SMS Marketing 101

If your business is like most businesses, you already know that SMS is the best channel for marketing. In part that’s because text messages have high open rates, but an even more important reason is that most people say text messaging is their preferred communication method.

But while text messaging is so simple that a child can do it, text messaging for marketing is surprisingly complicated because of all the factors you have to consider. Should you send text-only SMS messages or MMS messages that include multimedia content)? You can send messages over several kinds of phone numbers — which is most cost-effective? Even if you get those options figured out, you have to consider legal regulations and carrier regulations and consumer preferences and … what’s a business to do?

We suggest you get our guide to SMS marketing. It provides expert advice on all of those issues and more.

For instance, did you know that one of the three approved phone number types for sending options for sending application-to-person (A2P) text messages in the US is new? In the last couple of years the major carriers have introduced the 10-digit long code (10DLC) specifically for A2P messaging. 10DLC numbers look just like traditional phone numbers, because that’s what they are, but before you can use them for messaging you must submit your use case to the carriers for vetting. Once a 10DLC number is vetted for a particular brand and marketing campaign, carriers don’t have to filter messages sent on it, allowing for higher messaging throughput and better message deliverability.

Our guide talks about when to use 10DLC numbers — or short codes or toll-free numbers, the other approved options — depending on what kind and amount of messaging you plan to send. We also talk about the difference in costs — setup fees, monthly rental costs, and per-message rates — each type of phone number incurs.

Where you are governs what you can do

Marketing messaging is subject to regulation by countries and by carriers. Suppose most of your customers are in your home country, but you’re growing internationally, and you’re starting to find prospects in other populous countries. Would you know that India bans promotional SMS messages after 8 p.m., or that in China you can’t own a local SMS number — so what should you do instead?

Chances are you would not know, and while you could learn, or find out the hard way, a better option is to partner with a cloud communications platform that already has expertise in international rules and practices. We at Plivo suspect you may already be familiar with such a firm.

Similarly, countries and carriers have regulations about what constitutes spam, and what kinds of marketing topics aren’t permitted. (The magic acronym here is SHAFT — learn what that stands for by reading the guide.)

Different countries also impose different limits on the rate and frequency at which businesses can send SMS messages. Our guide doesn’t set out those limits for all of the 190+ countries to which Plivo can send text messages, but it does note that the Plivo platform builds in compliance with those limits, so you never accidentally exceed them and risk your messages being blocked.

The next best thing to everything

We’ve yet to find a comprehensive written set of rules that companies can follow to stay in compliance everywhere, nor a book that guides businesses toward using the most cost-effective phone numbers around the globe. But Plivo’s SMS marketing guide may be the next best thing. You should download it now.

Whether you want to send 20 messages a day or 200,000, Plivo’s SMS API can help you reach the people who need to see your carefully crafted marketing messages. This ebook can get you started on the right path.

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