Message Wars: iMessage Vs RCS (2024 update)
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SMS has proven itself to be a reliable messaging tool for over 25 years now. Businesses love it because it’s fast to set up, nimble in how it can be integrated with other applications, and it has great capacity for making your customer experiences both personalised and highly engaging.
SMS is simple but that’s also why it’s great. What other channel can boast 98% open rates with 90% of messages opened within 3 minutes? Your customers might be using a variety of other messaging tools like iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and so on, but SMS is the only tech that they are guaranteed to have, even if they only use it passively.
Without further ado, here are our Insider Tips for getting the most out of your SMS communications;
SMS (Short Message Service) is as its name suggests a concise text-only medium. This is liberating if you want to create an impactful campaign at short notice. Do remember that SMS only supports standard character sets so be careful if using unusual characters, or if copying and pasting message content from another source.
Don’t sacrifice legibility for the sake of squeezing everything into 160 characters – a multipart message may be necessary and nearly all phones will display multipart as a single message.
If you have more detailed content to share you can include a shortened url, and if you use a unique urls per message you can also track click-through rates. For example you might want to retarget people who clicked your link but didn’t complete the online activity – whether that be a renewal form, a booking, survey or competition.
SMS is a personal medium so it’s important that your message is both relevant and personalised. In our view there are times when personalisation is appropriate – like sending an invitation, an appointment reminder, order confirmation a renewal reminder but there are others when it is simply not necessary – such as sending a PIN code or a bin collection reminder.
Timing is all important but you can schedule the message (or automate it) so you don’t have to be there when the message is going out. It’s fine to send a message in the evening, but avoid rush hour and we don’t recommend scheduling anything after 8pm unless it’s an emergency or an event-based (automated) SMS.
“One of the fastest ways to upset mobile database subscribers is to send them messages at the wrong time. Wake them up at 2 a.m. to share a fast food coupon? Unsubscribe. Text me at 4 a.m. with a payment reminder? Unsubscribe”.
There is nothing worse than realising that your message has just been sent but it’s over the character limit or contains a formatting error. Beware the humble apostrophe has been the downfall of many a novice SMS user! So always test every message to yourself first and get a second pair of eyes to check it too. Double check you’re sending from the correct sender ID (from address) and of course there needs to be an optout facility if it is a marketing message.
Customers move networks and numbers get cycled so keeping your lists clean and up to date is a must – don’t forget about your GDPR obligations. Also don’t waste credits trying to send to invalid numbers – there are some simple ways to check your list for incorrect formats, and there are other options available to check number validity so do get in touch if you’d like to hear more.
If you’re interested in what’s coming next in SMS messaging you might also like to check out our article on iMessage Vs RCS.