SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world.
San Francisco, USA: 06 July 2014 It’s also the one form of communication that many people are tethered to 24/7. The NY Times suggests this is why, at a time when in-boxes are filled with hundreds of never-opened e-mail messages, 97 percent of all SMS messages are opened (and 83 percent are opened within one hour).
Getting started with SMS is easy, though there are a few things to keep in mind along the way.
Determine your priority application for using SMS
The first step is to decide where within your business you want to start using SMS. While there are dozens of proven business use cases for SMS, it makes sense to start with your most pressing pain point or the biggest bang for the buck opportunity. Here’s a handy guide to some of the more common applications by industry and functional area.
- Healthcare: Appointment reminders to significantly reduce no-shows.
- Banking & financial services: Account updates including balance and transaction details
- Retail: Updates on sales, offers and customer promotions
- Education: Parent updates including school closures or issues with school services
- Utilities: Social services beneficiary communications
Select the best method for sending SMS
While it’s possible to use SMS straight from your cell phone, for business purposes, sending SMS from your computer offers a much more powerful solution. You can send an SMS from your computer in of three ways:
- Web SMS
- SMS APIs
Email-to-SMS is the easiest way to get started with SMS. Simply send your SMS message from your existing email client. The only thing that changes is the recipient address – instead of their email address, the sender uses the recipients mobile phone number. While extremely easy to use, Email-to-SMS offers only limited functionality.
Web SMS is another easy way to send SMS from a computer. With Web SMS, there’s no software to install – simply use your web browser to connect to the web portal, log in, and start sending. The best Web SMS platforms offer the ability to send broadcast messages, scheduled messages, and recurring messages, and also provide reporting capabilities.
While Email-to-SMS and Web SMS are easy to use, SMS APIs (Application Programming Interface) offer the ultimate in functionality and flexibility. With an API, you can integrate the power of SMS directly into your existing software platforms. For example, if you’re sending an appointment reminder, an API enables you to integrate SMS with your scheduling software. You can then set up certain triggers to automatically send SMS (e.g., automatically send an appointment reminder SMS 24 hours before a scheduled appointment).
Use reporting to make the most of your sending
A good web SMS platform will provide detailed reporting on your SMS activity. Likewise, APIs will enable you to create detailed, automated reports. Use reporting to track sending over time and by user. By studying trends over time and across users, you can monitor adoption of SMS within your organization.
Communication via SMS is highly regulated in the US and Canada. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is the primary federal law regulating SMS in the US. In Canada, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) plays a similar role.
For further information on getting started with SMS in your business, please contact a member of our sales team today on 1-888-799-9767.