9 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Business SMS Service
If you're getting ready to invest in a business SMS service for your business, then I'm sure that you want to feel well equipped and prepared to make the right investment.
Starting a new type of marketing can feel very overwhelming. You want to make sure that it's going to work for your business and that it's going to connect with your customers.
Top 9 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business SMS Service
To help you make the right choice, here are nine questions that you need to ask any potential provider that you are looking at using:
1. How Can They Make SMS Marketing Easier?
Prioritize the business SMS services that make text message marketing easy.
- Do they have materials that you can take advantage of like Quick Start Kits, Training Videos, In-Depth Guides, FAQ’s, and Resource Centers?
- Do they have case studies from other businesses that are similar to yours so you can look at how people in similar industries leveraged their tools effectively?
- Do they allow you to reach out to experts that can answer questions and give you advice?
- Do they have experience running text marketing campaigns and helping people improve their ROI?
- Will working with them help you bypass some common problems that a lot of businesses have when they’re first getting started and help you achieve your goals even faster?
2. Are There Any Setup Fees?
It’s important to make sure that you can quickly get started reaching more people. 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receiving them, so you don’t need to wait to get started. Some companies may charge set-up fees, but at EZ Texting we let you start your account with no credit card, no obligation, and no setup fees. Text messages only cost pennies per message so you can start growing your business with less hassle and start sending messages that are more targeted and more relevant to the right people.
3. How Do They Help You Understand Text Messaging Regulations?
While it may seem like you can just hit the ground running with a text marketing campaign, you do need to be aware of the laws and regulations that affect you.
To stay lawsuit-free, you have to approach text advertising the right way.
Mobile Advertising and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 says that anyone that is going to dial an individual's cell phone or send them a text message must have received consent. This law prohibits you from sending unsolicited mass calls and text messages.
Plus, if you violate this law, then the people you sent those messages to have the right to collect up to $1,500 in damages for each phone call or text message that you posted. They receive this compensation without having to prove that any harm was done as well.
Get Permission First
This means that you have to make sure you received consent before you begin your campaign.
Imagine that you had a list of several thousand people. If even a portion of that list did not opt-in, then a single unsolicited text message could force a small company into financial ruin.
In a larger company, it wastes time and money while the owners or executives spend time and PR resources fighting the lawsuit.
So be sure to ask what options the provider has to allow you to collect and store that consent to help you avoid legal problems in the future.
4. What Advanced Features and Functions Do You Offer?
When you're talking about advanced messaging features, it can seem like that's going to require a lot of skill and knowledge. But with the right tools and support, then advanced messaging features can be simple to master.
Not every service will have the same features, so to get you started, here are just a few options that we offer our customers here at EZ Texting.
Free Incoming Messages
Whenever you're sending text messages out to people, it's obvious to assume that some of them will reply. So whether you have a keyword that people are texting in, or your contacts are just responding, you will always enjoy free incoming messages. They will be safely stored in your inbox so that you can sort and export them whenever you'd like.
Text Forwarding Services
Another powerful feature is the ability to forward incoming messages to an email address or even your own mobile phone. This allows you to keep up with incoming messages without having to log in to your EZ Texting account.
Sometimes it's great just to be able to get ahead. When you know what you want to say but know that you are going to be too busy to mention it on the time and day that you want, you can schedule your messages to go out later.
If you have any recurring meetings or weekly sales calls, then you can use recurring text to write a message that can be sent out on a regular basis. These messages can run daily, weekly, or monthly with all sorts of advanced scheduling options.
By personalizing your mobile marketing campaign with the recipient's name, you can maximize the impact of your message. Their first and last name field can be automatically merged into your message to give it that personal touch
Templates allow you to save your favorite messages to reuse again in the future. You can get started with the starter templates that we provide, or you can create your own. When you're ready to use it, you can simply select it, and it will load it right into your composer window.
5. Do You Offer Dedicated Short Codes?
There are two main types of short codes that are used in texting. These are shared and dedicated. Shared codes are shared between multiple customers just like the name suggests. Dedicated codes are unique to each individual company or organization.
Dedicated codes come in two varieties. Random codes are a random five or six-digit combination of numbers that you can rent. Vanity codes are numbers that are easy to remember such as 313131.
Keywords have the ability to transform your marketing and outreach strategy, but if you want something super ordinary like the word “SALE” it isn't likely to be available if you're using shared short codes.
A dedicated short code solves this problem. You are able to secure a number exclusively for your use. This allows you to utilize any keywords that you would like to use no matter how common they are.
These codes can have a lot of uses for brand awareness and can be very useful in a marketing campaign. If you feel like they will be helpful for your campaigns, then it's a good idea to ask if this provider can even offer them. Typically, marketing agencies or other high volume businesses and organizations benefit from dedicated short codes. For most small businesses, the shared short code is a much more cost effective solution.
6. What is the Value That You're Providing for My Investment?
One of the most significant and most unpredictable additional cost that you can encounter deals with the support that you receive from your provider.
For starters, you want to ask if they have any additional fees for providing support. You'll also want to see if there are any additional fees to access training materials.
You will want to make sure that their support team is going to be available. You don't need to wait for help when you're having problems with a campaign that can quickly cost you time and money. So you need to be able to get your issues addressed promptly.
You should also look to see if they offer any bulk messaging discounts or other discounts for long-term customers or specific bundles of services. This would allow you to increase your ROI even further as your campaigns grow. Purchasing extra services or sending additional messages may allow you to qualify for a variety of savings while adding more value to your subscription.
Asking these questions makes sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. You want to make sure that you aren’t signing up for a service just because it’s cheaper and end up sacrificing valuable services that you need for your business to grow.
7. Can You Show Me Examples of Successful Text Marketing Campaigns?
Any company that has had some success with their customers should be able to show you case studies or examples of text marketing campaigns that have worked.
You will specifically want to look up examples from similar industries or from campaigns that are similar to the ones that you're considering running in your own business. They should be able to show you much of the statistics and reporting that were recorded on those campaigns.
8. Are There Customer Support Teams That Are Able to Answer My Questions?
Customer support is going to be paramount to a successful campaign. You want to make sure that you're aware of what type of support is available.
Do they have people that can help you develop strategies for effective campaigns? Do they have people that will troubleshoot campaigns that aren't performing as expected?
What hours will they have someone available? If you're working on late nights or weekends will there be someone there to help you or will you be forced to wait another day?
How are you able to get in touch with support? Are you stuck with email support or ticket systems? Or will you be able to talk to someone on the phone, through live chat, or potentially even have access to a dedicated account representative?
10. How Much Does the Service Cost?
When it comes to cost there are a lot of things to consider. Things like dedicated short codes will cost more than being able to use short codes that are provided.
You will want to know what codes will be included in the cost and which ones you will have to pay more for.
You also want to know how many messages are included and what the cost is for any overages.
Hidden fees can be worrisome as your campaigns grow. So make sure that you have questions about what features are included and which ones will cost additional funds.
Bonus: How do I get started?
If you're ready to get started with a company that will provide the support that you need, make sure that your costs are reasonable, and provides you with all of the features that you need, then reach out to our team here at EZ Texting to see how we can help you grow your business.
If you’re still trying to figure out how to utilize text message marketing in your business, then download our FREE Text Marketing Guide. You’ll learn how to grow your contact list, increase engagement, and create successful campaigns.