When you are ready to begin using an SMS messaging provider, it is important to choose one that has all of the features that you require. Providers range in cost and services, therefore look carefully before you finalize your selection. Low cost providers generally offer prices from four cents per SMS (excluding GST), but there is a reason for the low cost. They use international routes to deliver texts between U.S mobile devices, similar to the way Skype and VOIP rates are cheaper than a landline. A reputable provider will instead use White Routes or "Direct Connects" meaning there is a legitimate agreement in place to deliver the message between the source and destination. A cheap rate sounds good, but it won't help your marketing plan if your customers do not get their messages.
Here are six metrics to assess when selecting an SMS broadcast vendor:
Since getting the messages out to customers is your primary goal, reliability is a key factor. Look for providers with a reliable, scalable and secure platform. One perk of using an established mobile messaging provider is that you have an uptime guarantee; you can rely on their service to be available to use 24/7.
2. Message Delivery
When communicating with SMS messages, it is a priority to get the message through to your customers without obstacles or delays. Since you are paying for an SMS broadcast service, you expect for messages to be delivered and on time to the right people. Low-cost services are more likely to have issues passing on your messages.
The best providers have a direct connection to Amercian carriers, providing faster, more reliable delivery speeds. The ideal rate of delivery is 15 seconds for the bulk of your messages. The better the provider, the higher the percentage of delivered messages will be. You will also eliminate message duplication with a better provider as well as delays or unsent messages.
Look for a provider with direct connection to American carriers, as this will provide faster delivery speeds. Ideally, you want a provider who can deliver the majority of messages within 15 seconds. The better the provider, the higher the percentage of delivered messages will be. Plus, unlike low cost providers, you won’t risk message duplication, delays or messages not being sent.
Any marketing program should have scalability so that you have room to grow. You may start with only a couple of thousand of text messages per month, but as the success rate soars, you will increase that number of SMS broadcasts. Instead of needing to switch providers, find a provider now that can handle a large scale volume for future needs.
4. Customer Support
Communication systems require excellent customer support to run proficiently. An established provider will have a responsive support team 24/7. They are used to resolving issues quickly and thoroughly any time of day, allowing you to get back to business. The best support program will work to resolve all support issues in 24 hours.
5. Account management
Customer support needs to work closely with your dedicated account manager. A low-cost provider leaves much of the support issues to the customer to handle alone. Established providers offer strategic SMS guidance and advice to maximize their account and get the most out of their SMS communications. If you want to achieve a good ROI, discuss additional services provided by the vendor beyond the platform such as expert advice and management services.
6. Industry Expertise
If you think this is the provider for you, research their industry experience and expertise. Make sure you have the right vendor by checking into how many customers they have, how long they have been in business and their reputation.
While the platform is a crucial component to this package, the company needs to be able to work with you on your marketing goals, how to improve ROI from SMS marketing and how it can integrate with your other marketing channels to drive a strong ROI. Let your IT professionals select a company that can talk to them about the technology, gives you the reporting you need and has the excellent customer service that you need.