About the value of SMS as a Marketing Tool
There is no doubt that this world is moving towards convenience and quickness in wanting to purchase a product or service or be told about a marketing campaign that might interest the consumer. Studies have indicated that Text Message Service (SMS) provides one of the most reliable marketing channels with over 90% of mobile phone users opening up a SMS within the first four minutes of receiving the text with over 35% click through rate. If you compare with email marketing which has around a low 20% open rate, you can see that SMS is a very good marketing tool.
Having said the value of SMS, many businesses are still using email marketing particularly local businesses. One of the reasons for them not taking SMS Marketing more seriously is the lack of awareness regarding the kind of software available to automate their SMS Marketing requirements. There are a number of SMS Marketing providers who can support such message distribution.
Best SMS Marketing Tools available
When searching for an appropriate SMS Marketing provider to service your text message needs you need to look and understand the features they have to offer your business.
A good Developer API (Application Programming Interface) makes it easier to develop a computer program for the programmer to use certain technologies in building applications. An API may be for a web-based system, database system, and computer hardware or software library.
Look for a Provider that has multi-channel Developer API marketing too that lets users reaches out to your contact list over any of the several platforms like SMS, MMS, email, and even voice. This allows users to customise their outgoing responses and customer engagement based on incoming text messages. A good API makes it easier to develop a computer program
Businesses nee to be able to embed lead capture forms on their websites as well as schedule present and future SMS to their target. It is a value if the platform tool can track contacts’ birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions to a specific day. This way you can send location-specific messages.
For larger distribution of many thousands of SMS on a monthly basis, the API platform must be able to distribute reliably with an uptime guarantee of over 99%. The Provider should be able to let craft SMS, email messages, and filter mobile keywords for automation and creating landing pages as well as ability to be part of social media marketing campaigns through their platform.
Using SMS Marketing provider’s tool should allow you to choose and purchase the keywords that you consider important for your campaign, as well as be able to track the use of these words. The company should also provide the service of tracking customers that opt-in and opt-out to your SMS marketing campaigns.
Pricing for SMS Marketing Services
Pricing is always an issue when it comes to a marketing campaign and to see if the SMS Marketing tools provided do the job you require with efficiency and cost restraints. In the SMS Marketing Comparison Table you will see that the variation in pricing is quite competitive. In the thorough review for the selection of the better SMS Marketing providers available in USA, the difference came at the higher end of the distribution volume market.
With mid to large volumes of text messages distributed on a monthly basis, it was evaluated that ClickSend offers the best value by around 10% using all their range of distribution tools available.
With the lower range of volume sent on a monthly basis, ClickSend, directSMS and SMSBroadcast offered a competitive rate.
While pricing is competitive, it is important that other charges are considered like set up fee, monthly fee, recurring fees for dedicated numbers and incoming SMS are all considered. Again, ClickSend does well as there is a limited charge placed on their services.
Other tools and charges should be provided by SMS Marketing companies should include short codes for you to lease. Short codes are five digit numbers used for SMS messaging, and a good service would allow you to use one of theirs rather than needing to purchase your own. These services should also be able to set up automatic responses to incoming text messages and should not be charging you for inbound messages.
Reliability of the tools used by SMS Marketing Providers
SMS has been considered recently as the most popular worldwide as an effective wireless data service sending out many millions of messages each month. As SMS becomes more reliant as a means of communication with mobile users, the expectation on it as a part of life is high as it is an instant and reliable means of communications for marketers and businesses alike.But how reliable are the SMS Marketing providers in assuring its clients that messages will be sent on time and without a problem? The answer is reassuring. The major providers investigated and analysed indicate that they provide themselves on at least 99% or more SLA Uptime Guarantee. This means that these companies have the IT infrastructure, API and associated platforms, and technology to send and monitor the distribution of text messages with efficiency within seconds, and at the least minutes, of sending out text messages.
When comparing the major SMS Marketing reliability factor, all are within a sound and secure SLA Uptime guarantee levels. In fact, some of the companies have a money-back guarantee should anything fail or distribution is restricted by internal factors.
It’s important to realise that the Provider’s gateway is very important to the reliability of distribution. Using American telecommunication carriers, whether it is Telstra, Optus or Vodaphone, known as Direct carriers, is important. Although the charges are higher, the reliability of these carriers is extremely efficient. Alternatively, on a cheaper level, Telcos from overseas can be used, but there is no guarantee of their reliability in distributing SMS on time.
Customer Care offered by these SMS Marketing Providers
In terms of comparing the major SMS Marketing providers research and evaluated for client use, it can be seen that some of the providers offer more added value to their customer care than others. This is illustrated in the graph below. The major factors were availability in terms of 1800 or 1300 number, emails, Skype and social media connections. In reviewing these services, each service was tested to create a customer support score. See the Graph below. These companies had no input on the evaluation process or how they would be scored.
The result was that ClickSend had the best valued customer support service with an 1800 number, 24 hour email support, post on Facebook or Twitter, and the availability of Skype sessions if required. An international phone is provided on their contact page. A FAQ is also present on their website.
About SMS Marketing Comparison Table
The SMS Marketing Comparison has been designed in a simplified way so that the reader can easily see the benefits of the major SMS Marketing Providers in USA. It has the most important elements that one needs to know about covering major features, customer service, pricing, reliability and reputation. The Table and content is easy to follow and read and written so that a lay person can understand the essential ingredients required prior to selecting or understanding the SMS Marketing qualities.
The information is also reliant on the accuracy of information provided on their websites and should such information not match with what is presented on the table or site, please let the authors know so that changes can be made as soon as possible.
The Table and sites were developed by a group of experts in the SMS arena and felt that the information presented to the reader required to be written in a form that could be easily comprehended. The authors no longer work in that field so they can make unbiased, independent decisions on your behalf. However, should you use this free information with a resultant engagement of one of these companies, and then the authors will request a commission from the provider you engaged to service your requirements. The authors hope you will benefit from this Comparison table and associated sites.
This site has been updated on 4 July 2017