When it comes to choosing your mobile messaging provider, don’t let the
dollars drive the decision-making. Here, we share tips on what to look for to ensure your SMS messages are not only delivered, but deliver the results you want.
With marketing and IT professionals challenged to stretch their budgets more than ever, it’s difficult to stop price from swaying the choice of mobile messaging provider (or “gateway”). However, it pays to look beyond the basic cost per SMS and examine exactly what you’re getting for your money. While the lower cost providers might be attractive at first glance, chances are you will sacrifice the results you want.
Weighing Up the Cost Factor
Not all messaging providers are created equal. Low cost providers typically offer prices from as little as four or five cents per SMS (excluding GST), but the reason they can afford this is because they use international routes to deliver texts between Australian devices – similar to how using Skype and VOIP telephone services is cheaper than a regular landline. Reputable providers, on the other hand, will use White Routes or “Direct Connects” which means there is a legitimate agreement in place to deliver the message between the source and destination.
Cheaper providers might provide you with the means to deliver budget SMS communications, but unfortunately that’s where the good news ends. When it comes to SMS providers, the less you pay, the more you compromise on reliability, speed of delivery, customer support, and issue resolution times.
Reliability is a critical factor with SMS communications, as it directly impacts the successful delivery of your messages. And, with low cost providers, uptime is a major sticking point. Many clients find that when they try to log in to the service, the system is down or not functioning as needed, and it’s unlikely they will be able to reach the provider to get the problem fixed promptly because low cost providers are notorious for giving little in the way of customer support and timely resolution of issues.
The Future of Cheap SMS
Some businesses are willing to overlook all this for the sake of a low cost mobile messaging service. However, now the low cost providers can’t even promise that. The likes of Telstra, Optus and, most recently, Vodafone have banned the use of international routes for the delivery of messages within Australia. Some providers are forced to increase their prices, while others are simply calling it quits.
So what should you be looking for in your SMS provider?
Reliability is a top priority for SMS communications, so the first factor you should consider when weighing up providers is how reliable, scalable and secure the platform is. An advantage of established mobile messaging providers is that you get an uptime guarantee, which means you can rely on the service to be available whenever you need it.
2. Message Delivery
With any communications, you want to your messages to get through with minimal hurdles and delays. So when you pay for an SMS delivery service, at the very least you should expect your messages to be delivered at the right time to the right people. However, the less you pay for your service, the less chance there is of this happening the way you want.
Look for a provider with direct connection to Australian carriers, as this will provide faster delivery speeds. Ideally, you want a provider who can deliver the majority of messages within 15 seconds. The better the provider, the higher the percentage of delivered messages will be. Plus, unlike low cost providers, you won’t risk message duplication, delays or messages not being sent.
While you might start out only sending a couple of thousand messages per month, as you realise the success rate of SMS communications and as your business grows, your messaging needs will increase. Rather than dealing the hassle of finding new provider down the track, look for a provider whose platform handles large messaging volumes and can support your future requirements.
4. Customer support
An established provider will give you access to a responsive support team, preferably with round-the-clock support. This means you can expect any issues to be resolved quickly and properly, letting you focus on what you do best. Look for a provider with a customer support team that can resolve issues within 24 hours.
5. Account management
Going hand in hand with customer support is the provision of dedicated account management. While low cost providers leave clients to puzzle through the process alone, established providers offer strategic SMS advisory services to help ensure clients get the most out of their SMS communications and maximise their return on investment. When choosing your provider, look at the additional services they offer beyond just a platform, like expert advice and account management.
6. Industry Expertise
If the provider ticks all the above boxes for your business, check they have the industry experience and expertise you need. Some research will quickly tell you how many customers they have, how long they have been in the industry, and the status of their reputation. This is just as valuable as the technical capabilities outlined above and will ensure you choose the right mobile messaging provider for your business.
This is about more than the platform alone. Marketers should pick a company that understands your marketing goals, how to help you get better returns from SMS marketing, and how it can support your other marketing channels to drive a strong return on investment. IT professionals should choose a provider that truly understands the technology, and provides the reporting and customer support you need to focus on what matters most.
Looking for an SMS gateway you can trust?
Salmat’s MessageNet is an SMS gateway with the industry experience and reliable platform you need for your SMS communications. We’re faster and more reliable than other providers because we have direct connections to Australian carriers and a robust enterprise infrastructure. And to ensure you get the best ROI from your SMS communications, we back our service with 24/7/365 customer service and an expert account management team. MessageNet offers 99.5% uptime with around 99.5% of all SMS messages delivered in less than two minutes.
To find out how we can help you, contact Salmat’s MessageNet today.