Now that you’re ready to supercharge your marketing, sales, and or customer service efforts with business texting (SMS), the next step is to select a provider. But with legions of vendors一all sporting armfuls of features and functions一to choose from, how do you decide which provider would be the most beneficial for your company?
Here are the top features to consider when choosing an SMS software provider for your business.
Consumer Engagement Tools
It goes without saying, right? You’ll want an SMS provider with the capabilities to help boost engagement across your business-to-consumer interactions, from marketing to sales, to customer service and beyond. And the research bears this out一customer engagement helps your business:
- Prospects who receive SMS marketing messages show a 40% greater likelihood of converting than a control group that didn’t receive SMS marketing messages.
- 50% of retail customers say they made a direct purchase after receiving an SMS branded text, coupon, or promotional code.
- 60% of consumers want to reach support via messaging.
Capabilities can run the gamut, but here are a few we think are worth including among your “must haves:”
- Broadcasting for delivering a single text to hundreds (or thousands) of respondents simultaneously.
- Two-way business texting - allowing recipients to respond and engage with your content一60% of consumers want to respond to SMS messages they receive.
- Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) enabling texts with visual content, such as images, videos, gifs, and vCards.
- Call number flexibility so you can use a local number, 800 number, or landline to text from.
Efficient User Experience
Features that make an SMS platform easy to use can make all the difference in executing a campaign. For example, with Salesmsg, a best-in-class, two-way SMS and MMS business texting software, you can send, receive, and manage text messages from a single dashboard一online or app-based一from anywhere. Other features that improve the user experience include:
- Scheduled text delivery and off-hours auto reply. Send texts when your recipients are most likely to read and respond to them一whatever time it is. Activate an auto reply for out-of-hours responses, so you never miss an engagement opportunity.
- Manage consumer responses, questions, or concerns with a single, shared inbox for the team.
- Calendar integration for scheduling calls and meetings with prospective customers.
- Easily add notes to contact files for team access and review.
While using SMS for business is legal, it must adhere to a handful of rules and regulations. The 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires, most significantly, consumers to provide explicit consent (usually via an opt-in provision) to a named business before receiving its SMS marketing messages.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) is also a key partner representing the U.S. wireless communications industry. And while the CTIA can’t enforce federal legislation, it does provide leadership in developing industry best practices.
For example, the CTIA distinguishes between Consumer/Person-to-Person communication (P2P) and Non-Consumer/Application-to-Person communication (A2P)一essentially organizations and their representatives deploying business SMS一and provides guidance for both.
Application-to-Person 10-Digit Long Code (A2P 10DLC) is a more recent CTIA initiative designed to protect consumers from receiving spam and other unwanted texts from unknown sources. And this is actually a big dealーaccording to spam call blocking app RoboKiller in its “Robocall Report 2021 Mid-Year Phone Scam Report Americans are estimated to receive 86 billion spam texts in 2021 alone.
As part of the A2P 10DLC framework businesses are required to identify themselves to the carrier networks and register what type of messages they’re sending to better guarantee their message delivery. (See A2P 10DLC for a fuller discussion).
Your SMS software provider should not only be up to date on compliance requirements and best practices but should assist in ensuring your business adheres to these measures. Salesmsg, for example, offers a full suite of tools to support your business’ compliance, from 10 DLC registration to opt-in, double opt-in, and opt-out features.
Is there anything more frustrating than working with systems that don’t integrate efficiently? In our data-driven business landscape, the ability to derive insights and value from data is critical to success, if not survival.
In particular, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) workflows and datasets have become increasingly important throughout the customer lifecycle, and your SMS software platform should integrate efficiently with your CRM ecosystem.
Salesmsg includes best-in-class integration functionality with Two-Way CRM Contact Sync. Just link Salesmsg to your existing HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Marketo, FusionSoft, Pipedrive, or other CRM platform, then search and text contacts without having to import them. You can search by name, phone number, or email. You can also personalize your texts with merge fields from your CRM, drop in a canned text, or create your own.
Oh, and when you make updates to your CRM contact information, Salesmsg will automatically sync with any changes made so contact information on Salesmsg matches your CRM. You can segment contacts on the go by contact info, activity, location, or tags.
Salesmsg also integrates with Zapier to connect with another 1,000+ apps beyond those listed here.
Tracking performance and return on investment (ROI) is key to any consumer-facing campaign, and business SMS is no exception. Make sure your SMS software provider includes analytic capabilities to measure your progress.
Salesmsg offers several activity metrics that provide actionable data to drive meaningful insights. For example, track messages sent, received, new contacts created, contacts who opted in, opted out, and so on. You can also track internal team productivity metrics一who on the team sent what一across various periods. All data is provided in an easy-to-follow format on the user dashboard.
Ensuring your SMS platform can grow with your business is essential to your ongoing success. Sending out 20,000 texts and evaluating performance should be just as easy as sending out 20.
Salesmsg is designed to meet the needs of businesses with text campaigns of all sizes一from 500 messages per month or less to 10,000 messages or more. As your messaging needs change, Salesmsg easily changes with you.
On the whole, pricing is relatively transparent across the business SMS industry, but if you don’t understand what you’re paying for, ask first before committing to a plan. If possible, estimate the number of messages you expect to send and receive over the plan period and evaluate accordingly.
In general, SMS platforms charge a few cents per text sent. Volume discounts are also widely available for users sending thousands or even millions of texts each month. Several companies, including Salesmsg, are also offering pay-as-you-go pricing plans, in addition to monthly subscription models.
Salesmsg’s monthly subscription plans are based on the number of texts you expect to send per month. Depending on the plan, they also include additional features, such as unlimited contacts, app integrations, a free local or toll-free number, premium phone support, a dedicated account manager, and more. Its stand-alone pay-as-you-go model enables complete flexibility to pay only when you’re texting and includes fewer features.
Most companies over a free trial period of at least 14 days, which can help determine whether the plan and provider are right for your business for the long term.
Contact Salesmsg today to learn more about our industry-leading SMS functionality and features and how we can help grow your business.
Text us at (888) 409-2298 or start your free trial today.