What is SMS?
SMS (Short Message Service), text message, message; We have many names for the things we love. Text messages is a service used by the general public mainly through a regular cellphone. While the recipient of a SMS message usually is a mobile phone, the sender of the messages can use both another cell phone and an online platform. To send SMS from an online platform, you usually use a portal such as Intellipush. Alternatively, you can integrate Intellipush into your own system using an API. Confused? Don't worry, we will come back to that later!
First, let's go through some practical information. One SMS message consists of up to 160 characters. It is possible to send longer messages, but those will be considered as several SMS messages in one text message. And don't worry, your recipients will still receive one continuous message. The difference will only be visible for you in the form of character counting and amount of SMS messages sent. The number of characters will be reduced to 153 per SMS, because 7 characters are used to carry out the seamless merging of the messages. If you include emojis in your SMS, the number of characters in one message will be reduced to 70.
SMS is a tool that can be used as a channel for communication, information and for marketing; so keep on reading to find out how!
Text messages is an incredibly effective way of communication. Why that, you ask? Because firstly, it is the best and fastest way to reach several recipients all at once. 99% of all messages are opened, compared to 18% for email. 97% of these messages are read within 15 minutes.
SMS has a click-through rate of 45%, which means that 45% of all recipients click on a link or something equivalent in the message. Corresponding figures for e-mail and social media rarely exceed 5%. With Intellipush's self-developed short link, you will always be able to get an overview of the click rate on the messages, and which recipients open the SMS.
Another advantage of SMS is that it requires nothing but cellphone coverage to reach the intended recipient. But with push notifications in apps, you are dependent on the recipient having access to an internet connection. In critical situations or in situations where it is urgent to reach out with a message, it will be far more efficient with an SMS message.
- You don't need an app to receive SMS messages
- SMS is suitable for all types of cell phones
- No internet connection required to receive a SMS message
SMS as an Information Channel
SMS is a good way to keep customers and users informed. It can be used to inform about changes in operations, opening hours or regulations and guidelines. You can send order confirmations and keep the customer up to date on the order processing – is their package packed, shipped, and delivered? Send a SMS message and make sure the customer receives the information.
You can send reminders for:
- Car services
- Due dates
And whatever else you need!
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Case Studies in 2022, the researchers concluded that SMS reminders had a significantly positive effect on attendance rates for healthcare appointments. Their conclusion mentions the low cost of SMS and the effectiveness of this method for improving patient attendance rates.
SMS is also very effective at getting information out to many people at once. Are you organizing a festival, a sporting event, or a conference? It's important that participants have correct and up-to-date information about the facilities, schedule, and other practical information. In case of a cancelation or a postponement, it's important that the participants are informed, and it's even more important that this information reaches them in reasonable time.
SMS for Public Sector
In addition to private organizers, it's equally important for the public sector (i.e. municipalities, public institutions etc.) to share important and relevant information with residents, employees, and other parties with relevance.
Public sector can inform about:
- Road work
- Water restrictions
- Waste disposal
- Maintenance work
Schools and kindergartens can provide information on:
- Important events
- Date and time for meetings and events
- Practical info
- Changes in schedule
Did you know that SMS can also be used as a key? You can use SMS to provide access to various facilities such as hotel rooms, gyms, saunas, and other facilities that require admission. Sending out access codes with SMS ensures that the information is given to the right people. It's easy to provide one-time access codes and send a new one when and if needed.
SMS Marketing - Guidelines
Before you go haywire and start messaging your customers, you'll need to make some research. Because there are different guidelines and ground rules for this type of marketing that you'll have to take into account.
According to The Norwegian Consumer Authority, all marketing inquiries (including via SMS) may only be sent to individuals who have given consent to receive such inquiries. So as the sender, you must be able to document that the recipients of these messages have given their consent. You also have to give them a clear and simple way to unsubscribe from the service.
It is prohibited to send marketing inquiries or other messages that may lead to sales to individuals who have not actively consented to this. The reason for this ban is because this form of marketing can be perceived as intrusive and is a burden on the communication network.
To make sure that you comply with the guidelines for SMS marketing, you as the sender are responsible for keeping up to date with which laws and regulations apply for the countries you operate in. Because different regulations and guidelines apply in different countries and regions.
We at Intellipush have developed a tool to help you keep track of your contact list. It's a blacklist for customers who opt out of your recipient list, to make it easier for you to keep track of who you can and cannot communicate with. To unsubscribe from a recipient list, the customer can send a code word followed by "stop" to the short number belonging to your company. When a customer unsubscribes, the contact information of the current customer will be added to the blacklist, and that person will no longer be able to receive SMS messages sent from your account. If the customer changes their mind, it is required that they deliberatly join your membership club again by submitting a code word to the short number you have registered on the company's account.
Sharing a campaign is one of the most common ways businesses use SMS. Promotions, sales and other offers are sent out to customers and people interested in your business. One of the most important things to remember when sending out a campaign is to make sure you are as deliberate with your message as possible. You can do this by segmenting your customers into subgroup. So you can segment based on interests, demographics, purchasing patterns or other relevant factors. More information on that a bit later.
In order to optimize your campaigns, it is important to gain insight into what works and what doesn't. You can do this by analyzing the response of your customers. By using our self-developed link shortener, you get an overview of the number of recipients, clickthrough rate, number of visits, and the number of unique visitors.
You can create new contact lists based on this insight. You can make a contact list with those who have either visited the URL link or those who have not. By separating your customers based on their activity level, you can send out reminders to the inactive customers in an attempt to make them reengage. This will spare your company any additional cost by reducing the amount of sent messages. From an active customer's point of view, this will ensure that your messages won't be seen as spam or as unnecessary reminders.
You can also export visitor data to Excel and compare different campaigns against each other. This gives you insight into what your customers respond to and how you can trigger a better response. With access to this insight you will be able to optimize your campaigns.
Another important thing to consider when sending out campaigns is how you can personalize the messages you send out. One way to do this is by including customers' first names in the message. In addition, you can send campaigns tailored to your customer's interests and needs based on your different segments.
Segmentation is a form of organizing customers and target audiences into different groups based on various criteria. This can be based on demographics, interests, or needs. The criteria for segmentation depend on your company, the products and services you offer, and the customers you wish to appeal to.
Why is segmentation important? Because not all offers and campaigns are equally suitable for all types of customers. Your customers have different interests, needs and lifestyles. So the campaigns you send out should be deliberately altered in respect to these differences. If you have data on the purchase history of the customers, this can be used in the segmentation process. How you segment will be up to you and what information you have available about your customers. After all, you know your customers better than anyone else.
The Benefits of Segmentation
Segmentation is useful when you need to make sure that the messages you send out are as deliberate as possible. In addition, by segmenting your customers and sending out messages to subgroups, you will save money on SMS marketing in the long run. Because it goes without saying that a subgroup will consist of fewer contacts than the overall list of all your customers.
Another advantage of segmentation is that you can make the offers more personalized to the customers. This can lead to a higher average open rate and clickthrough rate. The more the offers are tailored to each customer's interests and needs, the higher is chance of them clicking on your website and making a purchase because you will be solving their problems or fulfilling their needs.
The Difference Between Segmentation and Retargeting
With segmentation, you have full control over which customers you add to your contact lists. You can send targeted campaigns and if you have done your homework, you should know which customers are more likely to be interested in a certain campaigns. That's not always the case with retargeting. Retargeting sends ads aimed at customers who have shown an interest in the products or services you offer.
There are disadvantages to this type of advertising, because the algorithm can't always keep track of whether the customers have made a purchase or not. Maybe they lost interest. Perhaps their life situation changed, and they are no longer in need of the product or service that you advertised. A lot can change between now and then, and it's your responsibility to keep informed about your customer's wants and needs.
SMS for Internal Communication
A good operation is dependent on a good flow of information. So what do you do if an emergency occurs? Or maybe you need to inform several employees about a change quickly and efficiently? You can easily send a SMS message to several people all at the same time. Use SMS as reminders for meetings and other important events, and make sure that all your employees are well informed.
A Sustainable Solution
Do you use e-mail to send out newsletters? Now you can send out newsletters and other files via SMS and reach a larger number of recipients. It is as simple as uploading and sending the file as a link in the message. Did you know that SMS is also more environmentally friendly than e-mail? An average e-mail has an emission of 4 grams of CO2, compared to a SMS message which has an emission of 0.014 grams. But what does that mean? With this amount of CO2 emission, 65 e-mails are equivalent to driving 1 kilometer in a fossil fuel vehicle. You'll have to send around 20,000 SMS messages to reach that amount of emission. So not only is SMS more efficient, but it is also more sustainable for the environment.
Integrate With API
Intellipush can be easily integrated into existing systems. That way, you'll get all the tools and features that Intellipush offer directly in your web solution. How? By using an API! But what is an API?
An API (Application Programming Interface) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. We are surrounded by APIs. Every time you use Facebook to log in to a website or when you check the weather forecast, you are using an API.
API is like a waiter at a restaurant. The waiter takes your order and passes it on to the chef who prepares the food. An API acts as an interpreter, it allows different programs to talk to each other. The programming interface informs about the rules needed to carry out the communication. It follows a protocol on what information is required and what the end result will be. If the information you provide is incorrect, your request will be rejected.
To use an API, you need an API key. Intellipush's API is secured with OAuth 2.0 authentication, and therefore requires an API ID and API secret, or password, to grant access. The required information is available at “My profile” under API settings. This way, the API is both secure and open to anyone who has an account at Intellipush.com.
A Stand-alone Solution
If you choose to use the platform as a stand-alone solution, you don't need development or coding skills to get started. As part of the included features, you can create and save your own templates. The templates can later both be edited and deleted as needed. In addition, you can choose between sending the message immediately or schedule it to be sent in the future. You can send the message to the entire contact lists, individual contacts, or specified numbers. You also have the option to send recurring messages on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. All these features and more are available in both our stand-alone platform and in the integrated version.
The price of SMS varies depending on the provider and the size of your company. The price is often stated as a fixed price per SMS, but some companies offer a subscription with a fixed monthly subscription, and in some cases a set-up fee is required.
As for the pricing at Intellipush, it depends on the volume. The more SMS messages you send, the lower the price will be per SMS. We have no reoccurring subscriptions, lock-in periods nor set-up fees. You can buy a predefined number of credits that can be used to send the SMS messages. One credit corresponds to 0.9 SMS in Norway. The more credits you buy at a time, the lower the price will be per SMS. The credits are valid for 24 months - so two years.
Credits can be purchased directly on the website using prepay and you will receive your credits immediately after your payment is confirmed. In some cases, we offer invoicing to larger customers, but this only applies to companies that send over 1 million SMS a year.
With Intellipush you also have the option of sending SMS internationally. The number of SMS per credit will vary depending on which country your recipients are in. For example, 1 credit will correspond to 0.88 SMS to Sweden, 0.46 SMS to Denmark and 0.98 SMS to Finland. You can find a full overview of our prices on our website. Curious about an offer specifically tailored to your needs? Contact us here!