What to Look for in an SMS Platform

With unrivaled open and read rates and a powerful influence on customer experience — especially when paired with other platforms — SMS is an essential part of any customer engagement strategy. But when shopping around for an SMS platform, it can be tough to know just what you’re looking for. 

That’s why we’ve put together our top six considerations for any marketer looking to expand their toolset with SMS. With these in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the best SMS marketing platform to help your business engage, convert and retain customers.

How Well Does This SMS Platform Coordinate with Other Digital Channels? 

As noted above, the true strength of an SMS platform is how it integrates with other digital channels. Pairing SMS with mobile wallet, for example, gives you a dream-team combo that lets you directly communicate with your users on mobile, no app required. Combining SMS and email, on the other hand, enables you to use emails such as order confirmations and promotions to prompt SMS opt-ins for time-sensitive information such as shipping notifications and sale alerts. 

How well your SMS platform plays with other digital channels can be a make-or-break factor in whether it fits with your customer engagement strategy. Before you buy, be sure to double-check that your SMS platform can deliver its content in harmony with your other customer engagement tools.

How Robust Are This Platform’s Automation Capabilities? 

Customer engagement strategy is all about timing and context, and the right SMS platform should give you total control over when and where to engage your customers—without the hassle of actually scheduling each and every message. 

For example, with custom event and tag triggers, you can deliver a message automatically after a customer opts into messaging, or the moment they join your loyalty program. And with keyword automation, you can personalize the content, such as loyalty points balance or flight status, your customers receive so they feel seen and supported. How well your SMS platform can automate, especially within a range of dynamic customer journeys, is an essential consideration for your customer engagement toolkit. 

Does This SMS Platform Offer Personalization? 

Speaking of customer journeys, personalized content is playing a bigger role than ever in affecting customer experience, and the best SMS platform will offer dynamic content that helps you reach your customers with timely and helpful information. From including a customer’s name in the message, to providing in-depth details like flight numbers, departure times and abandoned cart items, personalization is key to any quality SMS platform. 

Does This SMS Platform Partner with Tier 1 Aggregators? 

SMS aggregators are the intermediaries between your brand and the telecoms that your customers rely on for their mobile experience. And not all aggregators are created equal. In the U.S., aggregators are considered Tier 1 when they connect directly to the top five networks in the U.S.: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular. SMS platforms that partner with Tier 1 aggregators have the highest throughput and speed, the best performance, and the most reliable data protection. So when shopping for an SMS platform, be sure to check who they’re working with to get your messages to your customers. 

Does This SMS Platform Allow Link Shortening and Tracking? 

Every character counts when it comes to SMS marketing. Shortening links is a great way to give yourself more valuable real-estate for customer engagement — as well as drive higher click-through rates — but not all SMS platforms have this feature built-in. The best SMS platforms also integrate link shortening with detailed performance tracking, such as user-level click data, so that you can gather audience data and make more informed, strategic decisions when it comes to your customer engagement.

Is This SMS Platform Compliant?

According to a recent poll conducted by Airship, 30% of marketers are hesitant to adopt SMS because of compliance concerns. SMS compliance requirements can seem daunting, but the best SMS platforms go above and beyond to keep their customers well-informed about all compliance-related requirements. When shopping for an SMS platform, look for detailed documentation around opt-in and opt-out policies, tools that help you maintain detailed records, and resources to help you engage in best practices.

Bringing It All Together

With Airship, you can make SMS a part of a seamless, integrated customer experience and deliver more personal and contextual SMS messages.  Our Platform’s Orchestration, Automation and Personalization capabilities mean you can fine-tune delivery time and context for all your text messages.

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