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SMS APIs and other SMS broadcasting software are becoming increasingly common as businesses seek to create more effective and widespread communication and marketing campaigns. Texting is arguably the most efficient way to reach the majority of the population; therefore, it is natural that businesses would want to leverage this powerful medium on behalf of their customers.
Best practices generally revolve around subscribers: being upfront with them, providing them clear value, and listening to their opinions. But as the popularity of SMS APIs grows, it is equally essential to utilize texting best practices to create a healthy relationship between your company and your customers. Additionally, utilizing best practices creates increased user engagement and satisfaction.
Keep reading to learn more about best practices and how you can integrate them into your campaigns. The four best SMS practices we cover below aren’t the only best practices but are some of the most relevant ones. If you follow these, your company will be more than prepared to send out successful text campaigns.
Top 4 SMS Best Practices
Though text best practices typically revolve around and benefit users, they also offer distinct advantages for businesses that adhere to them. Companies that follow best practices are more likely to create a strong and lasting subscriber base, as they can better cater to their customers and meet their needs. Companies that ignore best practices may become out of touch with their subscribers— and in such a competitive market, this can quickly hurt profits.
Be Upfront With Subscribers
‘Honesty is the best policy may be an age-old adage, but it still rings true – especially for SMS API campaigns. Being open and honest with your subscribers has several benefits, including establishing your brand as reliable, proactively avoiding non-compliance issues, and increasing customer satisfaction.
When customers initially opt into your subscription list, you’re legally required to provide them with clear instructions about how to opt-out or otherwise stop receiving messages. But it’s better to be upfront with customers about other aspects of your campaigns, such as how often they will receive texts, what the texts are about, and what value you can provide to them (which we’ll cover more in-depth in the next section).
Establishing upfront that your company will send emails about sales once weekly, for example, lets customers know what to expect from your messages and when to expect them. In turn, this prevents your messages from seeming overbearing or irrelevant.
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Provide Clear Value To Subscribers
No matter what service or product your company offers, your SMS messages should provide clear benefits to customers that are easily recognized. In exchange for agreeing to receive your text messages, subscribers expect to receive tangible value. This may come in different forms, such as receiving coupons, timely SMS appointment reminders, 2 way SMS, or relevant notifications.
However, remember that it is vital that other aspects of the campaign do not overshadow the value. For example, users may appreciate receiving weekly texts about sales or discounts. Still, a daily text may be irritating and cause customers to opt-out despite the precise value.
Your text messages should directly relate to how you serve customers. SMS campaigns should be curated to build brand loyalty among current subscribers and entice potential new subscribers. Building on the example above, retail store customers would appreciate regular messages about upcoming sales. In contrast, patrons of a bank would find more value in payment reminders, withdrawal notices, and similar messages.
Listen To Subscribers
Another texting API best practice is to listen to your subscribers to continuously improve your campaigns. There are many ways to generate feedback from subscribers, including sending out customer satisfaction surveys, allowing two-way communication, and encouraging reviews. You can solicit user opinions on a specific aspect of your campaign, such as the date or time you send it out, or gauge overall satisfaction. The more feedback you receive, the more effective your campaigns will become (provided, of course, that you actually listen to the feedback).
Another way to analyze subscribers’ satisfaction is to generate detailed campaign reports. Reporting features are available with most SMS API or SMS broadcast software services, although the quality can vary. When initially considering which API or service to invest in, ask about what campaign data is available and how quickly reports can be generated.
Such data can prove invaluable when trying to curate campaigns that appeal to specific audiences. Using reports also has several benefits when compared to directly soliciting user feedback. The two most prominent benefits are that reports offer data on every user. In contrast, feedback methods may not have 100% engagement, and reports can be generated for every campaign, whereas soliciting feedback after every campaign can overwhelm customers.
Stay Up To Date On Legal Requirements
This best practice more directly affects companies than customers, but it is arguably the most critical practice on this list. Your company must follow all applicable state and federal communication requirements to stay compliant (and operational). If you ignore these regulations, your phone provider or API carrier may fine, suspend, or even terminate your account. This impacts how you can connect with customers and your ability to send out marketing and communication campaigns.
Organizations like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) regulate when companies can send messages, under what circumstances messages can be sent, and what content can be included in the messages. These regulations are why you can’t send messages late at midnight, contact random users, or post content about alcohol or illegal drugs.
Before sending out any messages or campaigns, it’s a good idea for you to brush up on applicable laws and regulations. Remember that some regulations are overarching, while others may only apply under certain circumstances. For example, there are different text messaging rules for SMS short code services versus SMS long code services. There may also be state laws that add stricter parameters to broad federal rules. Compliance is vital: it’s better to be cautious and compliant.