Holiday Messaging: Don’t Let Covid Upend Your Success

As cases continue to rise, governments are implementing new travel restrictions, gathering sizes are limited, and many holiday traditions are sure to look different this year. Covid-19 has impacted many areas of business planning, one of which is holiday messaging campaigns. With in-person communications scaled-back, it’s likely that your company is quickly rethinking how to reach its customers. SMS and MMS messaging offer a way to cut through the clutter and directly reach customers with critical information.  

Who might be pivoting more of their communications to SMS and MMS in the next few weeks? Here are some examples of businesses whose communications can’t fail at the peak of the holiday season:

  • Retailers sending updated promotions, store capacity limits, or reduced opening hours
  • eCommerce vendors sending delivery notifications and updates for gifts
  • Grocery stores or restaurants arranging for curbside pick-up or home delivery
  • Airlines notifying passengers of flight changes or updated health and safety guidelines
  • Rideshare platforms notifying of passenger pick up and mask requirements 

Make sure your messages reach their intended audience this season. Here are a few tips to remember if you’re making a sudden switch of communication channels. 

1. Don’t forget the visuals

Multimedia messages can help you stand out. If your store is closed or the hours have changed, but you still need to promote a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, use MMS messaging to send a variety of formats: pictures (JPEGs & GIFs), emojis, audio (MP3) and video (MP4). With Plivo’s MMS API, users can send and receive MMS using any number type (long codes, toll-free) across the US and Canada.

2. Use the right number 

Phone number validation minimizes delivery errors by determining whether a customer’s phone number is valid before including that number in your contact list. This validation process reduces errors and helps increase conversion rates by segregating landlines from mobile numbers. Make sure you’re only messaging numbers that can actually receive them. Plivo’s Lookup API determines number format, type, country, and carrier for any phone number worldwide and in real time. 

3. Short isn’t always sweet

Short codes offer a clean, fast, and legally-compliant option for sending high-volume, one-way application-to-person (A2P) communications. But, compared to other SMS number types such as long codes and toll-free numbers, short codes are the most heavily regulated number type. Short codes take the longest to get approval for and have the most expensive rates.  If you’re trying to make a sudden switch, a short code may not be the best option. Visit our Best Practices for Using Short Codes with an SMS API and get your timelines correct.

4. Be recognizable 

If you’re sending messages outside the US and Canada, a Sender ID can help identify your brand as the sender, thereby increasing engagement with recipients. In some countries, the Sender ID displayed to a message recipient can display a custom alphanumeric phrase like the company’s name or service instead of a long code or short code phone number.  Some countries require registration. If you’re on a tight deadline, make sure to check our blog on Sender IDs for more information on which countries do not require pre-registration and let you instantly provision a Sender ID.

5. Turn up the volume

If you’re changing tactics and suddenly incorporating more messages than originally planned into your communications strategy, you will need a solution that automates the sending of potentially hundreds of thousands of messages. Powerpack from Plivo automatically determines how many phone numbers you need to deliver those messages, It can also find the best phone numbers to ensure the delivery of your messages. Powerpack can be configured to ensure that the “from” number is always a local phone number –– increasing open and read rates. Learn more about how Powerpack is designed to meet these large-scale SMS and MMS message throughput and volume requirements. 

It’s easy to get started with Plivo messaging. It only takes minutes to set up an account and send your first message. If you’re suddenly facing a holiday crunch and need some guidance, let us help!  Talk to an expert today.

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