Shopping for SMS? Make Sure these Boxes are Checked.

Brandon Wells, Ytel |  
As SMS marketing continues to see massive growth each year, agencies and companies alike are able to offer SMS as part of their marketing services without the experience or team to truly support the businesses they're selling it to. Before you get hoodwinked by a company attempting to send SMS without the adequate back end, here are a few issues worth noting and items that should be non-negotiable on your SMS wish list.

Before you get hoodwinked by a company attempting to send SMS without the adequate back end, here are a few issues worth noting and items that should be non-negotiable on your SMS wish list.

1. Proven Success

They can prove their success with past clients, including testimonials and metrics. Proven success gives potential customers a clear picture of what businesses have done in the past and how this changed their company for the better. Without this story, how can you really know what this service can do for your campaigns and your marketing goals?

2. Transparency on Cost 

They can accurately and transparently explain pricing and what your bill would look like each month. Pricing breakdowns should be second nature to any company selling SMS - this is one of the first 5 questions people ask when they're shopping for anything, whether it's SMS or a new pair of shoes. Cost will always be important. If they're flaky on cost when you inquire about it, keep asking til you get an answer or run for the hills! 

3. Expert Team Members
  

They have a team on their side who can support your compliance and technical needs. Believe me; there is so much more to sending text messages than drafting up some content, adding an emoji or two, and hitting send. There are industry and government guidelines in place so spammers don't infiltrate consumers privacy on a national scale, and if you need support with maintaining compliance, make sure that's an option. 

While we believe it is completely possible for SMS marketing to be done seamlessly on a well-built platform; there are always going to be hiccups along the way, even for the most advanced developer or marketer. Having technical support is key to success. 

4. Examples & Templates

Does the SMS platform come with templates where you can plug and play, upload a list, edit your message, and launch the campaign? For many companies shopping for SMS, this is an ideal offering because it doesn't require a developer to be involved in every campaign, and reaching the finish line is much simpler.  

5. Additional Offerings 

Additional offerings can include short code numbers, multichannel options (various communication channels rather than just SMS) pricing discounts, access to a dedicated Account Manager, and more. 

For example, 411-411 is a dedicated short code that Ytel owns. With short codes, some are owned by one entity (dedicated) and others are shared by multiple parties and are specified through the use of keywords. Learn more about short codes here. The point is, maintaining a dedicated short code such as 411-411 is a great upsell for Ytel customers, because they understand the opportunity and what kind of SMS campaigns they could power using a short code like this one. 

5. Resources and Support 

Legitimate SMS companies should offer some kind of customer service and support; whether it's an account manager assigned to your account (bonus points if they're involved in the sales process and work with you!) and resources to help get you started. This can include blog posts or eBooks that discuss the technology you're using, market trends and new tech, product tutorials and how-to guides, etc.  

If your business is starting fresh with SMS, resources are absolutely essential to set you up for success. Inquiring about this content during the sales process will ensure said company knows their stuff and aren't learning as they go and your experience will be smooth.  

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This list is lengthy, but doing the right research is imperative to finding the right SMS provider for your business goals. Regardless of business size, there's a great fit for everyone. It just takes time, research, and asking the right questions. Good luck!  

Think we missed something on this list? Tweet us your questions! 

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About The Author

Brandon Wells, Ytel

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Brandon is a member of Ytel's Product team and is instrumental in paving the way for our current and future product offering. Brandon started as a Technical Account Manager where he worked daily with our customers, and he is able to apply that experience and knowledge when building out product roadmaps and studying market trends.


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