SMS text messaging has become an essential part of our daily lives, allowing people to communicate virtually without the need for a WiFi connection.
Texting as we know it is mostly person-to-person (P2P), but text messaging can be so much more. With application-to-person (A2P) capabilities, businesses can easily connect with their customers, supply-chain partners and workforce through SMS messaging in close to real-time, which streamlines communications.
Before getting into automation methods, let's first understand what SMS really is and what it means for customer interaction.
What Is an SMS Message
SMS, which stands for Short Messaging Service, is the global standard in text messaging across all mobile carriers and every cell phone. It involves sending a message of fewer than 160 characters through a mobile carrier to recipients of the same, or any other cellular network.
Modern mobile phones have eliminated character limitation by segmenting and re-assembling messaging of up to 1,600 characters, enabling the use of emojis and other characters outside the GSM-7 alphabet.
Does SMS Differ From Text Messaging?
The short answer is no, SMS is basic text messaging without using multimedia.
SMS is the world standard of text messaging that universally allows all recipients to send and receive messaging on their mobile phones without having to install third-party applications. SMS only allows for text-based formatting which means it's unable to incorporate other forms of media, such as images, gifs or videos.
A text message that does enable media is called Multimedia Messaging Service, more commonly known as MMS. Both services can be utilized for business texting purposes, but what you decide to use depends on your individual strategy and how recipients are likely to respond.
For younger audiences, MMS can be a great way to grab attention and engage them with your products. However, for companies that target toward older demographics, MMS may not be the best option as it's possible recipient's mobile devices won't support all modern forms of media.
As SMS is for basic text messaging purposes, it also provides higher throughput capabilities and better delivery success than MMS. Moreover, SMS is cheaper than MMS.
Why Texting Customers Is Good for Business
Although texting isn't a new concept, in terms of business communications with the business workforce and marketing, it's revolutionizing how businesses engage. Statistics from G2 can back this up:
- 60% of all recipients read texts within five minutes of receiving them.
- 54% of consumers would like to receive promotions via SMS.
- 33% of SMS recipients interact with an SMS call to action, and 47% of those customers subsequently make a purchase.
- 59% of customers would prefer to receive direct communications from businesses instead of downloading a separate app.
SMS has become a leading communication channel to directly connect with customers and the business workforce on a more personal level. To make the most out of your text message communications, let's also understand the best practices to help you build contacts for your SMS campaign and boost engagement and even sale conversions too.
Three Best Practices for SMS Marketing:
1. Communicate Directly
Sending long streams of text is unlikely to engage your readers. Keep messages short, sweet and concise. Quickly explain why you're messaging them and how they can benefit. For example:
"The secret 50% sale is now on! Use code 'Sale50' to save money on all our products. Offer ends Friday!"
2. Avoid Sounding "Spammy"
To prevent opt-out rates from increasing, try to avoid messaging in all caps. It's more likely to deter customers than encourage them. Steer clear of messaging like:
"GO TO OUR WEBSITE NOW TO GET YOUR HANDS ON [product] BEFORE STOCK RUNS OUT!!!"
Instead, format your messages in an unobtrusive way by talking to customers as people, as opposed to buyers. Gentle encouragement functions as a much more powerful way to persuade your audience.
3. Quality Over Quantity
Make sure you're not sending too many text marketing messages in a short timeframe. This will not only increase the likelihood of customers opting out, it may also cause a mobile carrier to block your text message communications completely for bad practice.
But marketing isn't the only way to benefit from SMS. That's why more and more companies are taking advantage of the various SMS capabilities, such as text message automation and scheduling in business communications. Here are some ways SMS can be good for business outside of marketing purposes:
- Order Notifications — SMS messages to effectively update customers on their order confirmation, dispatch and delivery on a highly visible platform.
- Appointment Reminders — Automatic notification texts sent to recipients, reminding them of their booking date and location before the appointment takes place.
- Review Nudges — Reminds customers to leave a review regarding their recent experience with your company, helping you gather valuable feedback.
- Basket Follow-ups — Abandoned baskets trigger the automated text message service to send SMS that encourages customers to follow through with purchasing their order.
- Two-Factor Authentication — Sign-ins that require a one-time password send a five-to-six-digit code via text for identity verification.
Finding The Right Text Message Service Provider
If your business isn't currently making use of SMS messaging capabilities, then a great place to start is by identifying the easiest SMS Gateway to work with. They will have the best SMS API code library to use, which has simple documentation based on the routine functions you require for your text messaging. They should be an established and reliable text message service provider.
Business codes function as your company's phone number — there are two main options to use:
Short code: A five or six-digit number that's easy for customers to remember. Short codes are good for sending bulk SMS to thousands of recipients almost instantaneously. They can be used for hosting sweepstakes, polls and surveys for further engagement.
Long code: Also known as 10DLC, long codes are really just regular phone numbers to allow customers to respond to business texts and provide an additional layer of customer service. This method allows you to keep your number consistent across all channels, but as there are more digits, it can be harder for customers to interact with.
At Swift SMS Gateway, we tailor solutions to your development needs. Our human support teams are there to support you every step of the way, getting your SMS campaign up and running as smoothly as possible.