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    How to Know if You’re Ready for a Business SMS Platform

    Last updated 2021-01-31
    SnapDesk Masthead Devices

    Ready for Business SMS? How to Know if a Business SMS Platform is Right for You.

    You might be using or looking at SMS text messaging as an easier, more effective way to connect with people - great!

    By now you may know that:

    1. Business text messages have up to a 98% open rate.

    2. 39% of businesses already use some form of text messaging to communicate with their consumers.

    3. 76% of consumers already receive text messages from businesses.

    4. Consumers are 4 times more likely to respond to a text message than call back to a voicemail.

    But…

    • Are you actually ready for a dedicated business SMS platform?

    • Why not text contacts using your personal phone or a burner phone?

    • What about connecting with contacts over Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, WeChat, WhatsApp, Line, or even Slack?

    • Is a business SMS platform even right for you?

    • What capabilities do the best SMS platforms offer?

    Read on for answers to all of these questions. We walk you through everything you need to know when determining if business-grade text messaging is right for you.

    Group Texting

    Are You Ready for a Business SMS Platform?

    Ok, you’ve been evaluating your messaging options and looking at faster, more efficient ways to reach more people. 

    Perhaps you’re on the fence between email, calls, and texts? 

    Maybe you’ve also thought about email drip campaigns vs. text message campaigns

    Regardless, text messaging can help fill the gaps in your overall communications strategy.

    You just need to ask yourself: what do I need my messaging platform to do?

    All of this is possible.

    But the solution to these needs requires some next-level features. 

    We’re talking text messaging automation, advanced group and team management, bulk message delivery, and opt-in/opt-out control.

    These are all things that you won’t find in consumer messaging apps, your personal phone, or a burner phone.

    With a business SMS service you can:

    • Schedule personalized, one-time, or recurring text messages

    • Organize contacts into groups and lists for more segmentation

    • Add multiple team members to the same texting line

    • Manage multiple conversations at the same time

    • Send automated bulk messages to hundreds of contacts

    • Manage opt-in and opt-out control for TCPA compliance

    So What’s the Real Difference Between Business and Consumer Messaging?

    Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, WeChat, WhatsApp, Line, and even Slack are all examples of consumer-focused messaging apps. 

    They all offer rich features like read receipts, typing indicators, and advanced media sharing that SMS doesn’t offer yet.

    Suggested Article: RCS is Replacing SMS Texting - What Does That Mean?

    They’re great for consumers who want to share media with friends and family. But they’re not as effective for businesses and organizations who need to message contacts and customers at scale.

    None of the above consumer options make it easy to segment contacts into groups. When you send a group message, the message goes to everyone and everyone can see everyone else’s responses. There’s no group text without reply all function.

    Consumer apps also only send messages over their own channels. This limits how many people you can reach. Whereas, SMS is universal. Every mobile phone comes enabled with SMS messaging by default.

    Here’s the full breakdown:

    Business SMS Service vs. Consumer Messaging Apps vs. Personal/Burner Phones

    Business SMS Services (SnapDesk) Consumer Messaging Apps (Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, WeChat, WhatsApp Line, Slack) Personal Mobile Phones and Burner Phones
    Message Send Rate Up to 10 Messages Per Second (with 10DLC) 1 Message Per Second 1 Message Per Second
    Message Delivery From App to Any Phone From App to App ONLY From Phone to Phone ONLY
    Add Multiple Users Yes No No
    Log In From Any Web Browser Yes No No
    Scheduled Text Messages Yes No No
    Automated Text Messages Yes No No
    Group Text Messages Yes Yes Yes
    Group Texts Without “Reply All” Yes No No
    Pre-saved Text Message Templates Yes No No
    Personalization/Merge Tags Yes No No
    Automated Opt-in/Opt-out Control Yes No No
    Integrations Yes Yes No

    Why Burner Phones and Consumer Messaging Apps Won’t Solve Your Messaging Problems

    Many small businesses and organizations use burner phones or messaging apps meant for consumers. But these are quick-fix solutions that don’t solve larger messaging problems.

    You can’t reach a lot of people with a silly flip phone or a consumer messaging app.

    These solutions may work for individuals and small, siloed teams. But they’re really only effective if you need to send a few messages to a few people. 

    Once you need to increase your messaging volume and add users, you’ll find you need a dedicated business SMS solution.

    Just imagine your entire team trying to text or call clients and customers. You can’t do this effectively from one phone or a single messaging app on one device.

    This is because:

    • Neither consumer apps nor personal phones handle multiple conversations well

    • Messaging gets messy when you can only add one user

    • There’s also no oversight and no way to manage opting contacts in or out of messaging

    • Your team has no way to collaborate on messaging or responses

    • There’s no way to schedule, automate, or scale your messaging

    • Consumer messaging apps only send messages through their own app interfaces using their own networks

    • The person on the other end of your message has to have the app to get the message 

    If you use a business texting platform, then you can reach everyone via the SMS carrier network. There’s no need for message recipients to download an app.

    A dedicated business SMS service also allows you to automate messages and reach more people. This is now even easier since the recent release of high-volume 10-digit long code texting

    With 10DLC your business can text in high volume (10 messages a second) from any 10-digit phone number.

    TCPA Compliance Checklist

    Business Texting Services Offer These 11 Capabilities

    1. You Can Text From A Dedicated 10-Digit Phone Number, No Short Codes Required

    The only way a business could originally send bulk SMS messages was with a short code. Short codes are 5 or 6 digit phone numbers that only allow for bulk one-way texting. These are now being phased out.

    Today, many business SMS platforms can text-enable your existing phone number or business landline. Some even utilize toll-free 1-800 numbers for more messaging volume.

    Platforms like MessageDesk will even give you a 10-digit, text-enabled, business number tied to any area code of your choosing.

    2. You’re Protected with Automated Opt-in and Opt-out Monitoring for TCPA Compliance

    Opt-in and opt-out TCPA compliance is essential for SMS marketing campaigns. TCPA stands for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (1991).

    It means that all marketing and promotional messages must comply with federal TCPA regulations.

    The full TCPA guidelines outline when and how a business or organization can contact consumers. It also requires that you give consumers a way to opt-out of future messages. 

    All of the best business SMS services give you a way to track who opts in and out of messaging automatically. These and other features help protect you from accidental spam abuse.

    3. You Get More Advanced Conversation Management Features

    Burner phones and consumer messaging apps aren’t made to handle a lot of outgoing or incoming messages.

    Sure, you can send and receive texts and messages 1-on1. But you can’t manage groups, send messages without “reply all” or mark conversations as open or closed.

    Being able to organize and sift through a lot of incoming and outgoing messages becomes crucial when messaging at scale.

    Once you increase your messaging volume you’ll want to assign certain conversations to various teammates. You’ll also want to be able to go through and archive and read old conversations.

    These are all features that consumer apps and native phone messaging don’t offer.

    4. You Can Send Group Text Messages Individually Without Reply All

    The group texts you’re sending from your iPhone, Android, and other messaging apps have limitations when it comes to groups.

    For contacts, there’s no privacy. Everyone sees everyone else’s individual text messages and there’s no way to carry on private conversations at scale.

    Text messaging platforms like MessageDesk scale this up. You can create multiple groups, apply text message templates, and send group messages to individual contacts.

    5. You Can Pre-save Texts as Templated Messages

    As a small business or organization, you may need to send repeat messages almost every day.

    The good news is, a business SMS platform lets you save text messages as templates. 

    This makes texting business hours, appointment reminders, sending event RSVP reminders, or responding to frequently asked customer service questions easy.

    With your personal phone or a burner phone, there’s no way to save message templates. You have to reply on-on-one in real-time with each message.

    6. You Can Save Time and Increase Efficiency with Scheduling and Automation

    Scheduling text messages saves time and increases efficiency.

    Reminders, appointment updates, event invites, notifications - you can schedule and automate it all at scale.

    For example, you can send texts, alerts, and reminders to thousands of people on a list on a recurring basis. Just set it and forget it.

    You can even trigger automated responses for certain keywords with autoresponders. If someone texts the keyword “Business Hours” you can send them an automatic text message response with your hours of operation.

    Burner phones and consumer messaging apps don’t offer any of these time-saving features.

    7. You Can Personalize Text Message At Scale

    Personalization is important when you’re messaging hundreds of contacts at scale. It also increases the chances that the person receiving the message will engage, respond and take action.

    Obviously, it gets harder to personalize every single text message. Especially when you scale up your messaging and start sending to a lot of people.

    So almost all business SMS services give you access to text messaging personalization features like tags.

    Tags look like this: {{ FirstName }}. They allow you to insert contact information into a text message without having to type it in individually.

    Typically, you’ll create and save tags as part of a text message template that you send to a group of contacts.

    With a business SMS app, you simply save and send the same message over and over again. Just insert a tag and the contact’s first name appears automatically.

    8. You Can Add Multiple Team Members to a Single Texting Line

    Burner phones and consumer messaging apps limit your team’s ability to monitor and respond to conversations in real-time. 

    The best business texting platforms allow you to add multiple users to the same texting line. With this feature, you’re enabling your entire team to respond to messages.

    Your customer service and customer support will also benefit from this team collaboration. 

    9. No-one Needs to Download an App

    Most all business SMS platforms allow you to send and receive messages from any device, including your desktop computer.

    But mobile apps like Slack, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp are different. Most rely on both you and your contact having the same messaging app downloaded on your phones.

    When you send a message it’s actually getting delivered via the app’s own dedicated network. Not the larger SMS network.

    This makes it harder for you to reach contacts and customers directly. 

    Everyone has a phone number. But not everyone is willing to download an app just to talk to your business or organization.10. No App Downloads

    Most all business SMS platforms allow you to send and receive messages from any device, including your desktop computer.

    But mobile apps like Slack, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp are different. They all rely on both you and your contact having the messaging app on their phone.

    When you send a message on these networks it’s actually getting delivered via the app’s own dedicated networks. Not the larger SMS network.

    This makes it harder for you to reach contacts customers directly. Everyone has a phone number. But not everyone is willing to download an app just to talk to your business or organization.

    10. You’ll Typically Get Cheaper Messaging Rates with an SMS Platform

    When you use a burner phone, you’re setting up a separate number. This may or may not be part of your personal or business data plan.

    Every text you send and every call you make often gets billed at a premium.

    With all text messaging services, you typically pay a monthly or annual subscription fee. This gives you access to bulk SMS messages at a discount.

    Only business SMS platforms can offer these discounted rates. This is because they have access to larger messaging networks and they’re built for bulk messaging.

    Because of messaging volume, the cost per message actually decreases and the savings get passed on to you.

    Suggested: Check out MessageDesk’s Pricing

    11. You Can Integrate with Other Business Applications

    Burner phones don’t typically integrate with the other business applications and platforms you use on a day-to-day basis.

    There are a bunch of messaging integrations for consumer messaging apps. Other services like Zapier also help you pass data back-and-forth between other applications.

    But, these services don’t have the same functionality and data storage as native integrations. 

    For example, the best business texting services integrate natively with accounting apps like Quickbooks Online and Xero. Others integrate with customer management tools like Salesforce or Hubspot.


    What’s Next? Learn How to Choose the Best Text Messaging Services for Your Business or Organization

    Read: How to Choose the Best Texting App for Your Business or Organization

    Businesses and organizations need smarter, simpler tools to keep connected. Burner phones and consumer messaging apps just don’t quite cut it.

    As a business or organization, you have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a business SMS platform.

    Feel free to visit our learning center for more information on how to get started with MessageDesk. You’ll find a quick start guide to texting, a features overview, and an explanation of what MessageDesk is.

    Finally, feel free to start a 7-day free MessageDesk trial with 50 free text messages.