There are many relatively cost-effective and user-friendly SMS providers, or “gateways”, out there to help you create, send and track SMS campaigns. But which one is right for you?
Here are 7 key questions to ask when searching for a mobile messaging provider:
1. How important is the cost?
Not all SMS messaging providers are created equal. And there's a big difference between the services and reliability of a low-cost provider to more reputable providers. Low-cost providers offer packages from as little as four cents per SMS (excluding GST). But the only way they can do this is by using international routes to deliver messages between Australian devices, just like how Skype and VOIP telephone services are cheaper than a regular landline.
While they tend to more expensive, reputable providers use White Routes or “Direct Connects”. This means there is a legitimate agreement to deliver messages between the source and destination. So before you’re swayed by rock-bottom prices, consider what you could be sacrificing: namely, reliability, the speed of delivery, customer support and timely issue resolution.
2. How reliable is the provider?
Reliability is critical for SMS communications – it’s the difference between your SMS message making it to the destination and getting lost in the ether. Compare how reliable, scalable and secure the providers’ platforms are. The phrase you should be looking for is “uptime guarantee”. Look for a provider with at least 99% uptime guarantee as this means you can send out messages when you need to.
3. Will the message arrive at the right time to the right people?
When you pay for an SMS delivery service, you expect your messages to be delivered to the right people at the right time. The less you pay, the less chance there is of this happening the way it should. For faster delivery speeds, your best option is to choose a provider with a direct connection to Australian carriers. Look for a provider who delivers a high percentage of SMS messages within 15 seconds. This will also reduce the risk of message duplication, delays or messages not going out.
4. Can the provider handle your future growth?
Sure, you might start out only sending a thousand messages every month. But as you enjoy the conversion rates of SMS communications, and your business grows, your messaging requirements will also increase. Look for a provider whose platform handles large messaging volumes from the outset.
5. Will they support you?
If there are any issues, you want them to be resolved quickly and effectively. With an established mobile messaging provider, that’s what you can expect. Look for a provider with a responsive customer support team and round-the-clock support. Better yet, choose one with a dedicated account management too. This will enable you to tap into strategic SMS advisory services to get the most out of your SMS communications and maximise your ROI.
6. Will they integrate with your business environment?
Choose an SMS platform that will work seamlessly with your business, so it’s fast and easy to send and receive messages. Look for a provider that offers flexible APIs for simple integration into your existing environment, such as your CRM, website, or Point of Sale system.
7. Do they know how to make SMS marketing work?
Not all SMS campaigns are created equal. Only by following the rules and best practices can you ensure your SMS marketing delivers real, tangible results for your business. That’s why it’s essential you work with a provider that understands how to make SMS marketing work. They know the best practices and, more importantly, are happy to share them with you. Look for a provider with a blog, helpful resources, templates, e-books and more great content that can help you get the results you want.
Choosing an SMS provider is about more than the platform alone. So while it’s tempting to let price sway your decision, take some time to investigate exactly what you are getting for your money – or not, as the case may be.