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SMS Gateway: Ultimate Guide

SMS Gateway

There was a time when an SMS Gateway used to be a very novel concept, one that required dedicated physical hardware to be used. This hardware would use SIM cards as well as embedded radios and connect with a computer to function as a text Gateway. However, in essence, this hardware would function exactly like a cell phone, once that was capable of only sending gateway SMS messages.

However, with the advancement in technology, building a message gateway has evolved, allowing for greater flexibility in the way that bulk messages can be sent.

A text gateway is especially useful for bridging the gap in telecommunications caused by different proprietary protocols used by telecommunication companies around the world. Essentially, a gateway builds a bridge between different protocols, allowing communication to flow seamlessly by translating the messages as per the specifications of the sending and receiving communication protocols.

SMPP, which is short for Short Message Peer-to-Peer, is a protocol that allows messages to be sent from the Short Message Service Centers, or SMSCs for short, to External Short Messaging Entities, or ESMEs. An SMSC is responsible for handling all routing, forwarding, and storage of all incoming messages before they are transmitted to the receiver.

Another protocol used by SMSCs is called CIMD, or Computer Interface to Message Distribution. This was developed by the cellphone manufacturer Nokia for its own SMSC.

Multiple software options exist online that allow messaging gateways. Some of these options are commercial, requiring users to purchase a license before they can be used, while there are a few free open source options available as well.

Some SMS gateways also provide support for HTML/HTTPS interfaces as well, which are arguably more comfortable to use compared to protocols available under SMSC. However, an HTML/HTTPS interface might not have as many SMS-specific features compared to an SMSC protocol.

What Is an SMS Gateway?

An SMS Gateway is a system that allows anyone to send and receive text messages from a computer to an SMSC, which then transmits messages to the cell phones on its network. If programmed correspondingly, a text message gateway can also convert a message into multiple formats for cross-platform compatibilities, such as if a message is being sent from a computer. A text gateway is especially useful for organizations as they have to send messages in bulk and quite often, requiring a specialized gateway to manage all incoming and outgoing messages.

Also, since SMSCs use different protocols, this makes it difficult to communicate with all of them at the same time to send the same message. A messaging gateway resolves this issue as well since it provides multi-protocol support, allowing the sender to deliver messages to multiple SMSCs at the same time.

All of these features make message gateways an essential tool to use for mobile marketing purposes.

What is Bulk Text Gateway?

Businesses need to send text messages to thousands of their customers at the same time, which is only possible if they use a bulk SMS gateway.

There are many benefits to using a bulk text gateway provider. First, it allows prompt communication with all customers of the business, allowing the delivery of important information such as discounts.

Second, companies can create greater brand awareness for their business by using a bulk text gateway.

Third, SMS offers a very affordable way for businesses to advertise their products and offerings.

Lastly, businesses can also open a prompt channel of communication with their customers and conduct surveys if needed.

Best SMS Gateway API

To use a text gateway, developers build an interface called an SMS API or SMS Application Programming Interface. The API enables users to send and receive text messages from a computer application through the text gateway, as the API contains the logical programming needed to collect the input message from the user and send it through the gateway to the receiver.

There are several message gateway APIs that you can use to fulfill your communication needs.

However, here is a list of some popular ones.

  1. Twilio
  2. Clickatell
  3. MessageBird
  4. Nexmo
  5. SMSGlobal
  6. SendSMS.Global

Message Gateway PHP

There are many functions that an SMS API can perform through a PHP system, such as sending automatic SMS notifications, or any other type of automated SMS communication.

An SMS API is required to connect a gateway SMS to PHP. Usually, SMS API solutions come with a set of instructions on how you can integrate the API into multiple programs and systems, including PHP. Also, in many cases, SMS API providers offer their API in the user’s desired language, including PHP, which makes it very easy to integrate the API within a PHP system.

It is important to verify that the API is from a trusted and reliable source, as it would have access to sensitive information stored on the PHP after being integrated.

Email to SMS Gateway

An email to SMS gateway allows you to send text messages from your own email platform to the recipient’s cell phone in a seamless manner. Many gateway software providers allow easy integration with popular email platforms such as Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo. However, they can also be integrated into a company’s native email platform.

There are many free email to text gateways available on the internet. However, they may offer free services for a limited period of time.

However, you don’t need software to use an email to SMS as any email platform can be used to deliver an SMS by sending an email.

To use an email to SMS platform, users simply need to send the email to a specific email address. Usually, this email looks like the phone number of the recipient followed by the @gateway address. This address is unique to every service provider, as shown in the list of gateways provided below.

Email to SMS Gateway List

  1. AT&T SMS email gateway – @txt.att.net
  2. Sprint SMS email gateway – @messaging.sprintpcs.com
  3. T-Mobile SMS email gateway – @tmomail.net
  4. Verizon SMS email gateway – @vtext.com
  5. Ting SMS email gateway – @message.ting.com
  6. Boost Mobile SMS email gateway – @sms.myboostmobile.com
  7. Telus Mobility SMS email gateway – @msg.telus.com
  8. Xfinity Mobile SMS email gateway – @vtext.com
  9. Viaero SMS email gateway – @viaerosms.com
  10. Nex-Tech SMS email gateway – @sms.nextechwireless.com

Text Gateway Android

An android device can function perfectly as a text gateway if it has been coded correctly and integrated with an API. Thankfully, there are a few open-source android message gateways available on the internet that lets you convert an android device into a text gateway.

An example of a free message gateway API service is available at www.smsgateway.me. This service enables users to convert their android phones into a message gateway seamlessly.

Open Source SMS Gateway

There are many open-source SMS gateway services available free of cost to the public because they don’t hold a commercial license. By definition, an open-source application or service is created collectively by the public as they collaborate over the internet. Hence such applications and services are offered for free to the public.

Some examples of an open-source message gateway service include Jasmin, PlaySMS, Kannel, Kalkum, and Kapsystem.

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SMS Spoofing: What is It and How to Be Secured?

SMS Spoofing

Assuming a false identity for malicious acts such as collecting someone else’s personal information is not a new thing by any means. With the ever-changing landscape of technology, new techniques emerge continuously that make such attacks viable as well as more potent. One of the most popular communication channels is SMS spoofing.

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It lends texting an air of certain casualness and clearness, which makes it a convenient channel to communicate over. However, those qualities also create vulnerabilities which come by way of spoofed SMS.

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What is SMS Spoofing?

SMS spoofing is a technique/activity in which people replace or alter the originating mobile number (Sender ID) of a text message [sent via SMS] to an alphanumeric text of their choice. To put it into simple terms, the Sender ID of an SMS message is reset to change who the sender appears to be.

Spoofing an SMS message completely changes vital information like sender name, phone number or even both simultaneously. If you want to learn more about the technical side of how spoofing is carried out, here are couple of good resources for further reading.

In terms of legality, there is a huge grey area for whether or not this practice is legal. Because while SMS spoofing sounds malicious in concept, there are a lot of legitimate reasons why text messages can be spoofed. Consequently, spoofing has a varying degree of legality globally.

For example, a company altering its Sender ID from a random phone number to their company name would be a legitimate use of SMS spoofing. This is done so customers are alerted of the identity of the sender. Similarly, spoofing can be used for corporate branding messages and hiding the originating phone number—that can otherwise be an internal or private number—by replacing it with another, relevant number that people can respond to. This is especially the case for companies conducting SMS marketing where they need to use their company name instead of a phone number.

Nevertheless, spoofing can also be used to attack unsuspecting people by sending SMS messages to targets under the assumed identity of others (companies or phone numbers). Spoofing is the ideal tool to conduct fraudulent activities as it masks the identity of the original sender, and instead replaces it with an identity the person is trying to imitate. As a result, a lot of scammers try to phish for personal and confidential information (e.g. bank account or credit card details) using SMS spoofing.

While you may think these two uses of spoofing, in particular, make for a clear-cut situation, what actually creates the grey are is using spoofing services for anonymity. Some people may simply want to prank their friends, while some people may want to whistleblow without being under the risk of having their identity exposed. The reasons for spoofing are not black and white, more so they do not actually have to be malicious.

In any case, all of this makes it hard for authorities to detect and deal with spoofing. However, one thing is clear—SMS spoofing used under false pretenses is illegal in most countries and can get you in a lot of trouble with authorities.

There is no clear legislation about SMS spoofing in the majority of countries. Some countries have proposed the ban of spoofing altogether, while others are in a negligent state regarding the issue. Australia is the one notable example of a country that has completely prohibited the practice of spoofing.

In countries where spoofing is not regulated by national authorities, carriers have taken the matter into their own hands by banning the anonymous uses of spoofing.

How to Protect Yourself from SMS Spoofing?

No one can be 100% safe from spoofing. Whether scammers use your number for spoofing or are attacking you, you should always proceed by reporting it to your carrier and law enforcement, who can then track where SMS messages came from. This way you can prevent SMS spoofing in the future. Also, you can download SMS blockers to make sure that you will not receive SMS from the scammer second time.

SMS Spoofing Apps

SMS spoofing can be done online. There are many apps on the web that offer this service. Some are free while others are typically paid services. Spoofing web applications are by design easier to use than using command-line programs on operating systems like Linux. This makes them more accessible to the masses, thus resulting in a lot of traffic every day.

We advise to not proceed with this practice and not to cross any lines that might get you in legal trouble. Additionally, be careful in case you receive a message with the spoofed sender ID.

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Collecting Phone Numbers: 5 Useful Tips

Collecting Phone Numbers

So you have finally made the decision to get into SMS marketing but now you face the looming question of how you are going to collect phone numbers to kickstart your campaign. Although it is an overwhelming and tedious task, ultimately the end result will be worth it. Do not worry a bit because we are here to guide you through the whole process of collecting phone numbers.

How to Collect Your Customers’ Cell Phone Numbers List

Before you start to collect phone numbers, there are a couple of things you should know. First and foremost, no matter how tempting purchasing a ready-made list of phone numbers might be, that is the one thing you should avoid doing at all costs. The purchase itself is not illegal by any means.

However, sending text messages to potential customers who have not opted in to your campaign is illegal in most countries and is subject to heavy monetary fines. It is best to learn the laws regarding SMS marketing in your jurisdiction to avoid committing anything illegal (learn more in our anti-spam policy).

Secondly, monetary fines aside, sending unsolicited text messages to people can and will stain the reputation of your company. Any further communication from that point on—regardless of whether or not you have people’s consent—will be viewed as spam. That is pretty hard to recover from and will render all your future SMS marketing efforts useless.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, around 96% of Americans own a cell phone device of some kind. What is the one marketing channel that has the ability to reach them all at once? You guessed it right, text messaging. SMS marketing is downright the most efficient communication channel available right now and no other technology even comes close.

But reaching people on their cell phone devices is half the work. The other half is acquiring the cell phone numbers of said people. The tricky part is that contrary to most other marketing channels (e.g. email), you need people’s written consent in order to send them promotional text messages.

With that said, let’s discuss how you can collect a list of cell phone numbers for your text marketing campaign. Growing your subscribers’ list is important. It ensures that promotional messages put out by your company reach more customers, thus increasing potential business.

  • Create a Unique Keyword

One of the ways customers can opt in is by sending a designated keyword to your company’s short code (more on that here). Keywords have to be easy-to-remember as well as relevant to your company. People are exposed to all kinds of information on daily basis, so even the most interested customers might forget the keyword to subscribe to your campaign right away. Creating a memorable keyword is one way to make sure that it will stick to people’s minds.

  • Promote Your Keyword Everywhere

It is a no brainer that if you want people to subscribe to your campaign, you have got to get the word out about it. That means advertising your keyword everywhere possible to get as much exposure for it as you can. Irrespective of where you intend to advertise your keyword—could be company’s website, social media accounts or even email newsletters—the important thing is to prominently display your keyword alongside a call-to-action to attract new subscribers.

  • Create a Sign-Up Form on Your Website

While texting a keyword to subscribe to a text marketing campaign is the most popular way of growing your subscribers base, a good alternative is having people opt in through a sign-up form directly from your website. It makes the process easy in addition to giving customers more options.

  • Provide Incentives to Subscribers

Do you want people to opt in to your campaign willingly? Provide them with incentives to do so. People realize their phone numbers are valuable information, so you have to create a reason for them to willingly share their numbers. Whether you do it through exclusive perks or discounts, it is important people know that there is something in it for them when they are subscribed.

  • Host Text Contests

By far the easiest way to collect a cell phone numbers list for marketing is hosting text contests. Create a contest with a desirable prize and ask people for their phone numbers to enter the contest and earn sweepstakes. It is as easy as that. Not only does your list of subscribers increase but also brand awareness and customer engagement. It is an all-in-one combo.

Text marketing facilitates business developments, increases sales and helps build brand loyalty. Not to mention no other channel provides customer engagement at the level SMS marketing does. Start collecting phone numbers today to reap the benefits of text marketing and grow your business.

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Text to Win as Part of Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Text to Win

Taking part in contests is fun and people are inherently drawn to them. And what is better than entering and participating in contests through the convenience of your mobile phones? Text to win contests make for a good SMS marketing opportunity for business with the help of which they can attract new customers and increase engagement with their current ones.

Conducting contests among customers is not a new idea at all. However, text to win sweepstakes is a modern take on this practice. It helps grow your marketing campaign’s subscribers list as well as maintaining existing clients.

What is Text to Win Contest?

Text to win sweepstakes allow you to use your mobile phone to text a designated keyword to a specific short code to enter a contest.

It is as simple as that. No additional hassle, no overly-complicated enrollment process or going to a specific physical location to enter. All of it is done on the go using your mobile device.

  • The contest gives you a specific keyword, which you can find in the advertising/promotional material (for example’s sake, let’s say the word is “CONTEST”)
  • The text message has to be sent to a designated short code, which acts as a recipient number and again can be found in the advertising material (let’s say the short code is “1234567”)
  • You send an SMS message containing the keyword “CONTEST” to the short code “1234567” to earn a sweepstake and enter the contest.
  • At a later date when the contest is over, you will know whether or not you have won the contest prize through a text message or an announcement.

Texting Contests

People absolutely love to be given chances to win prizes, especially for free. And businesses love attracting new customers as it helps their brand grow both in terms of awareness and value. Text sweepstakes are the go-to method of ensuring both things happen at the same time.

The return on investment for text to win contests is significantly high. The amount of money you are going to spend on the prize trumps in comparison to the number of new customers you can attract, which has tremendous monetary value.

But business growth and customer engagement are not necessarily the only reasons as to why you should engage in text to win promotions. You can start contests because it is simple to set up, it does not require much effort from your customers’ side to participate, it makes for a good opportunity raise brand awareness among people who were previously oblivious to your brand, and ultimately this is a good way to gather customer information for future use.

Texting Contest Examples

Considering how prevalent SMS marketing is, it comes as no surprise that many major brands globally try to use this channel to its fullest capabilities. The following are a couple of texting contest examples from big brands.

  • Gillette – the famous razor company put up a text to win sweepstakes that targeted football fans in the United States. Their razor packages promoted an SMS short code which they had to use to participate in a quiz. Winners received football-related souvenirs and the top prize was a trip to Spain with tickets to a football match.
  • Nivea – Nivea had just released a new spray for men called “Aqua Cool” which they decided to promote through a text to win campaign aimed at the movie-going audience. By distributing free product samples in over 100 cinemas, people learned of this contest and started participating by sending the keyword “AQUACOOL” to a special code for a chance to win a 7-day skiing trip.
  • Sony – Sony created a campaign in which people were urged to text the codes they found on Sony CD packs to their short code for a chance to win various prizes. The campaign got a 10% redemption rate as a result and enhanced customer engagement significantly.
  • Seven Spring Mountain resort partnered up with WUSA 9 TV channel (an affiliate of CBS Washington) to launch a text to win campaign. Through TV ads, customers were given the keyword “SKITRIP” and were offered a chance to win a vacation trip to the skiing resort. Hundreds of participants entered the contest which helped the resort generate awareness in a crucial winter vacation time. As a result, the resort acquired new customers as well as new leads and prospects.
  • McDonald’s had an “Incredible” text to win sweepstakes around the time when the “Incredibles 2” animated movie launched. Customers who bought soft drinks at any McDonald’s chain restaurant received a code that they could text for a prize—which ranged from logos to mobile games to ultimately mobile phones. The campaign proved to be a success and has become an annual event when new movies release.
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Text Messaging Service for Schools: Everything You Need to Know

Text Messaging Service for Schools

A simple question: why do schools have different classrooms for different groups of students? The answer is as simple as the question itself. They do so to teach different material to each one of those groups through different instructors. 

But what if there are messages that the school needs to send to everyone, like emergency updates, class cancellations, special meetings? How do they make sure no one misses those announcements? Things like these happen all the time at school and working through all this hassle once or twice a day (in some cases even more) is a logistical nightmare. So, how do they figure it out?

Fortunately for schools, the advancement of mobile phone communication has made their job much easier in this sense. Now schools can communicate with their students by sending them text messages. Bulk SMS services for school allow the faculty to directly communicate with a large group of students. They can be sure that their message will reach the students in the fastest time with the highest efficiency. 

Educational institutions gather phone numbers during the admission period. Since the database is already there, it makes SMS marketing for schools much easier. School text service typically contains a wide variety of options for educational institutions. The options are based on the number of students, the frequency of sending text messages and so on. Considering that educational institutions on average only have around 400-600 students, it will also be inexpensive to use text messaging for schools.  

Text messaging is an essential channel of communication for any educational institution. It makes sure all the students receive and read the necessary message, which prevents them from a  number of inconveniences later.

Schools can also send important notifications through email. However, it has a considerably lower open rate. Besides, there are numerous reasons why students may open their emails late. For instance, some students work and they have to pay attention to more than 2-3 email inboxes. Likewise, some students don’t have Internet access all day. 

If students don’t see urgent notifications, it can cause serious inconveniences later. As opposed to emails, more than 90% of text messages are opened within 5 minutes after being delivered. So, SMS is a better way of disseminating important information among students. 

SMS Alert System for Schools

Schools face a number of organizational issues daily, which all students need to know about. These issues can be facility-related issues, deadline reminders, event reminders, changes in curriculum, new appointments and etc. In most of these cases, they need to inform the students right away and make sure they received the information. This is why the SMS alert system is a must-have feature for every educational institution.

For example, if something urgent happens shortly before the class and it needs to be canceled, school messaging system can be the best way to make sure everyone knows about it. It would guarantee that all of the students—or at least the vast majority of them—received the message and later there would be no inconveniences. School SMS system underlines how responsible the school is, therefore increasing the students’ satisfaction level.

Similarly, if there is a problem with campus facilities like water, air conditioning system or Internet connection, everyone would need to know about it.

School text system can also be used for individual or small groups of students. For instance, sometimes there are students who don’t complete all of their core courses to graduate. It is within everyone’s interest to know about this before registration and take measures for that. Registrations are typical during vacations, therefore, chances are high that those students won’t check their emails regularly. Using text messaging for schools would make sure they received the urgent information and are no longer under the risk of not graduating. 

These were just three examples, where text service is an absolute necessity. However, there are many more cases where text messaging for schools is the ultimate solution. Educational institutions need to deliver similar messages daily, so SMS marketing for schools will come in handy almost every day.  

School Text Messages to Parents

Educational institutions can use school SMS system not only for students but also for their parents. There are numerous cases where sending SMS to parents would be beneficial for schools. For example, they can send text messages for parent conferences, payment reminders, children’s absences or any other important issue.

School text messages to parents can increase the interaction between the educational institution and parents. This is crucial specifically for elementary or middle school parents since their children need more supervision. It can give them more insight about how their children are behaving and how well they are doing studying-wise. 

School SMS system is important for high school and university students’ parents as well. As much as the students in high schools and universities are mature, they are still under the supervision of their parents. It is a vulnerable age for developing bad habits. In case teachers notice something like that, school messaging system can allow them to send personalized text messages to their parents as a warning for that.

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SMS Broadcast: How to Reach People in Targeted Locations

SMS Broadcast

In January 2018, all residents across Hawaii received a text message on their mobile phone alerting them of an incoming ballistic missile attack. The emergency alert that was broadcasted through an SMS message eventually turned out to be false. However, it served as a good example of what SMS broadcast is—which is the practice of sending out a single SMS message to thousands of people (or mobile phones) at the same time using targeted geolocation—and what purposes it can be used for.

Now, this may be confusing for some, as in more than one way cell broadcasts resemble SMS marketing both in function and concept. Nevertheless, the differences are there. Contrary to SMS marketing, SMS broadcasts send text messages to cell phone numbers specific to certain geolocation. Additionally, they allow the collection of mobile phone numbers to which text messages can then be sent frequently.

Broadcast Text Opportunities

Broadcast Text Opportunities

Broadcast text messages can be used for many occasions. It presents a lot of opportunities that are otherwise unavailable on other channels, namely SMS marketing. Even though most people prefer emails to communicate promotional information with others, it does not have nearly the same immediacy as text messages. Not to mention, that when compared to text messages, the open rates for email are lackluster.

Cb broadcast ensures both immediacy and high response rate which is an opportunity in and of itself for people to use it as a channel to communicate with people. With SMS broadcast services, you can target people through their geolocation and send text messages to them promoting whatever it is you want to get the word about. For example, if you are coordinating an upcoming event, using mobile broadcasting can help you get in touch with local people in the area and let them know about it.

Message broadcasting can be used for other business opportunities as well. Most of the time, it is used in case of emergencies to send alerts to mobile phones in the area of the emergency (like in the example above).

What is Cell Broadcast

So what is cell broadcast message? Cell broadcast is a method by which text messages are simultaneously sent to multiple phone numbers within a defined area. Cell broadcast goes by different names as well such as SMS or CB broadcast, cell information and so on. What you need to know is that all of them refer to the same thing.

For people receiving cell broadcast texts, it is nearly identical to an SMS message in appearance. The big difference lies in its implementation, which technically speaking is far more practical. SMS uses a point-to-point connection, whereas cell broadcast works on a one-to-many basis. This means that a single message through a cell broadcast can reach millions of devices within a given area in an instant, provided all those numbers are connected to the same network in the target location. Cell broadcast is the ultimate location-based text messaging service.

How to Use Cell Broadcast

Sending cell broadcast messages is not difficult at all. Most mobile phones have a built-in feature that supports this function. So if you have an announcement to make that you would like to reach multiple people at the same time, it is your best bet.

However, sending cell broadcasts through a mobile phone has its own technical limitations—you cannot have more than 20 recipients at the same time. In this case, you can use an SMS broadcast software to send out broadcasts from a computer.

If you are going the route of using computer software, you will need to find a bulk text messaging service that offers a cell broadcast feature so that you can target a specific location.

SMS Vs. Cell Broadcast: The Differences

So we have already talked about how similar SMS and cell broadcasts are. Now let’s dig a bit deeper into the subject to understand what makes them different. The differences are evident when certain characteristics are compared and contrasted. Here are few of the key ones.

  • Transmission

SMS uses a point-to-point system to transmit messages, whilst cell broadcast uses point-to-many or point-to-area.

  • Mobile Number Dependency

SMS requires prior knowledge of specific phone numbers in order to send a message, whilst cell broadcast is independent in that regard and requires no knowledge of phone numbers.

  • Location-based Targeting

SMS does not support location-based targeting as it can send messages to pre-registered numbers only. Cell broadcast targets all mobile phones in specific geolocation provided those cell numbers are connected to the network in that area.

  • Message Length

SMS supports up to 160 characters to cell broadcast’s 93.

  • Reception

SMS messages are received at any time a mobile is turned on. Cell broadcasts, on the other hand, can be received only when it is turned on mobile settings.

There are other differences such as being able to verify SMS message delivery confirmation—which is not available for cell broadcasts—nonetheless, you get the picture.

SMS Broadcast Software

If you ever need to send text messages to multiple people in the same area, using a software can help you with that. It automates most of the mundane tasks and can easily target people using their location. SMS broadcasts apps, additionally, do not require a contacts list to be able to send text messages to people. All you need to do is write the content of the message, select the target area and send your messages. There are lots of bulk SMS platforms that also offer SMS broadcast services. It is best advised to do some research beforehand to find the right platform for you and subscribe to start using it.

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Text Message Marketing for Small Business

Text Message Marketing for Small Business

Do you think that text messages are long gone and there is no use for it? Well, not really. Stick around and you will find out why.

If you have just started up a business, you have to put in a substantial amount of effort and concentration in marketing. Most of the newly started businesses are struggling to find flexible ways of marketing their products or services. Some of them go for the latest innovations such as artificial intelligence or automated email marketing. However, not many realize how important it is to use text message marketing for small businesses.

why sms marketing is essential for small business

Why SMS Marketing is Essential for Small Business

A popular belief among small business entrepreneurs is that social media marketing is currently the most effective one. It is almost free, so most of them don’t hesitate to lean towards it, hoping that it can make their businesses successful.

The problem here is that only posts and stories are free on social media. Disseminating those posts and stories already costs money. Besides, effective social media marketing includes advertisements targeting a specific audience, which have two major problems.

  • First, AI targets audiences mostly using the emails that they signed in with. The problem here can be that the customers may not use them anymore, or they might have registered on Facebook with another email. This means that the ad messages simply don’t go anywhere and most of the targeting is actually wasted. Needless to say that most of what actually reaches to target audience is neglected. Indeed, not everyone clicks on ads they see on social media.
  • Second, artificial intelligence targeting may not always be precise. Yes, it can identify what the user’s previous preferences were. But it doesn’t guarantee that those preferences are up to date. Besides, the user may receive a lot of similar ads and just hide them all away.

Another issue with imprecise targeting is that most of the times AI targets an audience based on age groups or location, meaning that messages reach all members of the targeted audience, which is unnecessary.

On the one hand, it may seem that the more people see the ad messages, the more the brand awareness will rise. On the other hand, those very people see similar ad messages dozens of times a day, so they are more likely to be used to ignoring all of them. This means that most of the actual ad placing is a waste of time and space.

In contrast, SMS marketing specifically targets the customers that opted in beforehand with their phone numbers. They might have either used the company’s products/services or showed interest in them. Most people don’t check their emails every day. At best they check their emails once or twice a day. Compared to email marketing, text messages have an edge here too, as people check their text messages regularly, if not instantly once they receive it. The majority of the time, SMS marketing lists do not require an address verification to the extent email lists do.

This, again, reduces the chances of wasting means and shows a more intimate approach to a customer. Text messages are short and concise, so chances are high that the customer will read and comprehend the message. This, in turn, can raise brand awareness much more than most other marketing channels. This brings to the point that SMS marketing for small businesses is one of the most efficient marketing channels.

test for free our text marketing platform as a small business owner

Test for Free Our Text Marketing Platform as a Small Business Owner

If you are a small business entrepreneur, you can check out our text message marketing platform here. The platform gives a free trial for you to check the quality of its services. It offers one of the best text message services with a bargain price. It also has one of the highest rates of delivery (over 98 %).

Best SMS Marketing Platform for Small Businesses

Besides the free trial, our platform offers you a variety of features. Some of them are

  • Excel Import

You can easily upload Excel spreadsheets to the platform. It comes quite handy when uploading phone number data. This creates a better and easier user experience.

  • Custom Segmentation

This feature allows you to divide your customer database into segments. You can use this to differentiate the more loyal customers in case there are special offers for them.

  • Message Scheduling

The platform allows you to schedule the dates and times of text messages. You can preset specific time periods and it will do the rest of the job for you.

  • Size Customization

The system allows you to divide long text messages into multiple parts for better efficiency.

  • Message Personalization

Personalized content is in trend now. Having in mind that text message marketing for small business is a more efficient one, message personalization can create a friendlier atmosphere between your company and your clients.

  • Ready Templates

Most of the times you may not even need an employee to write SMS texts. Our platform includes ready-to-go SMS templates.

  • Mobile-Friendly Website

In order to access our website, you don’t necessarily need to have a computer with you. Our website is mobile-friendly and is optimized for all mobile devices.

  • Advanced analytics

This feature allows you to track multiple data. You can get information on message delivery rates, customer engagement rate and much more than that.

  • API Integration

As a built-in function, the platform includes an API integration for automated text messages.

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Text Appointment Reminder: Some Easy Rules to Follow

Text Appointment Reminder

Have you ever had an appointment with a doctor that you forgot to go to? Or do you have a business that needs to constantly send text appointment reminders to its customers?

With how fast and busy our lifestyles have grown to become, it gets increasingly hard to keep track of and remember everything. People can get caught up with a lot of stuff on the go and forget an important appointment they had made prior. And as a business, you will be wasting valuable time and resources for customers who are not going to show up.

Fortunately, there is a solution to the issue—sending appointment reminders via text message. Text messaging can be used to remind clients about their upcoming appointments.

Now you must be thinking how much of a chore it is to manually send text message reminders to each client—after all, how much different is it to just calling them by phone? Do not worry, in reality, it is not that complicated. All you need to do is find a decent text appointment reminder software that offers text messaging services. They can automate the whole process, thus saving you the trouble of doing the whole work by yourself.

After you find your software you find preferable—one that meets your needs—the software will automatically send SMS messages to clients reminding them of upcoming appointments as well as when said appointments are booked.

Text Message Appointment Reminder Samples

If you are struggling to think of text appointment reminder examples, there are thousands of such samples online. Here we will list a couple of samples for you to get an idea of what yours could look like.

  • Dear [client’s name], this is from [company name] to remind you your appointment on [date] from [time] till [time]. In case you need to reschedule the appointment, please contact me at [company phone number].
  • Dear [client’s name], this is a reminder from [company name] about your appointment on [date] from [time] till [time]. If you need to reschedule, please contact me at [company phone number].
  • Hi [client’s name], this is a reminder for your appointment on [date/time]. Reply “Y” to confirm, “N” to cancel or STOP to quit.
  • Hi [client’s name]. This is [your name] from [company name]. This is just a friendly reminder for our appointment at [date/time]. Please be sure to fill out all of the paperwork I emailed you prior to our meeting as well. Thanks!
  • Hello [client’s name], just a reminder that your appointment is today at [time]. Please let us know if you are unable to make – [phone number].
  • Hi [client’s name], this is [your name] from [company name]. You have an appointment booked tomorrow, [date/time]. Please text “Y” to confirm. Thanks!

Check our full text messaging templates here!

Medical Appointment Reminder via Text

The healthcare industry is one of the more prominent users of SMS messaging. They use text services to remind patients of their appointments. The reason is simple—medical institutions lose a lot of money and resources because of patients who do not show up.

Doctors’ time is simply too valuable to be wasted because a patient decided not to come or forgot about their appointment. SMS reminders are proven to reduce no-show patients by 25-30% on average. Add to that the fact that SMS is affordable and does not break the budget, and it is no wonder why the healthcare industry uses this channel for appointment reminders and communication so much.

Medical Appointment Text Samples

Here are a few samples of text message appointment reminders for the healthcare industry.

  • Please don’t forget your appointment with Dr. Brown on [date/time] at our office location. Please reply to Confirm or Cancel.
  • Hello! You have an appointment with Dr. Carmicheal on [date/time].
  • Dear [patient’s name]. Just a friendly reminder about your appointment with Dr. Wallace. You appointment is [date/time/place]. We appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you then!

Appointment Reminder via Automated Text Message

As discussed earlier, there are a lot of companies out there offering automated appointment reminders. Basically, what you essentially need to do using these services is selecting your customers (who you will be contacting), creating or using ready-made text message templates and scheduling when the message ought to be sent.

The rest will be taken care of by the automated SMS API system. The whole process is managed by the software, starting from bookings and reservations and ending with reminders and follow-up messages. The text message appointment reminder system automates all the tasks which would otherwise be a logistical nightmare to take care of.

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SMS Short Code: Advanced Guide

SMS Short Code

Have you ever got an SMS with a code of four to six digits to your phone? If you have been using mobile devices at least for the last decade, chances are that you are quite familiar with these codes. As soon as businesses realised the potential of smartphones, in particular text messaging, as an easy and far-reaching marketing tool, SMS short code became an indispensable part of text message marketing strategy.

Currently, SMS short codes are broadly used by various types of businesses to send high-volume messages, raise brand awareness and reach customers faster than ever. Since this code contains only 4-6 digits, it is easier for customers to remember them, engage and take actions immediately.

SMS Short Code Definition

SMS short codes are a combination of digits, shorter than telephone numbers, that marketers use in their multimedia and short messaging service campaigns. The number of digits in an SMS vary from country to country.

Short SMS codes are mainly embedded in promotional materials, such as TV ads, printed media, billboards, etc. The short-digit messages are also used for value-added services like charity donations, television contest voting, ordering services, confirmation of services, two-factor authentication and so on. Short code ideally fit bulk marketing SMS campaigns.

The key benefits of SMS short codes for companies include:

  • Due to the shortness of the embedded digits, it is more likely to be read and remembered by customers.
  • It enables customers to opt in or opt out of receiving further text messages on the service or product.
  • It has global coverage. SMS short codes can be sent to a large number of people from anywhere in the world within seconds.

Customers interact with your codes by responding with a keyword. It’s up to the businesses to determine which keywords to use for each specific case. For instance, if a customer sends “Stop” or “End” keywords back to your SMS, it means they want to opt out of the marketing campaign. It is wise to send back a message that confirms the unsubscription has been completed.

Basically, there are two types of SMS short codes: dedicated short code and shared short code. The former is owned and used by one single company or organisation only. The latter is owned by the SMS software provider, who shares the codes between different companies and organisations.

SMS short codes are also classified between vanity short codes and non-vanity short codes. Vanity codes are specifically chosen by a company or an organisation, instead of being selected by the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) at random. On the contrary, non-vanity codes are randomly generated by CSCA, rather than being chosen by a specific company or organisation.

SMS Short Code Lookup

As you may have already guessed, almost all of the leading companies worldwide have their dedicated SMS codes that are a unique sequence of digits used to communicate with their customers. Accordingly, there are directories that offer a list of short codes to over thousands of companies online. The database is public and people can search through a specific company’s short code, view the code owner’s information or get their own code.

Here, we went through the SMS short code databases and picked out the dedicated codes used by the most renowned companies and brands over the globe. This is how it looks:

  • Facebook is a social media behemoth that uses the 32665 code to engage with its users. This is a dedicated one registered with the Common Short Code Administration.
  • The number one search engine Google is identified with the 23333 by Common Short Code Administration. If you want to know more on Google’s short code, send the keyword “Help” to 23333.
  • The 262966 non-vanity short code belongs to the e-commerce giant Amazon. The multi-billion-dollar online retailer uses its dedicated short code for sending retail coupons and promotions to customers who have opted in.
  • If you want to get text message coupons from the global restaurant franchise Pizza Hut, know that their short code is 69488.

How to Get SMS Short Codes

Once you make up your mind on starting an SMS marketing campaign, you should consider getting short code. There are two ways to do that: going through the whole process on your own or leaving it to an SMS provider.

If you choose to carry out the process yourself, here are the three basic steps you will have to take:

  1. Lease Short Code. Includes leasing a vanity or non-vanity SMS codes from Common Short Code Administration and making relevant payments.
  2. Submit a Short Code Application. Once the code is yours, you will have to submit an application, which is a lengthy document that requires a lot of attention to detail. This is the most crucial part because if anything goes wrong, the short code application will be denied and you will have to re-submit a new application.
  3. Short Code Provisioning. If you succeeded the code application process, unfortunately you are not allowed to send and receive SMS messages yet. You have to go through another the last, but rather complicated process, that is code provisioning.

To skip all the roadblocks on the way of getting SMS short codes, and save time and effort, a lot of brands nowadays opt for the second option: trusting the process to a reliable SMS provider. The experienced provider is well aware of the process, knows how to create and set up SMS short code professionally, and what’s more, does not charge much for their service.

SMS Short Code Cost

Short code is an affordable component of a bulk SMS strategy that is proved to provide sky-high effectiveness. The cost of SMS short code depends on whether it is dedicated or shared, as well as if it is vanity or non-vanity.

While, a dedicated, non-vanity code may cost you $500 monthly. The shared codes come at cheaper prices. It can cost anywhere from $50-$100 a month, depending on the number of keywords and messages sent.

SMS Short Code API

Plug into the API of a reliable SMS short code API platform and send or receive SMS messages seamlessly with your code in the sender ID.

The basic features to look for in an API platform are:

  • Seamless integrations,
  • Intuitive dashboard,
  • SMS template availability,
  • Scheduled texts possibility,
  • Real-time analytics.

SMS Short Code Marketing

As mentioned above, SMS codes are indispensable components of a mobile bulk SMS strategy. Many world-leading brands and companies have successfully integrated short code into their marketing strategies. If you want to make the most of SMS codes and let it work for the growth of your business, here are some sure-fire ways of using SMS marketing to your advantage:

Boosting lead generation

SMS short codes are the favoured method of marketers to encourage customers to send an SMS to the code and get a quote or coupon.

Increasing ROI

Statistics reveal that the potential return on investment associated with marketing through short codes is significantly higher than most other marketing types.

Branding your business

If you choose dedicated codes, you will be the only company to use it and the code will be associated with your brand only. The dedicated one will add recognition and consistency to your brand.

SMS short codes are a reliable and time-tested way to engage with your customers easily, establish your brand’s voice, grow your business.

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Text Message Marketing for Restaurants

Text Message Marketing for Restaurants

Restaurants belong to one of the toughest industries out there. The cutthroat competition leads to the failure of a lot of establishments. In fact, the restaurant industry has some of the highest failure rate. Making sure your restaurant survives beyond the first year is a huge challenge. Trying to make it successful on top of that is even more difficult of a task.

While there are many marketing channels that can be utilized to create brand recognition and awareness, SMS marketing for restaurants is one that can be recommended without fault. One of the priorities of every restaurant is to convert one-time customers into repeat customers. And that is done through developing customer loyalty.

Therefore, a marketing strategy focused on that aspect should be developed. Text message marketing for restaurants is, in fact, one of the better ways to further your customer loyalty-building efforts. Its accessibility allows for restaurants to reach far more customers, at only the fraction of a cost and in a more efficient manner, than other marketing channels.

SMS text marketing for restaurants, especially ones smaller in scale, should be a mandatory practice. Marketing constitutes an important part of any business endeavor but sometimes a full-blown marketing campaign can be costly. Hence why trying to do it in budget is a good idea and SMS marketing is just the tool for that.

Benefits of SMS Marketing for Restaurants

Benefits of SMS Marketing for Restaurants

There are a lot of benefits that come with SMS marketing. Implementing this kind of marketing is almost fool-proof, in that either you get the full benefits of SMS or you get marginal benefits (or none at all) without taking a hit financially in the process.

That said, here are some of the key benefits of SMS marketing for restaurants:

  • Popularity

According to research, the vast majority of mobile device owners use the SMS every day (check SMS statistics here), and on average people receive 30-40 text messages. This means that the text messaging channel is perfect for exposure because customers use their phones a lot. Your text message could very well end up as being one of those 40 daily text messages and you are almost guaranteed to have your message read.

  • High Open Rate

Text messages have the highest open rate of any channel of communication. With an astounding 98% open rate, it is guaranteed people are going to see your text message. The next closest in terms of open rate is an email that fluctuates between the 20-30% range. This means that if you want to assure your restaurant’s communication with customers does not go to waste, just send SMS messages.

  • Instant Delivery

Barring some technical issues with your bulk SMS provider, SMS messages ought to and, in most cases, are delivered in an instant. More than that, on average 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of being received. On the contrary, emails can be delivered instantly as well but do not nearly get the same response rate as SMS messages.

  • Affordability

If you are on a budget, SMS marketing is the go-to tool for you. It is incredibly cheap and has some of the most competitive and affordable pricing on the market. Considering how effective SMS marketing is, the margin of return you are going to get on your investment is very high, so it is well worth its price. Moreover, unlike most businesses, restaurants do not need full-on marketing campaigns (most cannot even afford it without crippling the business financially). All it takes at times is a little push to get over the hump during dry spells. It is no surprise why SMS marketing is widely used among top restaurant franchises.

  • Global Outreach

Part of the reason why SMS is so popular in marketing has to do with its ability to reach everyone across the world. The limitless reach it offers can help you send text messages to just about anyone regardless of their physical location. And because the striking majority of the population has mobile phones, they can be accessed anytime. Of course, within this context, sending text messages to people all over the world would make no sense, unless your restaurant is a global franchise. That is why you have to have a specific target demographic—ideally location-based (learn more here). This will help you attract the right customers to your restaurant as well as avoid spamming people with irrelevant content.

text message marketing samples for restaurants

Text Message Marketing Samples for Restaurants

Restaurants can use SMS marketing for various purposes. Here are some ways you can use it (with default templates).

  • Rewarding Customers with Coupons
    “Hey [customer name], thanks for dining with us at [restaurant name]. We can’t wait to see you again. Take 10% off of your next order using this coupon. [coupon]”
  • Limited-Time Offers
    “Quick! The hot light is on! Come in and get a fresh donut and we’ll give you a free cup of coffee. Offer only valid for the next few hours.”
  • Notifying Customers About Upcoming Events
    “Will we see you at tonight’s open mic? Swing by [restaurant’s name] for delicious food and stay for the awesome music—today from 6-10 PM.”
  • Customer Reservation
    “Hi [customer name], your table for 4 is now ready. We’ll hold it for the next 5 minutes.”
  • Customer Surveys
    “We appreciate your visit to [restaurant’s name]. Please take your time to rate our quality of service and food following this link.”