able to highlight red flags before any compliance violations occur to keep your business protected from penalties as much as possible.

Swift SMS Gateway Solutions

Evaluating the right SMS service provider for your company is a serious decision. At Swift SMS Gateway, we completely understand this, which is why we let you see our track record and API platform for yourself.

Our SMS gateway services are secure, dependable and cost-efficient, with some of the most competitive prices in the United States and Canada. But what makes us really stand out is the support system we have in place for our customers. With consistent monitoring of routes and reach across the global network, we make sure to provide the best route quality possible.

Based in Ontario, Canada, we provide North American and international SMS coverage through more than 800 global cellular network carriers. We believe maintaining a superior global network is key to ensuring our clients' campaigns run smoothly, no matter their size.

Our team of expert technicians have served over 10,000 developers to achieve excellent results in bulk SMS marketing, using both short code and long code message formats. So, if you're looking for an established, experienced and reliable SMS API provider, get in touch with Swift SMS Gateway today!

Or if you'd like to try out our services before making any big decisions, sign up for our free demo here!