Are you on the hunt for an SMS provider to help you tap into the many benefits of SMS marketing? If you’re new to the game, it can be hard to know what to look for – not all SMS providers are created equal.
When selecting the best-fit SMS provider for your business, make sure they help you kick these nine goals.
1. Sail through set-up.
Look for an SMS provider that makes it as easy as possible to get up and running. If you have an existing marketing platform, you’ll want the easy ability to integrate SMS into your current platform instead of adding a whole new tool into the mix.
With this in mind, ask about APIs and SDKs. These handy little acronyms pack a punch when it come to ease of integration. Plus, check out their developer code – ideally, it’s a breeze to use in various programming languages so you can effortlessly add to your systems and apps.
2. Protect yourself (and your customers).
Security and compliance are non-negotiables. Your SMS provider should have multiple data centers in different locations, just in case something goes wrong. They should also be PCI and ISO27001 certified, which gives you the peace of mind that they follow the best security practices and have a solid plan to protect your business information.
While you’re on the serious subject of security, as potential providers how often they test their systems against hackers, and what their backup plans look like. You need someone you can trust with your sensitive data.
3. Power up performance.
When choosing an SMS provider, look for nothing less than outstanding performance. Delivery rates should be sky-high, while latency should be lower than low. It’s all about making sure your campaigns get where they need to go, in an instant.
If results matter, then don’t strike for anything less than a Tier 1 Network provider. They give you the same connection quality as you’d get from individual agreements with multiple operators all over the world, saving you time and resources. Ultimately, they help you reduce latency, lower costs, and boost customer satisfaction.
4. Make things easy-as-pie to manage.
There’s no point investing in an SMS platform if it’s too hard for your teams to use. Look for a provider that offers an intuitive, easy-to-use interface and integrations with the tools everyone’s already familiar with.
If you or your teammates are often on-the-go, then you’ll also want to check the platform’s mobile capabilities. Ideally, a mobile app that helps you stay on top of your conversational messaging – wherever you are.
5. Set up two-way chat.
Do you want to give customers the ability to reply to your text messages? Two-way SMS is the way to go when you want to chat with customers.
To set this up, then you’ll need to use inbound numbers, preferably in each market where you plan to offer your service. It’s really important to choose a supplier who can guarantee that messages will be delivered directly to the recipient’s phone and that customers can easily respond.
Ask about how the provider’s platform can integrate with your CRM or marketing automation systems, so your team can focus on what really moves the needle – like customer engagement.
It’s time to get conversational with your customers.
6. Send from a dedicated number.
To build rapport and trust, you’ll want the ability to send messages from the same phone number each time. Not only does this make it easy for customers to recognise you, but it means your conversations stay in the one thread.
Choose a provider that gives you options for using the same phone number each time. You may want a trusted dedicated virtual number for affordable, high-volume messaging. Or an easy-to-remember short code. A dedicated number can help you stay familiar and keep track of conversations.
7. Make multichannel your go-to.
Today’s customers hang out in all sorts of channels. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Business Messages … you name it. But just because your customers are all over the place, it doesn’t mean you need to juggle a whole bunch of separate platforms.
Look for an SMS provider that helps you manage multichannel messaging from a single place. Ask about their OTT capabilities, and how easy they make it for you to keep an eye on every conversation in every channel.
Take our messaging platform for a spin.
8. Check the capacity to scale.
It may seem obvious, but always ask your provider how many messages their SMS gateway can process in a minute.
The last thing you want is a bottleneck during a peak sales periods, which can happen if the provider’s SMS gateway lacks the technology to scale.
Scalability also comes into play as your business grows. Look for a partner with robust infrastructure that can handle ever-increasing message volumes, so you can reach larger audiences down the grack without compromising on delivery speed.
9. Crunch the numbers.
Want to keep improving the performance of your SMS campaigns? You’ll need detailed reports. Find out how granular the provider can get with its reporting and analytics. For example, do they provide delivery receipts to show if a message was delivered to individual recipients? Can you monitor total traffic and easily compare the impact of different campaigns?
Ideally, you should be able to get your hands on real-time tracking data and powerful analytics that help you kick your marketing goals.
Ultimately, it’s all about how an SMS provider can help you.
Your business will no doubt have unique needs. As well as ticking off all the common SMS goals above, ask your shortlist of SMS service providers how their platform will help solve your specific business messaging goals.
If Sinch MessageMedia’s on your shortlist (we certainly hope so), we’re here to answer any questions you have. Get in touch here.