SMS and MMS marketing have seemed to lose some traction ever since internet-based messaging platforms have become the norm on smartphones. However, prior to the smartphone era, SMS and MMS were very significant means of communication. While it was also very popular with users to interact with each other, it was also a great way for businesses to reach out to the local, and even international audience. However, even with smartphones, social media, and digital advertising, the tried and tested SMS is still a viable option today.
Especially for people who are getting into marketing for the first time and are looking for a cost-effective yet efficient way to get the word out, SMS marketing can be a great tool. The key to getting the most out of any marketing campaign is to understand the end customer and to understand the marketing medium that you are using. Without a good understanding of your target audience, it will be nearly impossible to get sales to convert. Without understanding how your marketing platform works, you will be flushing money down the drain and wasting potential leads in the process.
SMS marketing is something that is extremely direct. SMS and MMS inboxes, even on smartphones, don’t have a filter that automatically detects spam and removes it before you see it. Therefore nearly every message that you send out will reach the person it is intended for, ensuring that the numbers you send them to are real numbers. If you have accurate data that you are targeting your SMS messages towards, there is a high possibility that your customer will see the message. Whether or not they open the message and read, and eventually convert as a client depends on a few different variables. One of the most important among those variables, and the first thing that the customer will see, is the sender ID. Quite literally, the name or number that they have received a message from. This is what you can do for your sender ID to ensure it leaves a positive impact.
1. Sender ID Options
There are quite a few different kinds of sender ID options that you can use as a business or even as an individual when you use commercial SMS solutions.
The most common and most cost-effective solution is to use a shorthand sender ID. This is a simple 6 digit number (more or less depending on local telecom guidelines) that a sender can use to be identified by the recipient. Availability and prices of shorthand sender IDs do vary by region and in some regions, carriers may not even offer this function. Also, when using shorthand sender IDs businesses are not restricted by how many messages they can send out. However, as it is a very reliable way to send messages most businesses usually use this only for critical messages.
Then there are long code sender IDs that are regular mobile numbers. These are usually 10 digits long, though they can vary. This is the same number format that people use to interact with each other. These are generally not used for one-way communication by businesses, but it is a solution if you want to send batches of messages from your phone directly to your contacts.
SMS messages can also be sent through toll-free numbers and since the audience does associate toll-free numbers with businesses, this is a great way to get customer attention.
The most effective strategy is to use an alphanumeric sender ID that is able to display your business name entirely, or with some digits in it. This helps people instantly recognize who the message is coming from and also adds authority to your marketing.
2. Sender ID Types
In addition to the ways in which sender IDs are structured, there are also a few specifics about the nature of the ID that will be useful when you use a commercial-grade SMS marketing solution.
The simplest is the fully dynamic sender ID that can use letters in the lower and upper case as well as all the digits. Generally, you can’t use spaces or any other symbols with this kind of ID but some carriers do provide support for special characters. Also, the length of this ID depends on the local carrier and does vary.
Then there is the dynamic alpha that uses only letters and is limited to 6 characters.
The dynamic numeric is limited to 15 digits and uses only numbers
The random numeric uses a local number that is available from the pool of numbers and the length will be determined by the local carrier.
Generally, businesses prefer to use something that is customizable and helps the customer identify the sender. The fixed sender ID can be a mix of letters and numbers and is the most preferred SMS sender ID by businesses. It allows complete customization and is a permanent solution that you can use long-term for any kind of communication.
3. Using SMS Sending Services
While you can do SMS marketing on your own just using a few different mobiles and some automation, this is not going to be a good strategy in the long run, especially when your contact list grows to hundreds of thousands of numbers. You could also consider getting some machinery for this job but it can get quite complex as operations expand. The most effective solution is to delegate this to dedicated SMS service and have them manage everything except the actual content of the message. This way you can focus on your marketing efforts and not have to worry about the technical or logistical side of managing SMS marketing.
While SMS marketing might seem like a relatively straightforward task, when you start doing it at a commercial level and you are using it for business, there are some legal issues that you have to consider. The most important of which is actually using the carriers’ infrastructure legally. Sending a few hundred messages a day might not get their attention but sending thousands on a regular basis does take a toll on the telecom service provider. This is why they have specialized plans for people looking to use their services for bulk SMS services. Having a service provider to manage this will save you the hassle of any legal work that is required to become eligible and you won’t have to worry about carrier charges and traffic-related problems. You get a simple solution where you pay upfront and get your message delivered to however many people you want it delivered to.
About the Author
Martin Brown is a digital marketing and digital asset management specialist. He has been in the industry for over a decade, helping people understand digital technology and apply them to their business through guest posting. Martin is married with three children. He enjoys playing basketball and scuba diving during his leisure time.